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So far is this rule from being indifpenfable, that it is very feldom practifed, other confiderations of greater confequence ftanding in the way. Examples in oppofition to this rule, are found in the Cartoons, in Chrift's Charge to Peter, the preaching of St. Paul, and Elymas the Sorcerer, who is undoubtedly the principal object in that picture. In none of those compo fitions is the principal figure in the midst of the picture. In the very admirable compofition of the Tent of Darius, by Le Brun, Alexander is not in the middle of the picture, nor does the principal light fall on him; but the attention of all the rest immediately diftinguishes him, and diftinguishes him more properly; the greateft light falls on the Daughter of Darius, who is in the middle of the picture, where it is more neceflary the principal light fhould be placed.'
The Author has not confined himself to fuch topics as are naturally connected with his fubject. He makes frequent digreffions, for the fake of introducing fome new obfervation on painting, which may have a tendency to improve the taste of his hearers. Thus he obferves, Though it is not my business to enter into the detail of our art, yet I must take this oppor tunity of mentioning one of the means of producing that great effect which we obferve in the works of the Venetian painters, as I think it is not generally known or obferved. It ought, in my opinion, to be indifpenfably obferved, that the males of light in a picture be always of a warm mellow colour, yellow, red, or a yellowifh white; and that the blue, the grey, or the green colours be kept almoft entirely out of thefe maffes, and be ufed only to fupport and fet off thefe warm colours; and for this purpofe, a fmall proportion of cold colours will be fufficient.
Let this conduct be reverfed, let the light be cold, and the furrounding colours warm, as we often fee in the works of the Roman and Florentine painters, and it will be out of the power of art, even in the hands of Rubens, or Titian, to make a picture fplendid and harmonious.
Le Brun and Carlo Maratti were two painters of great me, rit, and particularly in what may be called Academical Merit, but were both deficient in this management of colours; the want of obferving this rule is one of the caufes of that heavinefs of effect which is fo obfervable in their works. The principal light in the picture of Le Brun, which I just now mentioned, falls on Statira, who is dreffed very injudiciously in a pale blue drapery; it is true, he has heightened this blue with gold, but that is not enough; the whole picture has a heavy air, and by no means anfwers the expectation raised by the print. Pouffin often made a fpo: of blue drapery, when the general hue of the picture was inclinable to brown or yellow; C 2
which fhews fufficiently, that harmony of colouring was not a part of the art that had much engaged the attention of this great painter.
The conduct of Titian in the picture of Bacchus and Ariadne, has been much celebrated, and justly, for the harmony of colouring. To Ariadne is given (fay the Critics) a red scarf, to relieve the figure from the fea which is behind her. It is not for that reafon, but for another of much greater confequence, for the fake of the general harmony and effect of the picture. The figure of Ariadne is feparated from the great groupe, and is dreffed in blue, which added to the colour of the fea, make that quantity of cold colour which Titian thought neceffary for the fupport and brilliancy of the great groupe, which groupe is compofed, with very little exception, entirely of mellow colours. But as the picture in this cafe would be divided into two diftinct parts, one half cold, and the other warm, it was necessary to carry fome of the mellow colours of the great groupe, into the cold part of the picture, and a part of the cold into the great groupe; accordingly Titian gave Ariadne a red fearf, and to one of the Bacchante, a little blue drapery,'
If attention to arrangement had deprived us of such obfervations as those which we have cited, it would afford matter of regret to all lovers of the Arts. We muft obferve, however, that our Author appears to have been too negligent of order in his difcourfe. His propenfity to digreffion has fometimes betrayed him into inaccuracies, which it would have been easy to avoid. Thus, in page 9, he examines fimplicity, which he forbears to confider as implying that exact conduct proceeding from an intimate knowledge of fimple unadulterated nature, as it is then only another name for perfection.' He proceeds, therefore, to confider fimplicity in another fenfe of that word, as a general corrector of excefs. While employed in difcuffing this fubject, he obferves, p. 11, as we are speaking of the most refined and fubtle idea of perfection, may we not enquire, whether a curious eye may not difcern fome faults, even in those great men?' meaning Pouffin and Le Seur. Thus, for the fake of introducing a remark on the works of thefe French painters, he returns to the firft idea of fimplicity, which he had told us he meant not to examine. An error of this kind muft, doubtlefs, be confidered as a blemish in a discourse which contains many excellent rules and obfervations, conveyed in a very good style; which, however, is rather fpirited than elegant; always flowing, fometimes verbofe, but in general diftinguished
Elegance always fuppofes the highest degree of correctnefs and purity. This our Author has not attained. P. 28, It is presenting
tinguished by the happy medium between too much fimplicity and too much refinement.
