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abundant materials already printed by Ruddiman and others.
A good hiftory of the revival of literature in Scotland in the prefent century, beginning with Lord Kaimes, would be a very faleable and interefting work, if executed by a masterly hand.
To the Editor of the Bee.
As, like many other Scotchmen, I have a partiality for my native country, and am an admirer of the Doric dialect, if we may fo call that broad and open manner in which we pronounce the English language, I was much pleased with the firft article in your fixth number, relative to Scottish Songs. The ingenious writer of that article feems to hint, that of said dialect, there was a court and a city or country mode *. I can eafily conceive, that there might be a propriety in the mode of expreffion ufed by men of learning and politeness, far different from that of the unlettered vulgar. I also imagine that vulgarifms ufed by fome of our writers, have tended to bring our dialect into difrepute: But if the gentleman would be fo obliging as favour' us with a fpecimen of elegant Scotch, fuch as he knows to have been in ufe at the time of the union, I am perfuaded it will be agreeable to many others of your readers, as well as to J. CE.
*It might perhaps be worth inquiry, how it happens that both in London and Edinburgh the language of the lower clafs of people is inferior to that of fome of the county towns: Alfo, how it fhould happen that the vulgar in London and Murrayshire, though so distant, should agree in converting the V into a W, and vice versa.
To the Editor of the Bee.
Stockport May 16th 179.
I OBSERVED what was faid in the 14th Number of the Bee with respect to fome experiments, which were thought to prove, that vegetables uniformly produce pot-ash. It was there fuggefted, that the foda which is obtained from the afhes of marine plants, is owing to the vegetable alkali which they contain, evolving the mineral alkali, by decompofing the fea falt with which the marine plants are impregnated.
To form as juft an opinion as I could of this curious fubject, I procured fome barilla, and made a ftrong lye of it. I faturated the folution with vitriolic acid, in order to fee if it would produce vitriolated tartar; and if it did, what proportion it bore to the glauber's falt. I conducted the experiment with a confiderable degree of attention, and I obtained somewhat more than five ounces and a half of the fulphat of Soda, a few chrystals which feemed to be Epsom falt, and fome other impurities; but not one certain veftige of the fulphat of potash. I did not depend altogether upon the form of the chrystals; but I expofed them to the air, and they efflorefced, which vitriolated tarar will not do; and having laid fome of the most doubtful fhape upon burning coals, they did not crackle nor fly to pieces, as do the crystals of the fulphat of potash.
Thus, Sir, I have fet before you the fult of an experiment, in making which I endeavoured to be correct; and if you pleafe, you may lay it before the public. But I would be understood as speaking with that diffidence, which fubjects of this kind require. Moreover, barilla and kelp may be found very impure, provided they have been adulterated, with the alhes of extraneous plants.
May we not fuppofe, that much depends upon the food of plants; and that those which grow where mineral alkali abounds, naturally produce Soda. We are informed, that the plant barilla is cultivated on the declivities of hills by the fides of falt marshes, or on the banks of canals which are cut to water and manure the land; and yet the ashes of barilla, according to my experiment, produce Soda confiderably pure. If much did not depend on the nutriment or the nature of the plant itfelf, fo great an effect could not be accomplished by faline exhalations, not even by the fpray of the fea, though within its reach. Thefe might impregnate the plant with common falt; but were there not another caufe, its afhes, I think, would abound with vegetable alkali, which I have not found to be the cafe.
I should be glad to be informed, if barilla has ever been cultivated in inland countries, and in fituations where other plants always yield potash. If in these circumstances it produced mineral alkali, then we fhould have a pofitive proof, that it was its nature fo to do; but if it yielded vegetable alkali, then it would be as evident, that the Soda obtained from the ashes of plants, is in part owing to their food, and perhaps in part to faline impregnations by external caufes.
I fhall be happy to find this fubject more fully treated of; and it would give me pleafure if gentlemen who make experiments, or who fpeculate on ufeful fubjects, would embrace the opportunity, which your useful mifcellany affords them of throwing out any important hint, without waiting to form a complete treatise upon it. Thus the ideas would be catched by kindred fouls, and might be again and again returned with improvements through the medium of the Bee, till they received a form and excellence, which would render them ornamental to fcience, and highly beneficial to the world. Sir,
For the Bee.
On the Death of William Cullen, M. D.
WHEN lapdogs die,,
Or linnets ceafe to fing,
His fame fhall rest upon a nobler tongue,