A very interesting public entertainment was held at Edinburgh on the 4th instant, in the Music Hall. The object was to celebrate the establish- ment of the " Philosophical Institution." The chair was occupied by the Lord Provost; supported by the Archbishop of Dublin, Mr. Macaulay, Pro- fessor Wilson, Mr. Fox Mauls, Mr. W. Gibson Craig, Professor Nichol, Lord Murray, Mr. D. M. Moir, (Delta,) and other gentlemen of note in literature, science, or politics. The Archbishop of Dublin's speech was very nearly identical with the speech he lately delivered at the soiree of the Manchester Athenaeum. One of his remarks deserves to be kept con stautly in view: it appeared to the Archbishop, that in a country in which so much political power is conferred upon the mass of the people, it is both unwise and unsafe to trust that power in the hands of those who have been left in ignorance. Mr. Macaulay made a most effective speech on the "Literature of Britain." One passage, on the common dread of " superficial knowledge as being worse than ignorance," has attracted much notice- A very interesting public entertainment was held at Edinburgh on the 4th instant, in the Music Hall. The object was to celebrate the establish- ment of the " Philosophical Institution." The chair was occupied by the Lord Provost; supported by the Archbishop of Dublin, Mr. Macaulay, Pro- fessor Wilson, Mr. Fox Mauls, Mr. W. Gibson Craig, Professor Nichol, Lord Murray, Mr. D. M. Moir, (Delta,) and other gentlemen of note in literature, science, or politics. The Archbishop of Dublin's speech was very nearly identical with the speech he lately delivered at the soiree of the Manchester Athenaeum. One of his remarks deserves to be kept con stautly in view: it appeared to the Archbishop, that in a country in which so much political power is conferred upon the mass of the people, it is both unwise and unsafe to trust that power in the hands of those who have been left in ignorance. Mr. Macaulay made a most effective speech on the "Literature of Britain." One passage, on the common dread of " superficial knowledge as being worse than ignorance," has attracted much notice- " I could never prevail on any one person who entertained this apprehension to let me know what was the standard of Profundity. It is an argument that pre- supposes that there is some line between profound and superficial knowledge, similar to the line that runs between truth and vice. I know of no such line. When we talk of men of deep science, do we mean that they have got to the bottom or near the bottom? When we talk of deep and shallow, are we comparing human knowledge with the vast mass of truth which is capable of being known, and which probably in the course of ages the human mind will attain to? If that be the meaning, then we are all shallow together; and the greatest men that ever lived would be the first to confess their shallowness. If we could call up the greatest of human beings—Sir Isaac Newton—and if we were to ask him whether even in those particular pursuits in which he attained the highest excellence, be considered himself as profoundly knowing by comparison with the mass which is capable of being known—he would have told you that he was a smatterer like ourselves, and that the difference between him and you vanished when compared with the difference between the mass of science to be explored, just as the dis- tance between a person on the level of the sea and a person on the top of Ben- lomond utterly vanishes when making observations on the fixed stars. But if this be not their standard, what is their standard? Is it the same for one year together—or is it the same in any two countries? Is it not notorious that what Is profundity in one country is considered to be shallowness in another? Is it not notorious that the profufidity of one generation is shallowness in the next? What now would be the chemists of 1746, or the geologists of 1746, compared with the chemists or geologists of 1846? There is a necessary and natural pro- ggrreeyeas in every experimental science, of such a nature that in one generation the bind rank necessarily occupies the place which the fore rank occupied in another generation. That same knowledge which entitled Rammohun Roy to be called the most profound among the Hindoos would have made but a very superficial member of this institute. The various knowledge which entitled Strabo to be called a profound geographer would have been called ignorance on the part of a girl from the boarding-selicaL" As Gulliver became a giant among the Lilliputians, and a little manikin in Brobdignag, so the intellectual giants of one age become the intellectual pigmies of the next.. " If these be the effects which have followed from shallow know- ledge, it must have been one of the greatest of all evils, that, in the thirteenth century, there should have been such a thing as profound and learned