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Title: A Historical Account of Useful Inventions and Scientific Discoveries - Being a manual of instruction and entertainment.
Author: Grant, George
Language: English
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It has been demonstrated that the desire of obtaining knowledge is one
of the most natural, and, at the same time, most ennobling attributes
of the human mind. There is at the present time a great number of
inquiring minds among the working classes of this kingdom, and a still
greater number of the young of all classes thirsting for information,
who in entering upon a course of general reading must be greatly at
a loss for many things which are familiarly alluded to in ordinary
conversation, with which everybody is understood to be acquainted, or
would have people to think so, but which, in reality, are only familiar
to persons who have been living for a considerable time in intimate
converse with the world.

The “Historical Account of Useful Inventions and Discoveries in
Science,” is intended in some measure to supply such information to the
anxious inquirer after knowledge. Of the numerous articles here treated
of, it will be perceived that each has been traced to its origin in
as lucid a style as possible, and in so doing we have endeavoured to
combine instruction with amusement. As a proof of this we need only
refer to the table of Contents.



  Printing                                     11

  Stereotype                                   25

  Engraving on Wood                            27

      ”     ”  Copper                          28

      ”     ”  Steel                           30

  Lithography                                  32

  Paper                                        36

  Paper Hanging                                41

  Painting                                     45

  Statuary                                     48

  Drawing                                      55

  Architecture                                 62

  Chain Bridges                                68

  Clocks                                       69

  Watches                                      74

  Water Clocks                                 77

  Spinning                                     80

  Stocking Manufacture                         84

  Coaches                                      95

  Saddles, &c.                                104

  Horse-Shoes                                 107

  Gunpowder                                   111

  Guns                                        114

  Astronomy                                   119

  Navigation                                  155

  Light-Houses                                159

  Electricity                                 167

  Electric Telegraph                          169

  Steam-Engines                               171

  Mills                                       195

  Saw-Mills                                   211

  Forks                                       214

  Music                                       219

  Sealing-Wax, Seals, &.                      228

  Black Lead Pencils                          234

  Coloured Glass                              236

  Etching on Glass, and Glass-cutting         240

  Hydrometers                                 246



Among the many arts and sciences cultivated in society, some are
only adapted to supply our natural wants, or assist our infirmities;
some are mere instruments of luxury, calculated to flatter pride,
to gratify vanity, and to satisfy our desires of every description;
whilst others tend at once to secure, to accommodate, delight, and give
consequence to man. Of this latter kind, Printing undoubtedly stands
pre-eminent; and if viewed in its full extent, it may be truly said to
possess a very considerable portion not only of the comforts, but the
conveniences and positive utilities of life. The advantages derived
from this invention must be acknowledged by all,--this art has proved
the principal step towards civilization: by it has Christianity been
propagated; and by its powerful means are we made acquainted with all
that is useful in knowledge, in art, and science. It would take the pen
of an inspired writer to enumerate all the blessings which flow from
it. It is a patent engine which possesses a preponderating influence
over the mind of man either for good or evil, according as it is used.

As we proceed we will have frequent occasion to express our feelings
in grateful eulogium, when considering the benefits resulting to
society from various ingenious inventions and discoveries; but when
we consider the advantages derived from the typographic art, it
appears like a vortex, drawing every other sensation into its deep
interest, and engulphing every consideration, so that we can think of
nothing but printing, and its extensive catalogue of benefits. This
interest is wonderfully increased, whether it be viewed on account of
its ingenuity, the extent of its benefits, or the benevolence of its
objects. In whatever point of view we behold it, whether as a medium
for giving the utmost facility to the despatch of the common concerns
of life; or as affording the eager mind of the philosophic inquirer
the ready means to gratify the inquisitive thirst of his knowledge;
in every species of mental intelligence, the rapid facility which it
affords to the multiplication of those mediums of communication, by
which knowledge is promulgated in every part of the earth. We are at
a loss for a term sufficiently comprehensive to express our sense of
the infinite importance of those advantages which accrue to mankind
from the invention of an art so replete with important consequences,
which we hourly perceive to emanate from typography. We need therefore
scarcely offer an apology for inserting a brief history of this divine
art in our pages.

The earliest specimens of printing which have been discovered, consist
in the stamped marks on the bricks and tiles used in building the tower
and city of Babel, and which may be dated as far back as two thousand
two hundred years before Christ. A number of these stamped clay
materials of Babel are still preserved in antiquarian repositories. It
is remarkable that they generally differ in shape and appearance, and
that the letters or words, which are in ancient character, seem to have
been stamped by the hand with moveable blocks. In Trinity College,
Cambridge, some curious specimens are preserved, one of which is a
round piece of clay, seven inches in height, and three in thickness
at the end, resembling a barrel, being thickest at the middle. This
interesting relic, this Chaldean book, is entirely covered with lines
of letters and words running from the one end to the other; from its
portable character it may be called a _pocket volume_, and one which
cannot be less than four thousand years old. It is mounted on a marble
pedestal, covered with a glass case, secured by an iron bracket, and
so contrived that the curious inspector may cause it to revolve on its
marble base; but the greatest care is taken of this valuable relic of
antiquity. It appears to have been printed by two moulds, and at the
middle of the circumference a small blank square has been left, in case
as it is supposed, room should be required for a portion of the clay to
escape in the action of compression.

Next to these extremely ancient stamped bricks, in point of interest
and antiquity, are specimens of the earliest engraving of letters on
stone. We are informed by various historical writers that Cadmus, a
Phœnician, who lived one thousand five hundred years before Christ, at
a period contemporary with Moses, and who was esteemed as the builder
of the city of Thebes, was the first who taught the Greeks the use of
alphabetic symbols, an art he most likely acquired from the Hebrews.
The most ancient specimen of an engraved inscription now known to
be extant, is the Sigean Inscription, so called from having been
disinterred upon a promontory named Sigeum, situate near the ancient
city of Troy, in Phrygia. It is engraved on a pillar of beautifully
white marble, nine feet high, two feet broad, and eight inches thick,
and which, from the inscription, served as the pedestal of the heathen
god Hermocrates. The letters used in this inscription are the capitals
of the Grecian language, though rudely cut, but read from right to
left like the Hebrew. This specimen of engraving must be about three
thousand years old.

Another not less interesting relic of the earliest age of printing is
found in a Roman signet ring or stamp, approaching in character to that
species of stamp now used by the post-office on letters. This curiosity
is preserved in the British Museum. It is the very earliest specimen we
possess of printing, by means of ink or any similar substance. It is
made of metal, a sort of Roman brass; the ground of which is covered
with a green kind of verdigris rust, with which antique medals are
usually covered. The letters rise flush up to the elevation of the
exterior rim which surrounds it. Its dimensions are, about two inches
long, by one inch broad. At the back of it is a small ring for the
finger, to promote the convenience of holding it. As no person of the
name which is inscribed upon it is mentioned in Roman History, he is
therefore supposed to have been a functionary of some Roman officer,
or private steward, and who, perhaps, used this stamp to save himself
the trouble of writing his name. A stamp somewhat similar, in the
Greek character, is in the possession of the Antiquarian Society, of

It will be perceived that however curious these relics of antiquity may
be, they do not bear any connection with the art of printing books. The
origin of this invention seems to be quite independent of a preceding
knowledge of impressing by means of stamps. What is, however, worthy
of remark, the art of printing books, though on a rude principle, was
known and in use among the Chinese, at least one thousand four hundred
years before it was invented in Europe. The printing of the Chinese
has never resembled anything of the kind in this country. From the
first it has been conducted without moveable types. Each page has
been, and continues to be, a block or cut stamp, which is thus useful
for only one subject--so that every book must have its own blocks. No
press is used. The paper being thin, when laid on the block receives
the impression by being smoothed over with a brush. There is reason
to infer that the art of printing, as thus practised by the Chinese,
may have originated through a knowledge of the still more ancient
Chaldean mode of printing by blocks on clay. But we may expect, from
the well-known ingenuity of the Chinese, and their (in general,) having
the organ of imitation so fully developed, that they will not much
longer continue this primitive method of printing, as an enterprising
practical printer has emigrated, with an excellent assortment of
presses, types, &c., from Edinburgh, to conduct his business in the
celestial empire. We wish him all success.

The discovery of the art of printing with moveable types, which took
place in the fifteenth century, in Germany, was considerably aided by a
fashion, which had been some time prevalent, of cutting blocks of wood
into pictures, or representations of scenes illustrative of Scriptural
history, and printing them on paper, simply by the pressure of the
hand, a brush, or cushion behind.

One of the earliest of these wood-cuts is still extant, and represents
the creation of man, as detailed in the book of Genesis. In the centre
of the picture stands a figure, intended for the Divinity, having the
appearance of an old man with flowing garments, a venerable beard, and
rays proceeding from the head; on the ground, before him, lies a human
being, intended for Adam, fast asleep; and from an opening in his side
is seen proceeding the slender figure of a female, meaning Eve, who is
taken by the hand by God, and is apparently receiving His blessing.
The execution of this, and cuts of a similar nature, is of the rudest
description, and is a striking testimony of the low scale of art at
the time. Pictures of this nature, which were bound up into books,
nevertheless, were the immediate forerunners of the great invention
itself. Books of prints, it will naturally be imagined, would soon be
found imperfect, for want of descriptive text; this, therefore, urged
on the great discovery. The manufacturers of the books, at first, cut
single sentences or words, and stamped them below the pictures; but
this not conveying a sufficient idea of the subject represented, an
anxiety arose to give a lengthened description on the opposite pages.
This it seems was, at length, accomplished; still the sentences were
all cut in a piece, and the notion of having separate letters, so as to
form words at pleasure, was unknown at that period. We will now proceed
to the introduction of the modern art of printing.