to the eye the fame effect as that which it has been accustomed to feel. P. 33, By recommending the attention of the artift to an acquaintance with the paffions and affections of the mind.' There are too many examples of this kind, which would be more excufable in a large work than in a discourse of thirty-eight pages.
ART. IV. A Propofal for Uniformity of Weights and Measures in Scotland, by execution of the Laws now in force. With Tables of the English and Scotch Standards, and of the customary Weights and Measures of the feveral Counties and Boroughs of Scotland;Comparisons of the Standards with each other, and with the County Measures; Tables and Rules for their reciprocal Converfion; and fome Tables of the Weight and Produce of Corn, &c. Addreffed to his Majefty's Sheriffs and Stewarts-depute, &c. 8vo. 3s. Elliot, Edinburgh. Cadell, London. 1779.
E cannot give a better idea of the scope of this Work than in the words of the Author.
The advantages of uniformity in weights and measures are fo great, and fo general, that it has been an object of the legislature in every commercial kingdom.
In Engla d, from Magna Charta down to the prefent time, there are above fifty acts in the ftatute book concerning weights anu measures.
In Scotland, fince the Afifa of King David I. there are above forty acts of parliament upon the fame fubject.
About the year 1756, a committee of the Houfe of Commons was appointed to enquire into the original standards of weights and measures in England, and to confider the laws relating thereto; and to report their obfervations thereupon, together with their opinion of the most effectual means for afcertaining and enforcing uniform and certain ftandards of weights and measures to be used for the future."
This committee, taking the affiftance of able artists and ingenious men, made a laborious and accurate comparison of the feveral ftandards of weights and meatures accounted the standards; but which differed confiderably from one another. By this comparison they ascertained the true medium ftandard. They alfo confidered the whole laws relative to weights and measures, and came to feveral refolutions, expreffed at length in two reports made by them to the House of Commons in 1758 and 1759. Upon thefe reports, which contain the whole history and fate of the English weights and measures, and the material laws concerning them, two bills were brought into the Houfe of Commons in the year 1765. The first is intitled, "A bill for afcertaining and establishing uniform and certain ftandards of weights and measures throughout the kingdom of Great Britain," &c. The fecond is intitled, "A bill for enforcing uniformity of weights and measures to the standards thereof by the law to be established."
Thefe bills were printed, and laid over, with a view that the public might have an opportunity of canvafling them, and fuggefting proper additions and amendments. It was agreed, that certain claufes fhould be inferted for including Scotland, which had not originally been in the contemplation of the committee. But much is it to be lamented, the fubject has not again been refumed by the Houfe.
While this fubject was under the confideration of the House of Commons, an idea was fuggefted, that one of the great caufes of the inefficacy of the many laws for eftablishing ftandards, and directing uniformity, was, the difficulty of carrying them into execution, without accurate tables for converting the customary weights and
measures into the ftandards.
