On the 8th of August 1779, a terrible eruption of Vesuvius spread the utmost dismay throughout Naples. For some time the press teemed with new and frightful descriptions of this phenomenon, and the ravages it occasioned ; and the minds of the in habitants were every day filled with fresh terror. In order to efface these disagreeable impressions, Gali ani, in a single night, composed a piece upon this eruption, in which he imitated Very happily the style of an author who was well known in the city for his ridiculous weakness. This production was print ed next day, under the following title : Spavento sissima descrizione dello spaventoso spavento, the ci spavento tutu coil' eruzione delli 8 di Agosto del cor rente anno, ma (per grazia di Dio) duro poco, di D. Onofrio Galeota, poeta e ,filosgh all' impronto. It was a very laughable piece, on a very serious sub ject ; and it had the effect of dispelling the melan choly ideas which had got possession of the minds of the people.
Galiani was very fond of the Neapolitan dialect, and took great pleasure in speaking it. In the same year, he published anonymously, as was his custom, a work entitled, Del dialelto Napolitano ; in which he gave, for the first time, a &rammer and history of this dialect, which, he maintained, was the primitive language of Italy; and shortly afterwards he com posed a lexicon of the words peculiar to the Neapo litan tongue, which was begun to be printed in 1780 ; but the work was suspended, and has not since been resumed.
A work of a different kind soon afterwards en oaged his attention. In the war which broke out m 1788, between England on one side, and France and Spain on the other, Naples and some other pow era had remained neutral ; but their rights, as they conceived, were not sufficiently respected by the belligerent parties. Numerous writings appeared throughout Europe, on the rights and duties of neu trals ; and, among others, Galiani produced a Trea tise, in Italian, On the Duties of Neutrals towards Bel ligerent Powers, and of the latter towards the former. It was published at Naples in 1782, in 4to. In the same year, he was appointed first Assessor to the Ge neral Council of Finance ; a situation which he accept ed the more readily, as its duties were analogous to his other studies; but he refused to touch the salary. A few months afterwards, however, the King pre sented him with the Abbacy of Scurcoli, which was worth 1200 ducats per annum, after deducting all charges and pensions. The office of Assessor of • Economy in the superintendence of the crown funds, to which he was appointed in 1784, added to his public duties, and likewise increased his income.
Meanwhile, his health, which was naturally weak, declined daily. On the 13th of May 1785, be had
an attack of apoplexy ; and, in order to prevent a return, he travelled, the following year, through Puglia. In 1787, he made a longer journey, and went as far as Venice, where he was well received by all the men of letters, as he was also at Modena by Tiraboschi, and by Cesarotti at Padua. On his return to Naples, his health rapidly declined ; and he died, quietly and resignedly, on the 80th of Oc tober 1787, at the age of fifty-nine.
Besides the works already mentioned, Galiani left behind him a variety of interesting , Manuscripts, which came into the possession of D. Francesco Az zariti, his heir, and many of which, it is said, well deserve publication. Among them are, 1. The Com mentary on Horace, with the Life. 2. The Lexi con of Words peculiar to the Neapolitan Dialect. 3. A Poetical Translation of the Anti-Lucretius. 4. A Miscellaneous Collection of Poetical Pieces. 5. Several Volumes full of facetious Letters, Novels, and Anecdotes. 6. His Epistolary Correspondence, which would form, of itself, a pretty voluminous col lection. A part of it was published at Paris in 1818, in 2 vols. 8vo.
every possible manner. He was thus led to perceive, that convulsions were produced in the dead bodies of frogs, apparently without the intervention of any external electrical agent; for this effect took place when the lumbar nerves having been laid bare, and connected together by a hook copper, were sus pended by this hook to a balcony of iron, with the rails of which the muscles of the thighs came in contact by their own weight. (Fig. 1, Plate LX But although the first of these observations gave rise to the other, their succession is purely accidental, as they have not the slightest relation to each other. The convulsions excited in the dead bodies of frogs, placed near an electrical machine, form a very simple and ordinary occurrence. On turning the plate or cylinder of the machine, a certain quantity of free electricity is developed by the friction, and spreads itself over the adjacent conductor. This electricity, acting on all the surrounding bodies, decomposes their natural electricities, attracts that of the oppo site kind, and repels the other, which.escapes into the ground, if any communication exists by which it can discharge itself. If the electricity, thus at tracted by the machine, is not powerful enough to escape from the bodies by explosion through the air, it remains in them neutralized by the action at a distance.* But if we suddenly draw from the machine a spark which discharges it for a mo,