Ever since the typographic art has been introduced into modern
Europe in its present form, the best, and one of the most certain
criterions,--which prove the undoubted sense of our species,--exists
in the multiplicity of claims which have been made by several cities
for the honour of affording the earliest shelter to the infancy of this
art. It really appears to be a question yet undecided, to what city,
individual, or even era, to attribute this beneficial invention.

However, there is every reason to believe that in this art, as well as
in most others, the improvements which have subsequently taken place,
have benefited the art itself, as much as that has benefited mankind:
therefore, the question of its origin does not appear to us to be of so
much importance.

Amidst the claims of various individuals, Mr. Bouzer, in his “Origin of
Printing,” says, that this honour ought to be adjudged to one of the
three cities of Haerlem, Mentz, or Strasburg; of which, in his opinion,
the first named city has best established her legitimate right. “But it
appears,” to use his own words, “that all those cities, in a qualified
sense, may claim it, considering the improvements they have made upon
each other.”

The real and original inventor of the modern art of printing, as at
first used, and from whence the improved practice is descended, was
one Laurentius, of Haerlem; who, however, proceeded no further than to
cut separate wooden letters. There is every reason to believe that, at
first, these wooden forms were made upon the principle of the _forma
literarum_ of the Romans. This Laurentius, it appears, made his first
essay about the year 1430; he died ten years afterwards, having first
printed the “Horarium,” the “Speculum Belgicum,” and two editions of

The individual on whom history most generally places the honour of
being the earliest discoverer of the art of printing by means of
moveable letters, or types, was John Guttenberg, a citizen of Mayence,
or Mentz, who flourished from the year 1436 to 1466, in the reign
of Frederick III. of Germany. The ingenious Guttenburg was born at
Mayence, in the beginning of the fifteenth century, and removed to
Strasburg about the year 1424, or, perhaps rather earlier. Here he
became acquainted with the above-named Laurentius, with whom he
proceeded to Haerlem, and continued in the employment of Laurentius
for some time. However, he returned to Strasburg, where, in 1435, he
entered into partnership with Andrew Dritzehan, John Riff, and Andrew
Heelman, citizens of Strasburg, binding himself to disclose to them
some important secrets, by which they would make their fortunes.
The workshop was in the house of Dritzehan, who dying, Guttenberg
immediately sent his servant, Lawrence Beildick, to Nicholas, the
brother of the deceased, and requested that no person might be admitted
into the workshop, lest the secret should be discovered, and the
_forms_ stolen. But they had already disappeared; and this fraud, as
well as the claims of Nicholas Dritzehan, to succeed to his brother’s
share, produced a law-suit among the surviving partners. Five witnesses
were examined; and from the evidence of Guttenburg’s servants, it was
incontrovertibly proved that Guttenberg was the first that practised
the art of printing with moveable types in Strasburg; and that on
the death of Andrew Dritzehan, he had expressly ordered the forms to
be broken up, and the types dispersed, lest any one should discover
his secret. The words given in his order, which were supported by
documentary evidence, were these--“Go, take the component parts of
the press, and pull them to pieces; then, no one will understand what
they mean.” In the same document mention is made of _four forms_, kept
together by _two screws_, or _press spindles_, and of letters and pages
being cut up and destroyed.

It has been asserted that Guttenberg stole the types from Laurentius,
with which he repaired to Strasburg, and commenced business; but of
this we can find no corroboration. It has also been said that upon this
occasion, Guttenberg stole his own materials, but this is likewise

The result of this law-suit, which occurred in 1439, was a dissolution
of partnership; and Guttenberg, after having exhausted his means in
the effort, proceeded, in 1445, to his native city of Mentz, where he
resumed his typographic labours.

Being ambitious of making his extraordinary invention known, and of
value to himself, but being at the same time deficient in the means, he
opened his mind to a wealthy goldsmith and worker in precious metals,
named John Fust, or Faust, and prevailed on him to advance large sums
of money, in order to make further and more complete trials of the
art. Guttenberg, being thus associated with Faust, the first regular
printing office was begun, and the business carried on in a style
corresponding to the infancy of the art. After many smaller essays in
trying the capabilities of a press and moveable types, Guttenberg had
the hardihood to attempt an edition of the Bible, which he succeeded
in printing complete between the years 1450 and 1455. This celebrated
Bible, which was the first important specimen of the art of printing,
and which, judging from what it has led to, we should certainly esteem
as the most extraordinary and praiseworthy of human productions, was
executed with cut metal types, on six hundred and thirty-seven leaves;
and, from a copy still in existence in the Royal Library of Berlin,
some appear to have been printed on vellum. The work was printed in the
Latin language.

The execution of this--the first printed Bible--which has justly
conferred undying honours on the illustrious Guttenberg, was most
unfortunately, the immediate cause of his ruin. The expenses incident
to carrying on a fatiguing and elaborate process of workmanship, for
a period of five years, being much more considerable than what were
originally contemplated by Faust, he instituted a suit against poor
Guttenberg, who, in consequence of the decision against him, was
obliged to pay interest, and also a part of the capital that had been
advanced. This suit was followed by a dissolution of partnership; and
the whole of Guttenberg’s materials fell into the hands of John Faust.

Besides the above-mentioned Bible, some other specimens of the work of
Guttenberg have been discovered to be in existence. One in particular,
which is worthy of notice, was found some years ago, among a bundle
of old papers, in the archives of Mayence. It is an almanack for the
year 1457, which served as a cover for a register of accounts for that
year. This would most likely be printed towards the close of the year
1456, and may, consequently, be deemed the most ancient specimen of
typographic printing extant, with a certain date.

Antiquaries and Bibliomaniacs have found considerable difficulty
in ascertaining by what process Guttenberg manufactured types; but
it appears to be the prevalent opinion, that those which he first
used were individually cut by the hand; and being all made as near a
height and thickness as possible, they were thus put together in the
forms. The cutting of these types must have been a tedious, as well as
laborious, occupation. This ingenious man, however, soon discovered
the mode of casting his types, by means of moulds; for without this
great accessory to the art of printing, he conceived it was next to
impossible to carry on his business. The art of type-founding is
therefore given to John Guttenberg, in which it would appear he has had
no competitor for the honour; but, it is but justice to state that the
plan of striking the moulds with punches was a subsequent invention
of Peter Schoeffer, his successor, who became partner with Faust, and
afterwards his son-in-law.

That Guttenberg was a person of refined taste in the execution of
his works, is sufficiently obvious to every person who has had the
opportunity of seeing any of them. Adopting a very ancient custom
common in the written copies of the Scriptures and the missals of the
church, he used a large ornamental letter at the commencement of books
and chapters, finely embellished, and surrounded with a variety of
figures as in a frame. The initial letter of the first psalm thus forms
a splendid specimen of the art of printing in its early progress. It is
richly ornamented with foliage, flowers, a bird, and a greyhound, and
is still more beautiful from being printed in a pale blue colour, while
the embellishments are red, and of a transparent appearance.

What became of Guttenberg immediately after the unsuccessful
termination of his law-suit with Faust, is not well known. Like the
illustrious discoverer of the great Western Continent, he seems to have
retired almost broken-hearted from the service of an ungrateful world,
and to have spent most of the remainder of his days in obscurity. It
is ascertained, however, that, in 1465, he received an annual pension
from the Elector Adolphus, but that he only enjoyed this trifling
compensation for his extraordinary invention for a period of three
years, and died in February 1468.

John Faust, who as we have seen, obtained the materials of Guttenberg,
laid claim to the invention, which has been granted to him by
several. Having sufficient capital at his command, he pushed the
trade with great advantage to himself. In the Bibles which he printed
he frequently omitted the capital and initial letters, leaving them
blank for illumination in gold or azure; this was designedly done
for the purpose of imposing upon the public printed copies for M.S.
transcripts. The report which is in circulation concerning Faust,
appears to come in support of this assertion: it being said he was
at Paris, and offering a quantity of his Bibles for sale as M.S. The
French, considering the number of them, and also remarking the exact
similarity and accuracy of them, even to a single point, concluded it
was impossible for the most accurate copyist to have transcribed them
so correctly. They suspected him of necromancy, and either actually
indicted him, or threatened to do, as a magician; and by this means
obtained his secret: whence came the origin of the popular story of Dr.
Faustus, his dealing with the devil, and tragical death.

In 1462, when Mentz was plundered and disfranchised of its former
liberties, printing rapidly spread through a great part of Europe,
particularly its artizans in that branch of art, settled at Haerlem,
Hamburgh, and other places; from Haerlem it travelled to Rome in 1466,
when the Roman character was adopted in 1467, and soon perfected.

In the reign of Henry VI., the Archbishop of Canterbury sent R.
Turnour, master of the robes, and W. Caxton, merchant, to Haerlem,
to learn the art. These individuals privately prevailed upon one
Corselis, an under workman to come to England: and a printing press was
established at Oxford. This appears in a MS. chronicle still preserved;
it informs us, that the execution of the concern entrusted to Turnour
and Caxton cost 1500 marks; and that printing was established at Oxford
before there was any printer or printing presses in France, Italy, or

The University of Oxford press was soon discovered to be too remote
from the seat of government, and too great a distance from the sea,
other presses were speedily established at St. Alban’s and the Abbey of

In 1467, printing was established at Tours, at Reuthlingen, and Venice,
in 1469; and it is likely at the same period at Paris, where several of
the German printers were invited by the Doctors of the Sorbonne, who
established a press in that city.