The neceffity of fuch tables is very obvious. People who use, for the fame purpofes, meafures differing both in fize and name, fpeak as it were different languages; and it is not enough to make a law appointing all perfons to speak the fame language in that respect, without alfo making fome provifion for teaching them to do fo. The cafe is even worfe where the different weights or measures have the fame names; for unless they who have occafion to use them, are not only afcertained that they fpeak of different things, though under the fame names, but alfo are taught where the difference lies, and how great it is, they are led unwittingly into great deception. As, for inflance, the boll is the general measure for corn over all Scotland; yet, it may be faid, there are hardly two counties in Scotland where the boll-meafure is exactly the fame, and 'there are fome counties where the boll contains more than double what it does in others. The Trone weight, commonly called the avool weight, falls under the fame obfervation. So, unless people are apprind of the differences, and taught how to convert the feveral weights and meafures readily into one another, it will ever be a vain' project to expect general conformity to the law. For that purpose, tables should be formed by public authority, and put upon public record.
This plan is neceffary for another reafon; namely, that it would be improper to destroy the memory and knowledge even of the weights and meafures intended to be laid afide; becaufe, without that knowledge, ancient rights, ancient trade, and ancient history, could not be understood.
Scotch writers have, for fome time pall, difcovered a laudable ambition to acquire a proper knowledge of the English language; but we have frequent, occafion to remark, that from their great folicitude to avoid Scotticisms they frequently are led into faulty Anglicisms, as is the cafe with our Author, in the paffage here referred to. He does not mean that the bill was laid over (covered) with paint, or with gold, or with any other fubftance; his intention is to fay, that the bufinefs lay over, i. e. was neglected, and not brought to a period at that time. No error in language hath offended our critical delicacy fo often as this particular inflance; nor can we help being amazed that an error fo very abfurd fhould be fo long perfifted in. Is it poffible that any perfon who hath had only a moderate fhare of education can be ignorant that the preterite of the active verb to lie is lay-and of the verb to lay (to place upon any thing) is laid.
The proper manner of afcertaining and preferving the knowledge of ancient weights and measures is by ftatutory record; and therefore fuch tables as have been mentioned would be the best manner of fuch a record.
It is not propofed, nor is it indeed poffible, to extend fuch tables to every barony, or to every parish, although there are differences of weights and measures almott in every parish and barony in this kingdom. This would be an unneceffity minutenefs; for although fuch differences do exift, yet they are often very small, and their proportions to the county weights and meafures are generally known within the county: therefore, if the medium of counties or large diftricts of counties be taken as near the truth as can eafily be gor, it would fufficiently anfwer the different objects of the law, and the feveral purposes of commerce.
To accomplish even this, is a work of time; but is far from being imposible. Till it is done, it may be prognofticated, from past experience, that an act for uniformity would not probably have effect. The advantage of fuch a law is fo great, that it is to be hoped the fame public fpirit which carried the matter fo far in the year 1765, and by which the true standards were actually made, and are now in public custody, will be revived, and this great commercial object brought to complete maturity.
But though thefe hopes may be diftant, in fo far as concerns the obtaining one new complete act for fettling the standards, and enforcing uniformity, in place of the various laws now in being; yet certain it is, that judges and magistrates have, by the prefent law, a great deal in their power for enforcing uniformity to the prefent tandards. Thefe laws are intricate only by their multiplicity; and the execution of them is difficul: for want of fuch tables of converfion as have been above described. Magistrates have it in their power to employ fit perfons to make fuch tables, and to perfect them by degrees (for they cannot be completely done at once), and afterwards to circulate them for public ufe. So foon as fuch tables fhall come to be publicly known and underfood, the task of the magiftrate will be more than halt done. Seeing the benefit of uniformity, most people will be defirous to embrace it; and fhould there be a few obftinate, and tenacious of old culloms, they will be carried with the țide, and can have no pretence for complaining thould they be compelled to lay bad culloms alide.
The object of this paper is to fhow, that a great deal may be done by the prefent laws; and to fuggelt what appears to be the fimplelt and easielt method of carrying them into execution. This would be of great confequence in the mean time, and might pave the way for a new and complete act of parliament, if not for Great Britain, at leaft for this part of it.'
Our ingenious and accurate Author proceeds to point out the feveral acts that have been made in Scotland for regulating weights and meafures. It appears that in the year 1617, great pains had been taken for reducing all weights and meafures throughout Scotland to an uniformity; for which end a ftandard ell for regulating measures of length was made, and