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the great disappointment of the commissioners, until winter rendered it impossible for her to act. under all this pressure, they nevertheless persevered in the important object confided to them. But their exertions were further retarded, by the premature and unexpected death of the engineer. The world was deprived of his invaluable labours, before he had completed this favourite undertaking. We will not inquire, wherefore, in the dispensations of Divine Providence, he was not permitted to realize his grand conception. His discoveries, however, survive for the benefit of mankind, and will extend to unborn generations. At length all matters were ready for a trial of the machinery to urge such a bulky vessel through the water. This essay was made on the first day of June, 1815. She proved herself capable of opposing the wind, and of stemming the tide, of crossing currents, and of being steered among vessels riding at anchor, though the weather was boisterous and the water rough. Her performance demonstrated, that the project was successful— no doubt remained that a floating battery, composed of heavy artillery, could be moved by steam. The commissioners returned from the exercise of the day, satisfied that the vessel would answer the intended purpose, and consoled themselves that their care had been bestowed upon a worthy obiect. 3 But it was discovered that various alterations were necessary. Guided by the light of experience, they caused some errors to be corrected, and some defects to be supplied. She was prepared for a second voyage with all practicable speed. On the 4th day of July she was again put in action. She performed a trip to the ocean, eastward of Sandy Hook, and back again, a distance of fifty-three miles, in eight hours and twenty minutes. A part of this time she had the tide against her, and had no assistance whatever from sails. Of the gentlemen who formed the company invited to witness the experiment, not one entertained a doubt of her fitness for the intended purpose. Additional experiments were, notwithstanding, necessary to be sought, for quickening and directing her mo
tion. These were devised and executed with all possible care. Suitable arrangements having been made, a third trial of her powers was attempted on the 11th day of September, with the weight of twenty-six of her long and ponderous guns, and a considerable quantity of ammunition and stores on board; her draft of water was short of eleven feet. She changed her course, by inverting the motion of the wheels, without the necessity of putting about. She fired salutes as she passed the forts, and she overcame the resistance of wind and tide in her progress down the bay. She performed beautiful manoeuvres around the United States frigate, Java, then at anchor near the light-house. She moved with remarkable celerity, and she was perfectly obedient to her double helm. It was observed, that the explosions of powder produced very little concussion. The machinery was not affected by it in the smallest degree. Her progress, during the firing, was steady and uninterrupted. On the most accurate calculations, derived from heaving the log, her average velocity was five and one-half miles per hour. Notwithstanding the resistance of currents, she was found to make head way at the rate of two miles an hour against the ebb of the East River, running three and one-half knots. The day's exercise was satisfactory to the respectable company who attended, beyond their utmost expectations. It was universally agreed, that we now possessed a new auxiliary against every maritime invader. The city of New York, exposed as it is, was considered as having the means of rendering itself invulnerable. The Delaware, the Chesapeake, Long Island Sound, and every other bay and harbour in the nation, may be protected by the same tremendous power. Among the inconveniences observable during the experiment, was the heat endured by the men who attended the fires. To enable a correct judgment to be formed on this point, one of the commissioners (Dr Mitchill,) descended, and examined by a thermometer the temperature of the hold between the two boilers. The quicksilver, exposed to the radiant heat of the burning fuel, rose to one hundred and sixteen degrees of Fahrenheit's scale. Though exposed thus to its intensity, he experienced no indisposition afterwards. The analogy of potteries, forges, glass-houses, kitchens, and other places where labourers are habitually exposed to high heats, is familiar to persons of business and of reflection. In all such occupations, the men, by proper relays, perform their services perfectly well. The government, however, well understand, that the hold of the present vessel could be rendered cooler by other apertures for the admission of air, and that in building another steam frigate, the comfort of the firemen might be provided for, as in the ordinary steam-boats. The commissioners congratulate the government and the nation on the event of this noble project. Honourable alike to its author and its patrons, it constitutes an era in warfare and the arts. ... The arrival of peace, indeed, has disappointed the expectations of conducting her to battle. That last and conclusive act, of showing her superiority in combat, it has not been in the power of the commissioners to make. If a continuance of tranquillity should be our lot, and this steam vessel of war be not required for the public defence, the nation may rejoice that the fact we have ascertained is of incalculably greater value than the expenditure, and that if the present structure should perish, we have the information never to perish, how, on a future emergency, another may be built. The requisite variations will be dictated by circumstances. Owing to the cessation of hostilities, it has been deemed inexpedient to efinish and equip her as for immediate and active employ. In a few weeks every thing that is incomplete could receive the proper adjustment. After so much has been done, and with such encouraging results, it becomes the commissioners to recommend that the steam frigate be officered and manned for discipline and practice. A discreet commander, with a selected crew, could acquire experience in the mode of navigating this peculiar vessel. The supplies of fuel, the tending of the fire, the replenishing of the expended water, the management of the mechanism, the heating of shot, the exercise of the guns, and various other matters, can only become faWol. I.