All important as the art of printing is acknowledged to be, yet
three centuries elapsed from the date of the invention before it was
perfected in many of its most necessary details. At first the art
was kept entirely in the hands of learned men, the greatest scholars
often glorying in affixing their names to the works as correctors of
the press, and giving names to the various parts of the mechanism of
the printing-office, as is testified by the classical technicalities
still in use among the workmen. From the great improvement of punching
moulds for casting types by Schoeffer, as formerly mentioned, till
the invention of italic letters by Aldus Manutius, to whom learning
is much indebted, no other improvement of any consequence took place.
It does not appear that mechanical ingenuity was at any time directed
to the improvement of the presses or any other part of the machinery
used in printing, and the consequence was, that till far on in the
eighteenth century, the clumsy presses, which were composed of wood and
iron, and slow and heavy in working, were allowed to screech on as they
had done since the days of Guttenberg, Faust, and Caxton, while the
ink continued to be applied by means of two stuffed balls, at a great
expense of time and labour.

At length, an almost entire revolution was effected in the printing
office, both in the appearance of the workmanship and the mechanism
of the presses. About the same period the art of stereotyping was
discovered, and developed a completely new feature in the history
of printing. One of the chief improvements in typography was, the
discarding of the long s, and every description of contraction; while,
at the same time, the formation of the letters was executed with more
neatness, and greater regularity.

Among the first improvers of the printing press, the most honourable
place is due to the Earl of Stanhope, a nobleman who will be long
remembered for his mechanical genius; besides applying certain lever
powers to the screw and handle of the old wooden press, by which the
labour of the workman was diminished, and finer work effected; he
constructed a press wholly of iron, which is known by his name.

Since the beginning of the present century, and more especially within
the last thirty years, presses wholly of iron, on the nicest scientific
principles, have been invented by men of mechanical genius, so as to
simplify the process of printing in an extraordinary degree; and the
invention of presses composed of cylinders, and wrought by steam, has
triumphantly crowned the improvements in this art. The alteration
effected by steam power has been as great in the printing business,
as in any branch whatever; for example, with the old wooden press,
it took a man two days to complete 1000 sheets, (that is, printed on
both sides); whereas the London “Times,” by means of the steam press
completes 24,000 in one hour! Almost every newspaper in the kingdom is
printed by cylinder-presses, although some are worked by hand instead
of steam; they are also used in other departments of the printing

The introduction of steam-presses would have been of comparatively
little benefit, if it had not been furthered by another invention of a
very simple nature, now of great value to the printer. We here allude
to the invention of the roller for applying the ink, instead of the old
clumsy and inefficient balls. The roller, which is simply a composition
of glue and treacle, cast upon wooden centre-pieces, was invented by a
journeyman printer from Edinburgh, about thirty years ago, and was so
much appreciated by the trade, as at once to spread over the whole of

Were it possible to conjure up the spirits of the illustrious
Guttenburg and his contemporaries within the office of the London
“Times,” or some other large printing-office, where everything is
conducted with rapidity, quietness, and order, John Faust might
well think that the printers of the nineteenth century had actually
consummated what he was only accused of in the fifteenth--completed a
compact with the devil!

As it would be a waste of time for us to pretend to describe the
various processes and materials required in this beautiful art, as
we are aware that, without actual observation, no conception can be
formed,--this we know from experience, and though we might, like many
others, have pretended to give a description, we are perfectly aware
that we would have been unintelligible to the majority of our readers,
and very deservedly laughed at for our trouble by any practical printer
who might happen to read our pages; as far as we have gone, however, in
giving a brief historical account of the art of printing, we have no
doubt it will be found correct, as have consulted the best authorities.


Stereotype, as we have mentioned in the former article, was introduced
about the middle of last century; and as it is so intimately connected
with the art of printing, we could not find a more appropriate place
than immediately following that noble art.--Earl Stanhope has been
named as the inventor; but for this we have not sufficient authority,
and it appears extremely doubtful; as stereotyping appears to have been
invented simultaneously, in various parts of England and Scotland,
by different persons; still it was upwards of sixty years before it
was brought to such perfection as to be applicable for any beneficial

When properly made known, it was hailed with approbation by those more
immediately interested--the printers and publishers: but as experience
more fully developed its powers, it was found available only for
particular work. For the better understanding of this art, which is
comparatively little known, we will give a description of the process,
which we are enabled to do by the assistance of an experienced workman.

In _setting_ the types, they are lifted from the case, one by one,
with the right hand, and built in a small iron form, called a
_composing-stick_, held in the left hand of the compositor, who sets
line after line till the stick is filled, when he empties it upon a
_galley_, and commences again in the same manner, till he has got as
much up as will make a page; this page he ties firmly up, and places
upon a smooth stone, or cast iron table. In this manner he continues,
till he gets as many pages as will make a _form_, which consists of
4, 8, 12, or more pages, as the case may be. If this form is to be
worked off at press without stereotyping, the pages are all imposed
in one _chass_, and carried to press for working, and when the whole
of the impression is off, it is thoroughly washed, and carried back
to the compositor for distribution--that is, putting the types in
their proper places. When these pages are to be stereotyped, they are
_imposed_ separately, and carried to the stereotype foundry, where they
are examined, and all dirt taken from the face; they are then slightly
oiled, and a _moulding-frame_ put round each. The frame is filled with
liquid plaster of Paris, which is well rubbed into the face of the type
to expel the air. As soon as this plaster hardens, it is removed from
the page, and shows a complete resemblance of the page from which it is
taken. The mould is put into an oven to dry, where it remains till it
resembles a piece of pottery; it is then put into an iron pan, in which
there is a thin plate of the same metal, called the _floating-plate_;
it has also an iron lid, which is firmly screwed down, and the whole is
immersed in a pot of molten type-metal, which fills the pan by means of
small holes in the corners of the lid. The length of time it remains in
the pot depends upon the heat of the metal, but it is generally from
ten to fifteen minutes, when it is taken out, and put aside to cool.
On opening the pan, nothing is seen but a solid lump of metal, which,
when carefully broke round the mould, a thin plate is obtained from the
mass, exhibiting a perfect appearance of the page from which the mould
was taken.--This is called a stereotype plate, which in general is not
above the eighth of an inch thick, and is printed from in the same
manner as a page of types. Such is the process of stereotyping, which
has become pretty general throughout the trade, but is not much known
to the public.



As we have shown in our article on Printing, Wood-engraving was in
fashion prior to the invention of printing. We are informed by Albert
Durer that Engraving on Wood was invented about the year 1520; he may
be a good authority in some matters, but in this he has committed a
mistake of nearly one hundred years; seeing that there is at least
an impression of one engraving on wood, the representation of the
Creation, which was in existence prior to 1430. It was undoubtedly a
piece of rough workmanship; but what could be expected at that early
period of the art? It has been, however, gradually improving ever
since, and it has now attained a point of excellence equal to any
of the fine arts, and calls forth the admiration of every lover of
the beautiful. It would be invidious to select any of the numerous
artists now flourishing--perhaps it would be difficult to make a
selection where so many are upon an equality; and we are of opinion
they themselves are more willing to accept the public approbation as
their reward, than any praise our pen could bestow. All we can do is
to recommend our readers to examine for themselves; they have abundant
opportunities in the numerous illustrated publications that are
daily issued from the press, and bestow that meed of praise upon the
respective artists they may deem proper.

The process of engraving on _wood_ is diametrically distinct and
opposite to that of engraving on _copper_ or _steel_; as in the former,
the shades are produced by the parts of the work which are made most
prominent, and obtrude upon the surface of the substance; whence its
chief merit has been regarded in leaving broad and well-proportioned
lights. The parts to produce this effect being of necessity excavated,
great art and a masterly judgment are necessary to effect this, and at
the same time not to weaken the substance, lest it should be injured in
the pressure necessary to produce an impression.

The substance usually employed for these engravings is wood of a close
grain; on this account box-wood is generally selected. The impressions
are obtained from wood-engravings upon exactly the same principle as
are the impressions from typography; and they can also be worked off
at the same time with the descriptive text. This is a superiority
which wood possesses over other engravings, and recommends itself to
publishers on account of the immense saving in the expense of a double
process in procuring copper-plate illustrations for typographical
works, and enables them to keep pace with the ruling passion of this
literary era--cheap publications.


The art of engraving on copper plates, for impressions, is alleged
to have been invented by Peter Schoeffer, one of the early printers,
and son in-law of John Faust, about the year 1450. The honour of this
invention is also claimed by a Florentine goldsmith of the name of
Finguires, who dates his invention in 1540. This artist having used
liquid sulphur to take an impression of some chasing and engraving he
had made, observed a blackness produced by the sulphur left in the
deepest parts of his work, whence he obtained an impression on paper.

But we have no hesitation in giving the preference to Schoeffer, who,
we have previously remarked, was of an ingenious turn, and assisted
Guttenburg in producing moulds for casting his types; in addition to
which, some of the books printed by him are ornamented with head
and tail-pieces, with other rude attempts at engraving; and likewise
because Schoeffer’s claim to the honour was acknowledged before
Finguires was born.

Of engraving there are various kinds; that called by connoisseurs, the
legitimate mode of engraving, is what is termed the _line_ or _stroke_
mode. Numerous have been the British artists who have excelled in this
style, in affording the means of multiplying our graphical productions.

The next species of engraving we will notice is called the _stipple_,
or chalk style,--imitations of chalk drawings. Portraits and historical
pieces are executed in this style, which the celebrated Bartolozzi
brought to perfection.

The third species we will mention, cannot properly be called engraving;
the effect is produced by scraping and rubbing; this kind is called
_chiaro obscuro_, or mezzotinto; producing prints which have the effect
of Indian ink drawings.

A fourth species of engraving is what is commonly used for landscapes,
which produces an effect like a pencil water-colour drawing; which is
called _aquatinta_.

