« PreviousContinue »
Century of Inventions ;' it is entitled, “ The Lord Marquesse " of Worcester's ejaculatory and extemporary thanksgiving
Prayer, when first with his corporal eyes he did see finished a perfect trial of his Water-commanding Engine, delightful “ and useful to whomsoever hath in recommendation either know“ ledge, profit, or pleasure ;” and begins as follows :—“Oh! “ infinitely omnipotent God! whose mercies are fathomlesse, " and whose knowledge is immense and inexhaustible; next " to my creation and redemption I render thee most humble " thanks from the very bottom of my heart and bowels, for " thy vouchsafing me (the meanest in understanding) an “ insight in soe great a secret of nature, beneficent to all “mankind, as this my water-commanding engine. Suffer me “ not to be puffed upp, O Lord, by the knowing of it, and
many more rare and unheard off, yea unparallelled inventions, tryals, and experiments,” &c.
Supposing this prayer to have been really composed or offered up by the Marquis, it seems at least conclusive as to his own genuine belief in the wonders he asserted himself to have achieved; as he cannot for a moment be supposed to have been so abandoned, as, in so very deliberate and solemn a manner, to have called on his Maker to witness a lie.
(3.) In one or two copies of the first edition of the Century,' there occurs, as a sort of Appendix, a description of “a stupendious Water-commanding Engine, boundless for
height or quantity, requiring no external or even additional
help or force, to be set or continued in motion, but what " intrinsically is afforded from its own operation, nor yet the “twentieth part thereof,” &c. &c. It is introduced by a preface, and concludes with a Latin elogium and English panegyric, “composed, through duty and gratitude, by an “ ancient servant of his Lordship, (James Rollock), who hath, * for 40 years, been an eye-witness of his great ingenuity, " indefatigable pains, and vast expenses in perfecting, for “ public service, not only this most stupendious Water-com
manding Engine, but likewise several other rare, useful, " and never formerly heard of mathematical conclusions, of “ which he hath owned a Century, and thereunto I refer you;
“ though this alone were enough to eternalise his name to all
ages and future times,” &c. &c.* It must be confessed that the romantic address of Mr. Rollock bears a somewhat close resemblance to the mythical style of the Marquis; but, on the other hand, the expressions in the third stanza are wonderfully descriptive of the powerful action of steam in raising water, as well as of its condensation when its work is done.
(4.) In the translation of the Travels in England of Cosmo de Medicis, Grand Duke of Tuscany,' published in 1821, it is stated that “on the 28th May, , his Highness saw at “ Vauxhall an hydraulic machine, invented by my Lord “ Somerset, Marquess of Worcester. It raises water more “ than forty geometrical feet, by the power of one man only; “ and in a very short space of time will draw up four vessels “ of water, through a tube or channel not more than a span “ in width."
“ Great is the Work, but greater is the
Fame “Of that great Peer, who did invent the
* Tho panegyric is headed, “A
Panegyrick to the Right Honorable “ Edward Lord Marquess of Wor
cester, upon his stupendious and “ never sufficiently-commended Wa* ter-work,” and is as follows: “I know mcan subjects need a skilful pen “ To stretch their worth on Tenter-hooks,
but when " A Theme falls out so pregnant, who can
chuse * But strain his vulgar Wit to prove a
“ Come, fainting Pilgrim, lay here down
thy pack; “ And, while thou rests thy wearied limbs,
look back * Upon this Pageant, the Embleme of his
mind " Whose Art and Skill hath this our Ago
“ What Force or Strength can do, is in his
reach ; “ His long Experience, Costs and Charges
teach : " What Greeks nor Romans ere could do,
this day “ Our noble Britain here hath found the
way. " If Ages past had bred you, we had seen “ Your Glorie's current run a bigger stream; “ But Art and Envy meeting face to face, “ Like France and Spain, dispute who shall
take place. “ None but Ignoble Minds love to detract "From th' honour due to such a noble act: “ On then, that After-ages may relate “ Your Service done to Country, King, and
State. “ And though that envious Spirits spit their
gall, “ Your Noble Deeds are so well known to
all, " As if their malice should take from your
Praise, " Your own deserts will crown your head
with Bayes." The Latin elogium is much to the same purpose, and precedes the pane. gyric.