miliar by use. It is highly important that a portion of seamen and marines should be versed in the order and economy of the steam frigate. They will augment, diffuse, and perpetuate knowledge. When, in process of time, another war shall call for more structures of this kind, men, regularly trained to her tactics, may be despatched to the several stations where they may be wanted. If, on any such disposition, the government should desire a good and faithful agent, the commissioners recommend Captain Obed Smith to notice, as a person who has ably performed the duties of inspector from the beginning to the end of the concern. Annexed to the report, you will find, Sir, several statements explanatory of the subject. A separate report of our colleague, the Honourable Oliver Wolcott, whose removal from New York precluded him from attending to the latter part of the business with his accustomed zeal and fidelity, is herewith presented. A drawing of her form and appearance, by Mr Morgan, as being likely to give satisfaction to the department, is also subjoined, as are likewise an inventory of her furniture and effects, and an account of the timber and metals consolidated in her fabric. It is hoped these communications will evince the pains taken by the commissioners to execute the honourable and responsible trust reposed in them by the government. SAML. L. MITCHILL. THOMAS MoRRIs. HENRY RUTGERs.
-oON SITTING B E LOW THE SALT. MR EDITo R,
IT is very pleasing to observe with what care the most popular writers of this age are obliged to guard against introducing any circumstances, even in their works, of a nature entirely fictitious, which do not harmonize with the manners of the period wherein the scene of their story is laid. The example of such authors as Scott, Southey, and Byron, who display so much erudition even in the most trifling matters of costume, must soon put an end to the rage for historical poems and romances from the pens of such half-informed writers as Miss Porter, Miss Holford, and the like. Thenovels E
“founded on fact,' as they are called, with which some of these female connoisseurs have thought fit to present the world, abound everywhere in violations of historical truth as gross, and in sins against costume as glaring, as ever astounded the reader of a romance of the thirteenth century. As in these productions of that dark age, Achilles and Hector are always painted like true knights of Languedoc or Armorica, with saltires and fesses on their shields, with mottos, merrymen, pennons, gonfaloms, caps of maintenance, close viziers, tabarts, trumpeters, and all the trappings of Gothic chivalry, so, in the “Scottish Chiefs,” we find Sir William Wallace, “ that stalwart knycht of Elderslee,” metamorphosed into an interesting young colonel, making love to a delicate lady, with one arm in a sling, and a cambric handkerchief in his hand—quoting Ossian, warbling ballads, and recovered from a sentimental swoon by the application of a crystal smellingbottle. It would have been cruel indeed to have brought so fine a gentleman to the block on Tower-hill; so Miss Porter contrives to smuggle Sir William out of the way on the fatal morning, and introduces a dead porter to have his head chopped off in his stead. These observations were suggested to me, by hearing some persons, in a company where I was the other day, call in question the accuracy of the author of the ‘Tales of my Landlord,” in respect to an antiquarian remark which he has introduced in two different parts of his work. The first occurs in the description of the feast, in p. 251 of the * Black Dwarf.”—“ Beneath the Saltcellar,” says he, (a massive piece of plate which occupied the middle of the table,) “ sate the sine nomine turba, men whose vanity was gratified by occupying even the subordinate space at the social board, while the distinction observed in ranking them was a salvo to the pride of their superiors.” In the same manner, in the tale of ‘ Old Mortality,” in the admirable picture of the Laird of Milnwood's dinner, the old butler, Cuddie, &c. sat “at a considerable distance from the Laird, and, of course, below the salt.” The critics, whose remarks it was my fortune to hear, were of opinion, that this usage of placing guests above or below the salt, according to the degree of mobility in
their blood, was a mere invention ot the facetious author, and entirely without any foundation in history, Lor, as one of them expressed it, totum merum sal. It struck me at the time, that the usage was not so new to my ears as it seemed to be to theirs, and, on coming home, I looked into a volume of old English ballads, where I found the following verse: “Thou art a carle mean of degre, Ye salte yt doth stande twain me and thee; But anthouhadst been of ane gentyl strayne, I wold have bitten my gante* againe.” An instance of the importance attached to the circumstance of being seated above the salt, occurs in a much later work—“ The Memorie of the Somervilles,” a curious book, edited last year by Mr Walter Scott.—“ It was,” says Lord Somerville, (who wrote about the year 1680) “as much out of peike as to give obedience to this act of the assemblies, that Walter Stewart of Allontoune, and Sir James his brother, both heretors in the parish of Cambusnethen, the first, from some antiquity, a fewar of the Earle of Tweddill's in Auchtermuire, whose predecessors, until this man, never came to sit above the salt
