A slight sketch of the papers comprised in this volume may not be uninteresting.
The first paper, which is also the longest and perhaps the most important, was published by subscription at Nottingham in 1828. It was in this paper that the term potential was first introduced to denote the result obtained by adding together the masses of all the particles of a system, each divided by its distance from a given point. In this essay, which is divided into three parts, the properties of this function are first considered, and they are then applied, in the second and third parts, to the theories of magnetism and electricity respectively. The full analysis of this essay which the author has given in his Preface, renders any detailed description in this place unnecessary. In connexion with this essay, the corresponding portions of Thomson and Tait's Natural Philosophy should be studied, especially Appendix A. to Chap. I., and Arts. 482 - 550, inclusive.
The next paper, "On the Laws of the Equilibrium of Fluids analogous to the Electric Fluid," was laid before the Cambridge Philosophical Society by Sir Edward Ffrench Bromhead, in 1832. The law of repulsion of the particles of the supposed fluid here considered is taken to be inversely proportional to the nth power of the distance. This paper, though displaying great analytical power, is perhaps rather curious than practically interesting; and a similar remark applies to that which succeeds it, "On the determination of the attractions of Ellipsoids of variable Densities," which, like its predecessor, was communicated to the Cambridge Philosophical Society by Sir E. F. Bromhead.