men. It strikes me that, without much difficulty, you might make a parallel between the most profound andlearned men of the thirteenth century and some of those who will be here this evening, and to whom, we trust, our library will not be altogether without advantage." Two sciences were most studied in the middle ages, astronomy and chemistry. " Take the astronomer. He was a believer in the Ptolemean system—a man who never heard of the law of gravitation. Tell him that the succession of night and day arises from the revolution of the earth on its axis—tell him that in conse- quence of this revolution the polar diameter of the earth is shorter than the equa- torial; and if he does not set you down as an idiot, the probability is, that he hands you over to the Bishop, that you may be burned as a heretic. But if he be not perfectly well informed on these points, there are parts of his science in which he has mace great proficiency. He can cast a nativity. He knows at what mo- ment Saturn is in the house of life, and what events fhllow from Mars being in 'conjunction with the Dragon's tail. He can tell you from this, which of your 'children will- befortunate in marriage, and which of them will be lost at sea. Now, take this very profound man, and compare with him one of what are called your own shallow members, whose exceeding superficial knowledge is said to be dangerous to intellectual character. I doubt not, a copy of Sir John Herschel's beautiful work on astronomy will be found in your institute. A very few evenings spent over the perusal of that volume will not, it is true, enable him to cast the 7:ativitiesof your children, hat it will, I believe, give him-a far more correct and re- found notion of the Solar system, and of the laws which govern the heavenly bodies, than the greatest astronomer of the thirteenth century possessed. Or take the science of chemistry. Our great man—for we will suppose him to be a universal genius —our great manof the thirteenth century is a great chemist. He perhaps has got as far as the very pillars of the Hercules of his chemistry—for such it was re- garded in that day—he has perhaps. got as far as to know that if you mix char- coal and saltpetre together in certain proportions there will be a great explosion. But of the possibility of employing this knowledge to make a revolution in the art of war, or to accomplish vast scientific results, he has no conception. But there are things in which he goes beyond the reach of modern chemists. He is in pur- suit of the philosopher's stone; and he has an array of saltpetre, and of red oil and white oil, burning night and morning; and he entertains the firm conviction that by means of those stews he will some morning turn all his pots and pans into gold. Now, suppose that Professor Faraday was Induced to give lectures in this Anstitnte, something like the . course which I heard him give to the children in London-on Christmas Day. In that case, I believe that I may promise that you would carry away from these lectures a much more accurate and profound know- ledge of chemistry than a chemist, who would have been considered worthy of the Eatronage of kings, could possibly have given in the course of years in the thir- teenth century."
Such is the demand for agricnitnral labourers in this district, that bills have for nearly a month been posted in different parts of the country, re- quiring forty to fifty men to proceed to Orkney, and offering good wages; and yet there has not, we are informed, been one single applicant. Ditch- ing and draining, and particularly the latter, are now going forward in this district with great spirit.—John o'Groaes Journal.
At the Edinburgh High Court of Justiciary, last week, Janet M'Lellan was tried for the murder of her husband, by- administering poison. The evidence for the prosecution was to this effect. There was an ill feeling between the husband and wife; the wife had endeavoured, but in vain, to purchase arsenic, on the plea of destroying rats; she afterwards induced two females to buy a quantity for her. M'Lellan died suddenly; he was taken ill after drinking of tea prepared by the prisoner, of which she herself declined to partake; the symptoms were those of poisoning by arsenic, and a post mortem examination detected the mineral in the body. For the defence, evidence was given that the deceased had applied to a medical man for poison, and that he had threatened to poison himself. The Jury deliberated for fifty minutes, and then, by a large majority, found a verdict of " Not proven.".. The decision caused considerable surprise.
The wheel of a third-class carriage in a train proceeding from Paisley to Glas- gow having given way, three of the people in the carriage were so alarmed that they leaped out: they were much hurt, the leg and arm of one being broken. Two other passengers, who remained in the carriage, suffered no injury.