foot, when at the Laird of Cambus
nethen's (Somerville's) table; which for ordinary every Sabboth they dyned at, as did most of the honest men of the parish of any account.” Vol. ii. p. 394. The same author is indeed so familiar with this usage as one of every-day observance, that he takes notice of it again in speaking of a provost of Edinburgh:-‘‘He was a gentleman of very mean family upon Clyde, being brother german to the Goodman of Allentone, whose predecessors never came to sit above the salt-foot.” P. 380, ibid. I have observed, in several houses of distinction, certain very largeand massy pieces of plate—of a globular form, and commonly with two handles, which, although they go by a different name, I have at times suspected to be no other than “salt-foots,” or, as it should be written, salt-wats. To whatever uses these may be applied, I have always been inclined to say with Plautus— “Nunquam ego te tum esse Mutulam credida.” I shall endeavour to procure a draw
ing of a very beautiful one, in the possession of an honourable person in this neighbourhood, and send it you, along with a few further remarks, if possible, before the publication of your second Number. Yours respectfully,
Stockbridge, March 17, 1817.
--THE CRANI ologic AL CONT ROWERSY.
Some Observations on the late Pamphlets of Dr Gordon and Dr Spurzheim.
MR EDITOR, No speculations have engaged more attention, or have more frequently afforded a topic for conversation, since the time of Joanna Southcote, than those of Drs Gall and Spurzheim. Your readers, I presume, have heard of these gentlemen and their doctrines, and perhaps may be amused by a few remarks on the craniological controversy. One of these learned persons, who Tately lectured in this city, has been remarkably active in the promulgation of his new system, and has devoted many years to its explanation, in all the principal cities and towns of Europe. Of this system it is unnecessary here to give any detailed account. Its outlines have been made so generally known by the unwearied eloquence of Dr Spurzheim, in his writings and by his lectures, that I beg to refer the very few persons, who have not heard the latter to the perusal of the former. I shall here offer only some general observations on a treatise lately published on the subject by Dr Gordon, and on a pamphlet by Dr Spurzheim, intended as a reply. The craniological system of Drs Gall and Spurzheim has been very fully detailed and discussed in all the literary journals of this country, and they have been very unanimous in deciding on its merits. The Edinburgh Review stood foremost in opposition to this new system, and pointed out more fully and clearly than the rest, the anatomical errors on which it was founded. Dr Spurzheim, encouraged by his success in England— relying, it may be also, on his personal address, and on the plausible sophistry with which he explained his 3. its ready reception with the multitude of readers, who were of course incapable of detecting its errors—resolved to visit Edinburgh ;
and there to repress the voice of opposition by the influence that might accompany his immediate presence. On concluding his lectures at Bath and Clifton, he there announced his intention of visiting this northern capital; at the same time exciting the so of his audience, by declaring, “that he was going amongst his enemies.” At Clifton, particularly, he had gained many proselytes; and so occupied were the ladies there in settling the manifestations of mind from the bumps on each other's skulls,
that carefully to braid the hair, in or
der to conceal wrong propensities, became a matter of very serious attention. The following fact, which actually occurred at a party in Clifton, will shew with what a mice accuracy Dr Spurzheim had taught his fair disciples to discover in their neighbours particular manifestations of mind;— and I give it as a short lesson of caution to their sister craniologists in Edinburgh, of which there are not a few. A lady in a large party remarked pretty audibly, that on a certain head very near her, she perceived a suspicious bump. The lady to whom the head belonged, hearing this observation, turned to the informant, and, declaring that she would instantly remove this organ which had excited a suspicion of a wrong propensity, immediately took from her hair a small comb, which, lying concealed, had caused the manifestation. Dr Spurzheim arrived in Edinburgh soon after the commencement of the last summer session at this university. He gave several demonstrations of a calf's and sheep's brain in Dr Barclay's lecture-room ; and as soon as he could procure a human brain, he began his demonstrations on that organ in the class-room of Professor Thomson and Dr Gordon. Here was a fair opportunity to put to shame the critics of Edinburgh, who had so severely ridiculed his system. This was the time to support his written discoveries by actual demonstration. His new and superior mode of dissecting the human brain, could now readily be made manifest by a public exhibition of his skill before some of the most eminent professors and practiv tioners in the kingdom. . A human brain was placed before him;-that organ on which his system was founded, and his alleged discoveries respect