In all of these kinds of engravings upon copper the artists find the
sulphuric acid, or aquafortis, a most powerful agent. Sometimes,
indeed, it is suffered to execute the whole of the process of the
graver, especially when it is called an etching.

For the same reasons as those mentioned with regard to wood engravers,
we shall abstain from naming any of the very eminent artists now living.

We have already observed the mode of obtaining similar effects from
wood and copper, are opposite to each other. The manner in which
impressions from wood engravings are obtained, has likewise been
noticed; and it remains that we observe the mode by which impressions
are obtained from copper-plates. The plate is covered with appropriate
ink; the surface is then carefully cleansed, leaving ink only in the
excavations or lines in the copper. The plate and paper are passed
through a roller press of great power, the roller being covered with a
blanket, which presses the paper into all the crevices of the plate,
and brings away the ink there deposited.


For several years steel has been used in great quantities, instead
of copper-plates, by engravers. By this fortunate application of so
durable, and it may be added, so economical a material, not only has
a new field been discovered admirably suited to yield in perfection
the richest and finest graphic productions, which the ingenuity of
modern art can accomplish, but to do so through an amazingly numerous
series of impressions without perceptible deterioration. The art of
engraving on iron or steel for purposes of ornament, and even for
printing, in certain cases, is by no means a discovery of modern times;
but the substitution of the latter for copper, which has invited the
superiority of the British burin to achievements hitherto unattempted
by our artists, is entirely a modern practice.

In the year 1810, Mr. Dyer, an American merchant, residing in London,
obtained a patent for certain improvements in the construction and
method of using plates and presses, &c., the principles of which were
communicated to him by a foreigner residing abroad. This foreigner
was Mr. Jacob Perkin, an ingenious artist of New England, and whose
name has become subsequently so extensively known in this country, in
connection with roller-press printing from hardened steel plates. The
plates used by Mr. Perkins were, on the average, about five-eights of
an inch thick; they were either of steel so tempered as to admit of
the operation of the engraver, or, as was more generally the case,
of steel decarbonated so as to become very pure soft iron, in which
case, after they had received the work on the surface, they were case
hardened by cementation.

The decarbonating process was performed by enclosing the plate of cast
steel properly shaped, in a cast iron box, or case, filled about the
plate to the thickness of about an inch with oxide of iron or rusty
iron filings; in this state the box is luted close, and placed on a
regular fire, where it is kept at a red heat during from three to
twelve days. Generally about nine days is sufficient to decarbonize
a plate five-eighths of an inch in thickness; when the engraving
or etching has been executed, the plate is superficially converted
into steel, by placing it in a box as before, and surrounding it on
all sides by a powder made of equal parts of burned bones, and the
cinders of burned animal matter, such as old shoes or leather. In this
state the box, with its contents, closely luted, must be exposed to a
blood-red heat for three hours; after which, it is taken out of the
fire, and plunged perpendicularly edgeways into cold water, (which has
been previously boiled) to throw off the air. By this means the plate
becomes hardened without the danger of warping or cracking. It is then
tempered or let down by brightening the under surface of the plate with
a bit of stone; after which it is heated by being placed upon a piece
of hot iron, or melted lead, until the rubbed portion acquire a pale
straw-colour. For this purpose, however, the patentee expressed himself
in favour of a bath of oil heated to the temperature of 460 degrees, or
thereabouts of Fahrenheit’s scale. The plate being cooled in water, and
polished on the surface, was ready for use.

A more material peculiarity in Mr. Perkins’ invention, and one which
does not seem to have been approached by any preceding artist, was
the contrivance of what are called _indenting cylinders_. These
are rollers of two or three inches in diameter, and made of steel,
decarbonized by the process above described, so as to be very soft. In
this state they are made to roll backward and forward under a powerful
pressure, over the surface of one of the hardened plates, until all
the figures, letters, or indentations are communicated, with exquisite
precision, in sharp relief upon the cylinder; which, being carefully
hardened and tempered, becomes, by this means, fitted to communicate
an impression to other plates, by an operation similar to that by
which it was originally figured. It will be obvious that one advantage
gained by this method must be the entire saving of the labour and
expense of re-cutting in every case, on different plates, ornaments,
borders, emblematical designs, &c., as these can now be impressed with
little trouble on any number of plates, or in any part thereof, by the
application of the cylinder. At first sight, the performance of such
an operation as the one now alluded to may appear difficult, if not
impracticable; and, indeed, many persons on its first announcement were
disposed to doubt or deny its possibility altogether. With a proper and
powerful apparatus, however, this method of transferring engravings
from plates to cylinders, and _vice versa_, is every day performed with
facility and success, not only in the production of bank notes, labels,
&c., but in works exhibiting very elaborate engravings.


Lithography is the art of printing from stone, which claims for its
author Aloys Senelfelder, a native of Munich, in the kingdom of
Bavaria. The history of this useful art is recorded by the only person
capable of assigning proper and correct motives, and of tracing the
various means which were employed to arrive at the desired end, to
ultimate success: had all other useful inventions, profitable and
elegant arts, had the good fortune which this has happily experienced,
we should not have had so much cause to regret deficiencies as we have
frequently experienced in the course of our inquiries; then would
the various illustrious authors of arts have had justice rendered to
them, and still have remained possessed of that glorious immortality
so justly the reward of transcendant merit; for the history of this
meritorious invention is given by the author himself, thereby securing
to it those advantages, which the erudite author of the preface
congratulates the public upon, when in his concise epistle he uses
that beautiful expression of his countryman, Klopstock, where he says,
“Covered with eternal darkness are the great names of inventors.”

This work has been translated into English, and published with the
following title:--“A complete Course of Lithography, containing clear
and explicit Instructions in all the different branches and manners
of the Art; accompanied by Illustrative Specimens of Drawings; to
which is prefixed a History of Lithography, from its Origin, by Aloys
Senefelder, Inventor of the Art of Lithography, or Chymical Printing,”

The author of the preface to this work, and friend of the inventor,
states that this is an art, whereby the artist, a minister, a man of
letters, or a merchant, &c., may multiply his productions at will,
without the assistance of a second person.

The author of the above work proceeds to give in detail his motives
for the original invention, in which he has not only been strictly
circumstantial, but no more so than the curiosity of the public
requires, which is always excited in a degree proportioned to the
confessed utility of a work, or that demand which its elegance has upon
cultivated and delicate feeling. His labours may be said to be divided
naturally into two parts, of which division the author has availed
himself; first, adducing its history, and secondly, affording the
operation of its process.

Its history appears to have arisen with its origin; and both to have
originated in the necessities of the author. From whence it appears,
that after he had received a scholastic education to qualify him for
the jurisprudence of his country, the death of his father, who was a
votary of the Thespian art, deprived him of those resources essential
to enable him to pursue his intended honourable vocation; he was
consequently driven to seek support from the previous acquisitions
of his mind. He accordingly devoted his earnest attention to solicit
the favours of the dramatic muse as an author. After encountering
numberless difficulties, he produced one play, which was published, and
sold considerably well. But the honourable independence of his mind
induced him to reflect upon the certainty of the large expense, which
necessarily attends the practice of an author, who has not liberal
patrons in the public or the trade; and the uncertainty of adequate
remuneration from the public, for whose amusement they make such large
sacrifices of time, ease, property, health, and often life itself.
These reflections induced his ardent and ingenious mind to endeavour to
avoid the uncertainty of this contingency. He did not possess property
to enable him to establish himself as a printer, which was his desire;
he was therefore compelled to have recourse to his own ingenuity.
He tried various, and at first, unsuccessful experiments, which he
ingeniously details; because, he considered, that nearly as much is
learned from the failures of an artist, had he always the honesty to
publish them, as is gained from his most successful discoveries.

Various were the materials upon which he first essayed to complete
his purposes; till, at length, chance directed him to try what could
be effected upon stone. For this purpose, he used a species found in
Germany, of a beautifully close grained and dense kind, susceptible of
receiving a fine polish, called Kellheim stone. Knowing the failures
which his countrymen had experienced in endeavouring to fix the ink
in this stone for etching, he had recourse to a chemical experiment
to obviate this, which succeeded in the following manner:--To four
or five parts of water, he added one of rectified vitriol, which
instantly produced an effervescence, on being poured upon it; the
stone was instantly covered with a coat of gypsum, which to vitriol is
impenetrable; this is easily wiped off, and the stone being dried, it
is ready for use. The next want he found, was a species of ink, proper
to answer the peculiar purposes of the material whereon he had to
operate; for which he discovered none so well adapted as the following
mixture:--A composition of three parts of wax, with one of yellow soap,
is melted over a fire, and mixed with a small portion of lamp-black,
dissolved in rain-water. But this is now greatly simplified, as the
lithographic printers generally use the same ink as the copperplate

The process of lithography is very simple. The article wanted to be
printed is written or drawn upon a piece of transfer paper, which being
wet and laid on the stone, and put through the press, the writing or
drawing remains on the stone, and any number of impressions may be
taken off. Care must be taken, before inking, to come over the stone
with a damp sponge, to prevent the ink adhering to the places not
wanted, which it would otherwise do.

We understand the Bath and Portland stone is successfully used; but the
best yet found in Britain, for the purpose, is what is known by the
name of _lias_, raised near Stratford-on-Avon, in Warwickshire; it is a
calcareous and partly siliceous stone, and we think not destitute of
magnesia, having, when, polished, a very silky and somewhat saponaceous

This art has flourished to a greater extent than we believe the most
sanguine expectations of its inventor could have anticipated. Many
beautiful specimens of art have been produced equal to the finest
copper-plate engravings. It is excellently adapted for drawing of
plans, bill-heads, circulars, cards, and many other light articles,
which used formerly to be printed by means of letter-press; and on
account of the numerous ornaments so easily applied to the lithographic
process, the most of these, and similar articles, are principally
lithographed, to the detriment, we would conceive, of the letter-press
and copper-plate printers.