“ Here little David curbs the Gyant's brood, " Small drops of Rain contend with Noah's
flood; “ Ono weighs a thousand coming down
apace, " Weighs but himself when he hath run
“ The Heavens admire, the Centre stands
amazed, “ To see such Streams by so small Forces
The two accounts of the performances of the engine, the one by the Marquis, and the other by the Duke, or his Secretary, (the celebrated Magalotti), who wrote the Journal, are, in the essential point of numerical appreciation of the power, almost verbatim the same; and it is not improbable that, to ensure greater accuracy, the one might be copied from the other. This, however, we have been led to imagine solely from their extraordinary similarity, and from our not having met with a description of the engine in any other contemporary work.
So hard is it to discover, from such accounts, the true state of the case, that on the question of Lord Worcester's execution of any steam-engine, there has always prevailed great diversity of opinion. Nay, we even find one author, of very considerable ingenuity, and of extensive though not always accurate research, in one of his works thinking it clear, for various reasons which he assigns, that this hydraulic machine must have been some species of steam-engine; and, probably, the identical “most stupendious Water-commanding “ Engine :”* while in another work, published not long before, he had said that the “Century of Inventions' is “ called by Walpole, with much truth, an amazing piece of • folly," and had unmercifully ridiculed “the overwhelming
quackery of the Marquis of Worcester, and the absurd "extravagance of his pretensions." +
We must not omit the tradition which attributes the origin of the steam-ideas of the Marquis to the period of his imprisonment in the Tower of London. His captivity there, which was of several years' duration, began in 1656, when he was arrested while on a mission from Charles II., who was then residing at the Court of France, and had sent him over to England to procure money and secret intelligence; articles of both of which the exiled monarch was at that time very destitute. It is said that the Marquis, “ in those deep soli"tudes and awful cells," one day observed the lid of the pot in
Historical and Descriptive Anec• dotes of Steam-engines, by Robert Stuart.' London, 1829, vol. i.
† • Descriptive History of the Steam-engine, by Robert Stuart.' London, 1824,
which his dinner was cooking suddenly rise, forced up by the vapour of the water which the fire had heated; or, in other words, by steam. “Then it occurred to him that the same “ force which had lifted the lid might become, in certain cir“ cumstances, a useful and convenient moving power;" and hence—so runs the story-arose the Century of Inventions, with its steam-engine all ready-made and acting ;—at least in the mind of its contriver!
COMPARATIVE CLAIMS OF SOLOMON DE CAUS AND THE MARQUIS OF
WORCESTER — NATIONAL CONTROVERSY - FICTITIOUS LETTER OF MARION DE L'ORME
EXPOSURE OF A LITERARY IMPOSTURE PHILOSOPHICAL DISCOVERIES OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY GALILEO-TORRICELLI PASCAL - OTTO DE GUERICKE.
The comparative claims of Solomon De Caus and of the Marquis of Worcester have been a favourite subject of discussion with many writers in both France and England, the countrymen of the one and of the other respectively. We say their countrymen; for, although De Caus published his book •Les Raisons des Forces Mouvantes’ at Frankfort, and was for some time in the service of Henry, Prince of Wales, at Richmond, and afterwards of the Elector Palatine at Heidelberg, who married the Princess Elizabeth of England, he yet writes in French, calls himself, in the Dedication of the first part of that work to Louis XIII., a subject of that monarch, and is also styled his subject in the Privilege granted to his publication.* But his principal works were published, either in London or “beyond the Rhine;" † and it is sufficiently singular that the distinguished patronage which he frequently and gratefully acknowledges was conferred on him by the Royal Family of this country; which, in all that relates to mechanical science, seems then, as now, to have asserted a proud pre-eminence.
In the national competition as to those two ingenious projectors, De Caus had clearly the priority in point of time, by a whole half-century. But then he is not even alleged ever to have applied his hollow ball and tube, or,—to dignify them by a name which they could hardly claim,--his boiler
• La Perspective avec la Raison
vantes, 1613, en la boutique de Jan