ing, which had already gained him
such celebrity. The interpreter of mind took up his scalpel, and the
learned men of the city sat around in
silent expectation. In such a situa
tion, there was one course which, it
might be imagined, Dr Spurzheim
would certainly have pursued. As the
colleague of Dr Gall, he had been ac
cused, in no very ambiguous terms,
by the Edinburgh Review, of wilful misrepresentation, and of gross igmorance in a science which he pretended to have enriched by new discoveries. These accusations, being anonymous, he certainly was not bound to notice. Convinced, however, as he must have been, that such heavy charges against him were well known to his audience, he surely must have felt peculiarly anxious to do away any bad impression they might have made, by a minute and clear exposition of his leading doctrines, and a decisive demonstration of the correctness of his amatomical views. Strong in his own integrity, and in the soundness of his system, we can conceive him gladly preparing to confound his enemies, by appealing to the testimony of their own senses, and claiming, for an actual exhibition of new anatomical facts, a belief in the theories which he had deduced from their existence. How Dr Spurzheim availed himself of such an opportunity is well known to all who witnessed his dissection. Far from establishing his claims to pretended discoveries by actual demonstration, it appears that he involved himself and his system in further discredit, by his visible inability to display the new structure he had so confidently described. He left very little doubt, I believe, on the minds of his audience, as to the merits of craniology. In order, however, still further to obviate misrepresentation, and to place the claims of Gall and Spurzheim in a proper light, Dr Gordon drew up a treatise, entitled, “Observations on the Structure of the Brain, comprising an estimate of the claims of Drs Gall and Spurzheim to discovery in the anatomy of that organ.” On the title-page of this treatise he placed his name. This, let it be observed, was no anonymous attack
which an individual could pass over
without notice. It is a treatise in
which the author personally brings
forward accusations most direct and
pointed, and which, if well founded, go very far to affect the credit and character of Dr Spurzheim. This gentleman and his colleague have asserted, that no amatomist before themselves believed that the brain was, throughout, of a fibrous structure. This, therefore, they claim as a discovery peculiarly their own, and considering it one of high importance, they style it, “La premiere et la plus importante des decouvertes, celle sans la quelle toutes les autres seroient imparfaites.” Dr. Gordon proves very satisfactorily, that from the time of Malpighi in 1664, downwards, such a fibrous structure was believed to exist every where throughout the cerebral mass. To such proofs Dr Spurzheim, in his pamphlet, returns no answer. This first and most important of their discoveries turns out, therefore, to be no discovery at all—and it will be seen that all the others are indeed “imparfaites.” Drs Gall and Spurzheim wished to appropriate to themselves the method of scraping the brain, as a mode of dissection peculiar to themselves, and best calculated to display its structure. Dr Gordon asserts, that this method was not invented by them. To this assertion Dr Spurzheim assents by his silence. . One of the most important points in his and Dr Gall's anatomical discoveries, concerns, as we are told by Dr Spurzheim, the two orders of fibres, viz. diverging, and converging or uniting. It is in fact upon the existence of these peculiarly arranged fibres, and upon the proof of a statement which has been positively advanced, that the brown matter secretes the white, that the whole system of Drs Gall and Spurzheim depends. I beg your readers particularly to notice, that it is upon the communication between the brown matter and the white medullary substance, to which it serves as a covering, that the doctrines of craniology depend for their chief support. Imagine no such communication to exist, and the brown capsule of the brain, and cerebellum, is nothing more than an unconnected covering to the white substance beneath. Now, in this case, if mind can be manifested by external signs on the head, these signs being caused by swellings, or a peculiar conformation of some substance within the cranium-that substance must