Before the invention of paper, in ancient times, a great variety of
substances have been used for the purpose of recording events, or
delineating ideas, of which it becomes our duty to give a somewhat
detailed account, to show our readers the numerous advantages they
enjoy, in having a material which, like everything in common use, is
but little thought of. But let any one suppose himself to be without
this necessary article, or the means of communicating his ideas, he
would be sensible of the difference.

Rough stones and stakes were used as the first known records of the
ancient Phœnicians, remains of which are reported to be still visible;
and to confirm this persuasion, certain heaps of stones have been
discovered in the environs of Cadiz, which are currently believed to
be the remains of those monuments alleged to be made by Hercules, in
memory of his famous expedition to the gardens of the Hesperides, for
the golden fruit, or as others have it, against Spain. It is also
stated, that the usual mode of recording great events, in the north of
Asia and Europe, was by placing stones of extraordinary size; in aid of
this, we have a great variety of instances.

Since the _scriptural_ art has been introduced, or invented, many
materials have been, in a variety of ages, and in numerous countries,
used for the purpose of recording events to posterity; characters cut
upon rocks, upon tables of stone, upon bark, pieces of wood, written
upon skins of fish and animals, palm-leaves, besides a great variety of
other articles, of which we will only enumerate a few.

There is a Bible still preserved, written on palm-leaves, in the
University of Gottingen, containing 5,376 leaves. Another Bible, of the
same material, is at Copenhagen. There was also, in Sir Hans Sloane’s
collection, more than twenty manuscripts, in various languages, on the
same material.

The protocols of the Emperors in early times were written upon bark. In
the British Museum are many specimens of this substance; also in the
grand Duke’s gallery at Florence.

To this mode is supposed to have succeeded the practice of painting
letters on linen cloth and cotton; what was the difference in
the preparation of that material to the one now employed is not
ascertained, but it is considered that some preparation was necessary
in order to use that substance. There have been frequently found in the
chests or cases containing the Egyptian mummies, very neat characters
written on linen. Linen being subject to accidents from becoming
mouldy, &c., asbestoes cloth had been occasionally used in small

The accidents to which these species of materials were most of them
subject, and linen particularly so, induced man to endeavour to remedy
those objects; he accordingly is found to have recourse to the animal

In the convent of Dominican monks at Bologna, are two books of Esdras,
written on asses’ skins, said to have been written by Esdras himself.
The ancient Persians wrote on hides, from which the hair was scraped.
The shepherds wrote their songs with thorns upon straps of leather,
which they wound round their crooks.

The ancient Welch had a peculiar manner of writing upon small squared
oblong pieces of wood, which they called _billets_, which name forms
the appellative to numerous of their productions, as the “Billett of
the Bard.”

The Italian kings, Hugo and Lotharis, gave a grant to the Ambrosian
church, at Milan, written on the skin of a fish.

In the Alexandrian Library there were the works of Homer, written in
golden letters on the skins of animals. In the reign of the Emperor
Baliskus, the head and “Odyssey” of Homer, written in golden letters,
on the intestines of beasts, one hundred and twenty feet long, were
burned at Constantinople.

In the royal library at Hanover, there is a gold plate, written by an
independent prince of Coromandel to George II., three feet long and
four inches wide, inlaid on both sides with diamonds.

At last we have arrived at the period for the introduction of the
Egyptian papyrus, a kind of rush of large dimensions, growing in the
marshes on the banks of the Nile. This plant is described as growing
in swamps to the height of fifteen feet; the stalk triangular, of a
thickness to be spanned, surrounded near the root by short leaves;
stalk naked, has on the top a bush resembling the head with hairs, or
long thin straight fibres; root brown.

The Egyptian papyrus was manufactured into paper from very fine
pellicles near its pith, separated by a pin or pointed mussel-shell
spread on a table in such form as was required, sprinkled with Nile
water; on the first layer a second layer was laid crosswise to finish
the sheet, then pressed, hung to dry, and afterwards polished with
a tooth. The Nile water was very carefully used to prevent spots.
Twenty skins were the greatest number which could be procured from one
plant. Those nearest the pith made the finest paper. Twenty sheets
glued together were called _scapus_, but sometimes _scapi_ went to
form a _volumen_. This part of the business was executed by the
_glutinatoris_, who resembled our bookbinders.

This plant yielded materials for making four sorts of paper.

With respect to other substances for the same purpose, there are many,
but as most of these have one generic character, being manufactured
from the bark of trees, the detail is not here given, as it might not,
perhaps, be generally interesting, especially as nothing new appears in
this respect.

With respect to the paper now in use, Dr. Blair says, the first
paper-mill (in England, we suppose) was erected at Dartford, in the
year 1588, by a German of the name of Spiellman; from which period we
may, perhaps, date its manufacture in this country.

It appears, however, that it was known in the East, much earlier; it
being observed that most of the ancient manuscripts in Arabic and other
Oriental languages, were written upon cotton paper, and it is thought
the Saracens first introduced it into Spain.

Anderson, in his “History of Commerce,” says, that till the year
1690, there was scarcely any paper made in England, but the coarse
brown sort. Paper was previously imported from France, Genoa, and
Holland.--However, the improvement of this article in England, in
consequence of the French war, produced a saving to this country of
£100,000 annually, which had been paid to France for paper alone.

After linen and cotton are so much worn as to be unfit for any other
purpose, the several kinds are collected together, and the hard seams
and other accumulations, which would require a much longer time to
prepare proper for the general mass, than would be consistent with the
economy of the whole, those shreds are then separated and thrown away;
the different kinds are then collected and kept separate from each
other. In such a state of separation they are laid in troughs, which
are afterwards filled with water, where they are suffered to remain
till a species of fermentation takes place; and the separation of the
parts formed by art is not only rendered easy, but also, a division
may be made of the most minute parts; the separation is then made by
machinery. When properly prepared, a sufficient quantity is placed
upon a wire frame, or otherwise one formed of cloth; by mechanical
pressure, the moisture is extracted, after which the sheets are hung up
separately on lines to dry, in a building properly constructed to admit
a free circulation of air.

Manufacturers of paper, originally, could only use white rags to
make white paper; but Mr. Campbell, in 1792, discovered a method of
discharging any colour from rags, by bleaching with oxi-muriatic acid
gas, for which he obtained a patent.

The next considerable improvement which appears to have been made in
the manufacture of paper, consists in using felt or woollen cloth in
conjunction with the wire cloth formerly used, and now of necessity
retained, and other processes too voluminous to be inserted here.

The only remaining circumstance we have to mention is, that in the
beginning of the present century there was manufactured, in the
vicinity of London, a very good printing paper, made entirely from
wheat straw; for which manufacture, the inventor obtained a patent,
but he did not succeed, we presume, because it is now discontinued.
Considerable quantities of paper is now made from straw in France; but
it is of a yellow tinge. Paper made from linen is the best.


The desire of man, for the gratification of his natural wants, being
soon satisfied, he yet is wanting--those artificial wants which
arise in the mind, and are the source of his comforts, because their
gratification yields him high delight. Having built him a house, to
shelter himself from the exigencies of the weather, to enlarge the
sphere of his pleasures, he is desirous to ornament it; and because he
cannot, perhaps, construct his house of silver, gold, or costly stones,
he endeavours, at least, to have an imitation; and gilding, lacquering,
painting, or staining is substituted. This idea, we will presume,
to have given origin to every species of decorative ornament in the
construction of houses--and among the rest to paper-hanging, which is
carried on to a greater extent in this country, than at any former

The ancient Greeks, according to Archbishop Potter, constructed not
only their arms, but also their houses, occasionally of brass, whilst
the Romans frequently gilt theirs; they often covered them with costly
casings or veneers, sometimes with precious stones. Since they went
to such great cost to ornament the outside of their habitations,
we need not wonder that they spared no expense in endeavouring to
ornament them within.--Those people, however, who could not procure
these extravagancies in reality, thought they would, at least, have
the nearest imitation of them; accordingly they had recourse sometimes
to veneers of those substances they had seen substantially employed
by the rich and luxurious, as well for outside ornament as interior
decoration; those who could not afford this, had recourse to pigments
and the graphic art; for this purpose, the ingenuity of man was
employed to devise various modes of ornament and decoration. Hence
arose the various kinds of painting, the fresco, scagliolo, &c., and
lastly, came staining of paper in use.

To enumerate the various kinds of this, might be attended with very
little benefit, because the principle of all is nearly the same.
However, it has been remarked that three kinds are deserving of notice.
The first and plainest is that which has on it figures, drawn and
painted with one or more colours, consisting only of painted paper.
The second contains a woolly stuff, dyed of various tints, and made
to adhere to the paper, in certain forms, by a glutinous matter; and
the third is a species of paper covered with metallic dust. There are
other papers used for hangings, which contain a representation of many
kinds of stones, of which we understand there is a large manufactory in

There is also a species of velvet paper--a paper covered with sham
plush, or wool dyed and cut short, and made to adhere to the paper by
some kind of cement, said to have been the invention of an Englishman,
of the name of Jerome Lanyer, in the reign of Charles I., for which he
received a patent. In the specification it is stated, that he had found
out an art and mystery for affixing wool, silk, and other materials,
upon linen, cotton, leather, and other substances, with oil, size, and
cements, so as to make them useful and serviceable for hangings and
other purposes; which he called Londrindina; and he said it was his own
invention, and formerly used within this realm.

However, it appears that this invention of Lanyer was afterwards
disputed by a Frenchman of the name of Tierce, who said it was the
production of a countryman of his, named Francois, who, he stated,
had made such before 1620, and supported his assertion by producing
patterns, and the wooden blocks with which it was printed, with the
dates inscribed upon them. The son of Francois, it appeared, followed
his father’s business, at Rouen, for more than fifty years, where he
died, in 1748. Some of his workmen are said to have left him, and gone
to the Netherlands, Germany, and other places, where they sold their

It appears that Nemetz ascribes the invention of wax-cloth hangings,
with wool chopped and beat fine, to a Frenchman, named Andran, who, he
says, in the beginning of the last century, was an excellent painter
in arabesque and grotesque figures, and inspector of the palace of the
Luxembourg at Paris, in which he had a manufactory for hangings of that
kind. It is also stated that a person of the name of Eccard invented
the art of printing, on paper-hangings, gold and silver figures, and
that he carried on an extensive manufactory for such works.

It certainly does appear that the Germans cannot claim the privilege of
invention here, but were behind their neighbours in this art.

One of the most ingenious of the many new improvements is said to
consist in the art of manufacturing paper-hangings by affixing to the
substance of the proper metallic dust, commonly called Nuremberg dust,
by which it acquires the appearance of various costly metals in a state
of fracture, varied with glittering particles of differently formed
parts; and receiving the light in every direction, produce certainly
a novel effect, which is rich and beautiful, while it is obtained at
little expense.

The Nuremberg metallic dust is said to have been the invention of an
artist of that city, named John Hautsch, born in 1595, died in 1670;
his descendants have continued its preparation to the present time.
It is produced from filings of metals of several descriptions washed
well in a strong lixivious water, then being placed upon a sheet of
copper, are put upon a strong fire, and continually stirred till the
colour is altered. Those of tin, by this process, acquire every shade
of gold colour, with its metallic lustre; those of copper, different
shades of flame colour; those of iron or steel, a blue or violet; of
tin and bismuth mixed, a white or bluish white colour. The dust tinged
in this manner is then put through a flatting-mill, consisting of
two rollers of the hardest steel, like those used by gold and silver
wire-drawers; for the greater convenience a funnel is placed over them.
French covered paper manufactured from this material is called _papiers
avec paillettes_. Its lustre is so durable that it is said to continue
unaltered for many years even on the walls of sitting apartments. This
metallic dust is an article of commerce, being exported from Germany.

As early as the seventeenth century, the miners of Silesia collected
and sold, for various purposes, a material they call _glimmer_, being
bright, shining particles of various metals, which those mines produce
in great profusion; even the black, we are told, acquires a gold colour
by being exposed to a strong heat. This was manufactured by the holy
sisters of Reichenstein, into a variety of ornaments; with it they
decorated their images, strewing over them a shining kind of _talc_.
The silver coloured glimmer had not, however, so great a brilliancy or
variety as the Nuremberg metallic dust; for which purposes that article
has a decided superiority.

For the various purposes to which these ornaments are to be applied,
different adhesive substances should be used; in some cases glue would
have the effect, to be first drawn over the substance; in others, a
strong varnish, in which wax is dissolved; and for others, various
kinds of gums.

Those substances being so covered, the dust may be put in a common
pepper-castor, and applied by sifting it over the substance to be so
covered. Different figures may be drawn with a pencil, and the box of
dust shook over them, as far as the extent of the lines covered with
glue; the dust will only fasten so far as it meets with what produces


Its origin is to be traced up to that known source, from whence most of
those arts, which humanise society and lend a polish to life, first had
being. Diodorus Siculus speaks of bricks burnt in the fire with various
colours, representing the natural appearance of men and animals; which
is the first fact upon record. As this occurred during the building of
Babylon, it is as remote an original as we are, perhaps, authorised to
depend upon; although it is extremely probable it might be traced to an
anterior date: which conclusion, though made from inference alone, we
are allowed to suppose must have been the case; as a knowledge of the
nature of pigments must first have been ascertained before the Chaldean
artists could have been informed what colours would fade, or what would
withstand the operation of the enamelling process in the intense heat
necessary to produce the effect. They must at least have understood the
difference between vegetable colours, which are the first presented
to the senses, and most probably were the first which were used, and
those afforded by the mineral kingdom, which alone were proper for
the operation they performed. Therefore, the arts of painting and
chemistry, we would presume must have made considerable progress prior
to the erection of the tower of Babel.

The next people, who, in point of time as well as of importance, offer
themselves to the notice of modern Europeans, are the Egyptians; and
their perfection in the use of the various colours which constitute the
compound idea we entertain when we think of painting, is well known
and appreciated; when we may any day consult our judgment by inspecting
those beautiful specimens of their eternal mode of colouring we have
in the exhibition on mummy-cases in the British Museum, and other
depositories of that species of antique preservation. The third people
who excelled in giving a beautiful and tasteful variety to surfaces in
colouring and effect, were the Etrurians, a people anciently inhabiting
a district of Italy, now known as Tuscany. Of the perfection to which
they brought the art we may form an adequate and proper judgment
by inspecting those beautiful vases preserved in the Hamiltonian
collection in the British Museum, and also in some very curious
specimens of ancient painting, procured from the ruins of Herculaneum,
collected likewise by Sir William Hamilton.

It cannot be doubted, that most distinct societies of men have,
after the gratification of their first wants, and when leisure hours
permitted the exercise of their ingenious and inventive faculties,
invented a great variety of useful and ornamental arts; therefore,
there cannot be a question, but various arts of utility as well as of
ornament, have been invented by a great variety of people, who all,
agreeably to our prior definitions, are well entitled to the distinct
appellation of original inventors; consequently in such a case question
must evidently submit to the determination of chronology.

Eudora, the daughter of a potter of Corinth, is presumed to have
introduced the art into Greece. The art of painting in Greece is also
claimed by Sicyon as the original. Mr. Fuseli has beautifully observed
in his first lecture illustrative of the former of these two claimants,
that “If ever legend deserved our belief, the amorous tale of the
Corinthian maid, who traced the shadow of her departing lover by the
secret lamp, appeals to our sympathy to grant it.” This invention is
becoming doubly interesting in that country, first, because of its
elegance and utility; and secondly, because it is ascribed to one of
the noblest and most powerful passions, which distinguish the human
species, the wonderful effects of which have given to humanity the most
exalted and illustrious of actions, which ennoble the character of
man--to delicate, refined, and almighty love. Numerous artists in the
Grecian school brought the art of painting to great perfection.

The restorer of this delightful art in Europe was Cimabue, a native of
Italy, who first studied under some Grecian artists, and furnished some
admirable productions in fresco, in several Italian churches about the
renovation of the arts in modern Italy; since which time, this purely
intellectual art has been successfully cultivated in almost all the
countries of Europe, certain masters in all schools of which have been
eminent for some peculiar eminence.

An analogy has been drawn by comparison between the fascinating effect
of music on the ear, and colour on the eye, wherein it is observed the
comparison very nearly approximates; whence the term _harmony_, applied
to the former, may correctly, and with singular propriety be used, when
speaking of the latter. And also, it is said, for the same reason, and
proceeding upon the like analogy, the term _tone_ is applicable to
both; they are accordingly used indiscriminately. Without questioning
their propriety, we give in to our sensations, and as far as our
judgment goes, believe they are not improperly introduced into the
pictorial art.

It cannot be presumed that we should have the temerity to aspire to
the task of giving a full and complete description of every variety
which constitutes perfection in the art; for this would be to infer
professional ability, equal, or perhaps, superior to what any one
individual ever was, or, we may venture to say, ever will be, known to
possess. Besides this inference, another must be presumed, because
perfection in description must also anticipate the most delicate,
refined, and, as termed, classically correct taste; neither to these
do we assume the possession of such well-known essentials as are
positively necessary to its formation. It is, besides, altogether
difficult, as the world acknowledges, to fix a standard to the ideal
faculty of taste, and which, we hereby take occasion to notice;
therefore we hope to avoid the sin of presumption, and trust that our
readers will observe that what we do state is upon good authority, if
we have not full confidence in our own experience; but our sin, if sin
there be, is rather that of omission than of commission--of saying too
little, rather than too much.


The origin of Statuary, or what we would term its parent--modelling,
is of very great antiquity, as we are authoratively informed by the
Grecian historians, whose testimony is supported by Monsieur D’Anville
and Major Rennel, two of the most eminent geographers of modern times.
From them we learn that three massy statues of gold were erected
to ornament the temple of Jupiter Belus. Those were erected by the
Chaldeans about two thousand two hundred and thirty years before Christ.

There is also sufficient evidence, that the most eminent and
intellectual people, subsequent to the Chaldeans, were the Egyptians.

Every individual, who is in the slightest degree conversant with the
history of the arts, knows that the Egyptian artisans had from the
earliest periods been in the habit of constructing colossal statues
of their numerous deities, and also of their benefactors, raised from
gratitude and adulation.

To name only a single instance, the immense colossal statue of Memnon,
who perished before the fall of Troy, according to Homer: also Ovid,
who speaking of his mother Aurora, says,

   “Nor Troy, nor Hecuba could now bemoan,
    She weeps a sad misfortune now her own;
    Her offspring, Memnon, by Achilles slain,
    She saw extended on the Phrygian plain.”

Professor Flaxman has informed us, that this celebrated statue, had it
stood upright, would have measured ninety-three feet and a half high;
calculating from the dimensions of its ear, which is three feet long.
We are informed by Dr. Rees, in his valuable Cyclopedia, that sculpture
in marble was not introduced till eight hundred and seventy-three years
before Christ. But having said this much for the origin, let us proceed
to the art; and we candidly acknowledge that it is from the lectures
of that truly distinguished individual, Professsor Flaxman, we are
principally indebted for our information.

Sculpture in Greece remained long in a rude state; but we need not
wonder at that, when we reflect that art is only an imitation of
nature. Hence it follows that man, in a rude state of nature, for
want of proper principles to direct his inquiries, and determine
his judgment, is continually liable to errors, physical, moral, and
religious;--all his productions, of what kind soever, partake of this
primitive imbecility.

The early arts of design in Greece resembled those of other barbarous
nations, until the successive intellectual and natural, political and
civil advantages of this people raised them above the arts of the
surrounding nations. The science employed by the Greeks may be traced
in anatomy, geometry, mechanics, and perspective. From their earlier
authors and coeval monuments, Homer had described the figure with
accuracy, but insufficient for general purposes.

OF ANATOMY.--Hippocrates was the first who enumerated the bones, and
wrote a compendious account of the principles of the human figure; he
described the shoulders, the curves of the ribs, hips and knees; the
characters of the arms and legs, in the same simple manner in which
they are represented in the basso relievo of the Parthenon, now in the
National Gallery of the British Museum.

The ancient artists saw the figure continually exposed in all actions
and circumstances, so as to have little occasion for other assistance
to perfect their works; and they had also the assistance of casting,
drawing, and other subsidiary means. The succeeding ancient anatomists
did not describe the human figure more minutely or advantageously
for the artist, than had been done by Hippocrates, till the time of
Galen, whose external anatomy gave example for that analytical accuracy
of arrangement followed by more modern artists. Sculpture, however,
profited little from Galen’s labours, for the arts of design were in
his time in a retrogade motion towards anterior barbarism.

The anatomical researches from Alcmæon of Crotona, a disciple of
Pythagoras, to those of Hippocrates and his scholars, assisted Phidias
and Praxiteles, their contemporaries and successors, in giving select
and appropriate forms of body and limbs to their several divinities,
whose characters were fixed by the artists from the rhapsodies of
Homer, having then become popular among the Athenians.

Phidias was the first in this reformation. Minerva, under his hand,
became young and beautiful, who had before been harsh and elderly; and
Jupiter was awful, as when his nod shook the poles, but benignant, as
when he smiled on his daughter Venus. Apollo and Bacchus then assumed
youthful resemblances of their sire; the first more majestic, the
latter more feminine; whilst Mercury, as patron of gymnastic exercises,
was represented as more robust than his brother. Hercules became
gradually more powerful; and the forms of inferior heroes displayed
a nearer resemblance to common nature; from which, both sentiment
and beauty can alone be given to imitative art. The near approach of
ancient art to nature, considering their high advance to accuracy of
imitation, should likewise encourage the modern to imitate the ancient
artists. The moderns now also enjoy superior auxiliary assistance from
engraving, printed books, &c., which the ancients did not possess.

MECHANISM OF THE HUMAN FRAME.--The human figure with the limbs
extended, may be inclined and bounded by the circle and square;
the centre of gravity, its change of situation, is susceptible of
description, and may be exemplified in rest and motion;--running,
striving, leaping, walking, rising, and falling. Those principles of
motion may be exhibited in a skeleton, by the bending of the backbone
backwards and forwards, whilst the limbs uniformly describe sections of
circles in their motions, constantly moving on their axis.

DIMENSIONS OF THE HUMAN FIGURE, as exhibited in Grecian Statuary.--The
height, eight heads (or usually ten faces); two heads across the
shoulders; one head and a half across the hips; three noses, the
thickest part of the thigh; two, to the calf of the leg; one, the
narrowest part of the shin, &c. The above is the general proportion of
the male figure. The female figure is narrower across the shoulders,
and wider across the hips than the male.

The _beauty_ of the human figure is found in its proportion, symmetry,
and expression; it really appears that the beauty of the human figure
is the chief or ultimate of beauty observed in the visible works
of creative Omnipotence. From thence every other species of beauty
graduates in just _ratios_ of proportion. From considering the
intellectual faculties of man, we assimilate the idea, and connect
beauty with utility, as this union of his physical and mental powers
unquestionably renders him one of the most beautiful objects in the
creation. This consideration leads us involuntarily to a train of
thought, suggested by a principle laid down by Plato, “That nothing is
beautiful which is not truly good;” which also induces the following
corollary, and which is confirmed by reason, and sanctioned by
revelation, that _perfection of human beauty consists of the most
virtuous soul in the most healthy and perfect body_.

Inasmuch as painters and sculptors adhered to those principles in
their work, they assisted to enforce a popular impression of divine
attributes and perfections, even in ages of gross idolatry.

In the highest order of divinities, the energy of intellect was
represented above the material accidents of passion and decay.

The statues of the Saturnian family, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto,
were the most sublime and mighty of the superior divinities.
Apollo, Bacchus, and Mercury, were youthful resemblances of the
Saturnian family, in energetic, delicate, and more athletic beauty:
Apollo-Belvidere supplies Homer’s description to the sight; he looks
indignant, his hair is agitated; he steps forward in the discharge of
his shafts; his arrows are hanging on his shoulder.

A youthful and infantine beauty of the highest class distinguish the
Cupid of Praxiteles, and the group of Ganymede and the Eagle. The
order of heroes or demigods excel in strength, activity, and beauty;
Achilles, Ajax, Hæmon, Zethos, and Amphion, are examples in Grecian
statuary to establish this remark.

The Giants are human to the waist; their figures terminate in
serpentine tails. Ocean and the great Rivers have Herculean forms, and
faintly resemble the Saturnian family, and have reclining positions.
The Tritons resemble the Fauns in the head, and upper features, with
finny tails, and gills on their jaws; their lower parts terminate in
the tails of fish.

In the highest class of female characters, the beauty of Juno, is
imperious; that of Minerva, wise, as she presides over peaceful
arts; or warlike, as the protectress of cities. Venus is the example
and patroness of milder beauty and the softer arts of reciprocal
communication; of which the Venus Praxiteles and Venus de Medicis are
instances. The Greeks had also a Venus Urania, the goddess of hymenial
rites and the celestial virtues.

The Graces are three youthful, lovely sisters embracing: they represent
the tender affections, as their name implies; while their character
gives the epithet _graceful_ to undulatory and easy motion. The
universe was peopled by genii, good and evil demons, which comprehends
every species and gradation from the most sublime and beautiful in
Jupiter and Venus, to the most gross in the Satyr, resembling a goat,
and in the terrific Pan.

As the public have now an opportunity of consulting many of the objects
above referred to, in our great national gallery in the British Museum,
those of our readers who can obtain this advantage will do well to pay
a visit to that celebrated depository for the relics of antiquity,
where they will have it in their power to convince themselves of the
truth of the foregoing remarks.

The progeny of Ham, the son of Noah, we find, peopled Egypt, Medea,
Chaldea, Phœnicia, and several other adjoining countries. It will be
remembered that two of the three sons of Noah possessed these countries
which the folly of idolatry overflowed; whilst it was in the line of
Shem alone, that the true faith was continued. The Mosaiac narrative
is chiefly descriptive of events which occurred in the posterity of
that patriarch, because from it the righteous line of the faithful in
Abraham, David, Solomon, and ultimately Christ, proceeded. Thus more
than two-thirds of the inhabitants of the world were gross idolators:
we often find the Omniscience of the Highest forewarning the sacred
line to avoid its fascinations. Nay, when, upon more occasions than
one, the descendants of the faithful forgot themselves, and those
admonitions of the Creator were neglected, we find the sacred race
flying before the face of puny foes, which defeat was declared to be
from their having prostrated themselves before strange gods: they were
bowed thus low in battle. Not to mention their disobedience immediately
beneath Mount Sinai, which protracted their journey through the
wilderness to forty years, which, perhaps, under other circumstances,
would not have required as many days. All those troubles, their
subsequent captivities, and national afflictions, were the produce of
disobedience. This is one of those means which retributive justice
resorts to punish wilful sin; so, however, it was with the seed of
Abraham. And so it is presumed to be with the present race of men;
either immediate or remote punishment vindicates the Omnipotence of
Heaven. From the frequent maledictions we discover in the sacred volume
against idol worship, we cannot doubt that it was peculiarly offensive
to the Deity. that the great majority of the world were addicted to
this proscribed practice is equally certain. And as the Spirit of
Truth had declared in the decalogue, that “It would not be worshipped
under any form in the heavens above, in the earth below, or in the
waters under the earth;” so was image-worship, and consequently the
construction of such things, forbidden.

We discover that as this mania infected all nations, tongues, and
people, so did not the Israelites escape it; but immediately after
their departure from Egypt we find an exact similitude of the sacred
calf of the Egyptians, cast in melted gold, which they constructed
below Mount Sinai. In Egypt, metallic statues, as well as those of
stone, must have existed anterior to that event, as they actually
had done to our own knowledge, and long before idolatry had made its
appearance in Egypt, it had existed in Chaldea, as already shown.

As that worship had first its being in Chaldea, so had the art of
statuary its origin in that country; it was improved, perhaps, in
Egypt, and perfected in Greece, from the time of Pericles to that of
Alexander, commonly called the Great.



From what has been said in the previous article, it would appear
that drawing of the human figure was nearly coeval with the art of
statuary, or perhaps prior to it in Greece. As there is ample room
to suppose the rude aboriginal inhabitants of Greece borrowed their
art, as they did their religious and civil policy, from the Egyptians,
and in fact from every nation where they discovered anything worthy
their attention, so must we suppose they had also this art, in its
infancy it is true, from the same people. Upon reflecting for a single
moment, we are fully satisfied that the origin of the art now under
contemplation came from Egypt. An ancient philosopher expressed himself
with great truth, when he said, “Necessity was man’s first instructor.”
We accordingly perceive the necessity of the earliest inhabitants
of Egypt to exercise the art of drawing, they having determined to
record their transactions by hieroglyphical representation. We have
not the slightest doubt but we have now in the British Museum some of
the earliest specimens of Egyptian hieroglyphical delineation, in the
_sarcophagi_; from its inscription, it has been discovered that that
identical monument cannot be less than three thousand five hundred and
ninety-eight years old!

Previous to this, we can have no doubt that the art of drawing must
have existed.

Like its sister art, sculpture, it received every improvement of which
it was susceptible, from the mature conceptions and the delicate hand
of Grecian artisans; words are, perhaps, inadequate to convey this art
to a second person. Years of incessant labour, with an attention to
principles established and found to correspond correctly with nature,
are the only means to obtain a just knowledge of its principles, and to
judge tastefully of its correct execution.

However, in addition to the rules laid down in the preceding article,
we add the following, which have been approved by Sir Joshua Reynolds,
by no means a contemptible judge of the art:--

1. That from the crown of the head to the forehead is the third part of
a face.

2. The face begins at the root of the lowest hairs that grow on the
forehead, and ends at the bottom of the chin.

3. The face is divided into three proportionate parts; the first
contains the forehead or brow; the second, the nose; and the third, the
mouth and chin.

4. From the chin to the pit between the collar-bones, is two lengths of
a nose.

5. From the pit between the collar-bones to the bottom of the breast,
one face.

6. From the bottom of the breast to the navel, one face.

7. From the navel to the genitories, one face.

8. From the genitories to the upper part of the knee, two faces.

9. The knee contains half a face.

10. From the lower part of the knee to the ancle, two faces.

11. From the ancle to the sole of the foot, half a face.

12. A man with his arms extended, is from his longest finger on each
hand, as broad as he is long.

13. From one side of the breast to the other, two faces.

14. The bone of the arm called _humerus_, i.e., from the shoulder to
the elbow joint, is the length of two faces.

15. From the end of the elbow to the joint of the little finger, the
bone called _cubitus_, with a part of the hand, is also two faces.

16. From the box of the shoulder-blade, to the pit between the
collar-bones, one face.

17. To be satisfied in measures of breadth. From the extremity of one
finger to the other, so that his breadth should be equal to the length,
it should be observed, that the bones of the elbows with the _humerus_,
and the _humerus_ with the shoulder-blade, or _scapula_, bear the
proportions of a face when the arms are extended.

18. The sole of the foot is one-sixth part of the length of the entire

19. The hand is the length of a face.

20. The thumb contains a nose in length.

21. The inside of the arm, from the place where the muscle disappears,
which is connected with the breast (called the pectoral muscle,) to the
middle of the arm, four noses long.

22. From the middle of the arm, at the top, to the beginning of the
head, five noses.

23. The longest toe is one nose.

24. The outermost parts of the paps, and the pit between the
collar-bones of a female, form an equilateral triangle.

The knowledge of the preceding proportions, are as mere rudiments
essential to the delineation of the human figure; but they relate to
a body in a quiescent state only. The more difficult task remains
to become thoroughly acquainted with its actions. To obtain this, a
rudimental and even an intimate acquaintance with the skeleton, and
assiduous and incessant practice are necessary.

However, the lectures delivered to the Royal Academy have furnished us
with the probable extent to which the motions of the human frame may be

First, premising that the motions of the head and trunk of the body are
limited by the several joints of the spine.

2. The motion of the body upon the lower limbs takes place at the
hip-joints, at the knees, and at the ancles.

3. Those limbs, called great limbs (the whole frame being technically
divided, and denominated the upper and lower extremities), have
rotatory motions at their junctions with the trunk, by means of a ball
and socket joints, at the shoulders and the hips. The analogy of parts
between the upper and lower extremities is not carried through the
structure of those limbs in the body.

4. The fulcrum of the upper limb is itself moveable upon the trunk, as
appears from the extensive motions of the scapula, which so generally
accompany the rotation of the shoulder, and supply the limb with a
great variety of motion, much more than the lower limb possesses.

5. The junction of the thigh with the mass without motion, called the
_pelvis_, limits its rotation to the ball and socket-joint without
farther extension.

6. The rotation of the head and neck takes place at the joint between
the first and second vertebræ.

7. When the nose is parallel with the _sternum_, the face may be turned
towards either shoulder, through an angle of 60 deg. on each side; the
whole range of its motion being 120 degrees.

8. The lateral bending of the neck is equally divided between the
seven vertebræ; but the bowing of the head, and violently tossing it
backward, are chiefly effected at the joint of the skull, and the first
bone of the vertebral column called the atlas.

9. Although the preceding motions are consistent with an erect stature
of the neck, yet the lateral motions demand a curvature of its whole

10. The movements of the trunk are regulated by rotary and lateral
motions, nearly equally divided among the several joints of the
vertebræ of the back and loins.

11. The joints or the dorsal or back vertebræ are, notwithstanding,
more close and compact than those of the loins; allowing of a wider
range for bending and turning in the loins than the back.

12. The sternum and ribs move upward, to assist the chest in the
expansion required for respiration; drawing the clavicles and the
shoulders upwards in full inspiration, and tend to a contrary motion on
expiration. Such movements also, characterise strong action and certain
passion, and very apparent in a naked figure.

13. In stooping to touch the ground, the thigh-bone forms an angle of
somewhere about 55 degrees with the average direction of the vertebræ.

14. The leg bends upon the thigh at an angle of about 75 degrees, and
the line of the _tibia_ forms, with the sole of the foot, when that is
elevated, an angle of 65 degrees.

15. The whole of this limb is susceptible of motion at the hip-joint
forwards to a right angle with its perpendicular position; and
backwards to an angle of 20 degrees. The leg will then continue to move
by itself to its own angle of 75 degrees with the thigh. Its extreme
motion does not exceed 45 degrees.

16. When the shoulders are quiescent, the clavicles usually meet in an
angle of 110 degrees at the sternum.

17. The utmost elevation of the upper joint of the arm generally forms
an angle of 155 degrees with the vertebræ, and about 125 degrees with
the line of its clavicle. The flexion of the fore-arm upon its upper
part is confined to an angle of nearly 40 degrees.

18. The whole arm is capable of moving forward or outward through
nearly 80 degrees, and backward to nearly the same angle with its
perpendicular station.

19. The actions of pronation and supination in the hand, range through
all intermediate degrees from a horizontal or perpendicular direction
to 270 degrees; but 90 degrees of its rotary motion in pronation comes
from the shoulder joint.

20. The palm of the hand admits of flexion and extension to 65 degrees
in each direction; its lateral motions are 35 outward, and 30 inward.
The flexion of the fingers at each phalanx is a right angle.

But it must be observed that in drawing the joints, very considerable
difference is found in their length, from inequality of action. The
elbow joint, when bent inward, lengthens the arm nearly one eighth; the
same general law operates on the knees, fingers, &c. When a man is at
rest, and standing on both feet, a line drawn perpendicularly between
the clavicles will fall central between his feet. Should he stand on
one foot, it falls upon the heel of that foot which supports his weight.

If he raises one arm, it will throw as much of his body on the other
side as nature requires to support the equilibrium. One of his legs
thrown back brings the breast forward, to preserve the gravity of the
figure: the same will be observed in all other motions of the parts to
keep the central gravitation in its proper place.

The equipoise of a figure is of two sorts: simple, when its action
relates to itself; and compound, when it refers to a second object.

The equilibrium of nature is constantly preserved; for in walking,
leaping, running, &c., similar precautions are taken. By the
flexibility of our bodies in striking, according to the proportionate
force meant to be employed, the body is first drawn back, then the limb
propelled forward, bringing with it the weight of the body.

In striking, lifting, throwing, &c., a greater proportion of force is
employed than may be necessary to effect the intended purpose. This is
mentioned because, in representation, the force employed in an action
should be marked in the muscle producing that action; if it be marked
rather stronger than may be necessary, the cause is obvious, for Nature
so employs her powers.

In studying this art, students should have selected for them the best
examples to copy from at first; then they should draw from the figure
as soon as possible, and if it be possible from the best specimens
of the antique. Their first drawings are recommended to be made with
chalk, and in large proportion; attention to these will communicate
ease and freedom to their future performances.

It will be likewise found necessary for them to draw upon geometrical
principles; this communicates a truth, which greatly adds to their
certainty and confidence, and ultimately to their ease.

This is mentioned, because it will be found that there is no portion
of the human frame, quiescent, or in an active state, but what is
susceptible of geometrical definition.

Experience and exercise communicate truths which produce certainty,
whence come ease and grace.


This is a science most beneficial to humanity. It is very evident that
it must have an extremely ancient origin. The origin of this art is
presumed to have been imitated by man, from those natural caves and
recesses, which are discovered in various parts of the earth. For in
those, it is reported, the first men took shelter from the inclemency
of elemental strife, and to avoid the piercing contingencies of
ultimate and precarious uncertainty. The oldest buildings in the world
are accordingly said to be beneath the surface of the earth; among
which are reckoned the famous temple of Elephanta, in the Delta of the
Ganges; the Catacombs, in Egypt; and upon the surface of the earth, the
tower of Belus, at Babylon; the Egyptian Mausoleum, and the Druidical
Temples in Gaul and Britain.

Architecture may well be denominated one of those arts which
accommodate, delight, and give consequence to the human species;
while at the same time it is calculated to flatter pride, and gratify
vanity. If viewed in its full extent, it may be truly said to possess
a very considerable portion, not only of the comforts, but the
conveniences, the positive utilities, and many of the luxuries of life.
The advantages derived from _houses_ only are very great, being the
first step towards civilization, having great influence both on the
body and mind of man. Secluded from each other in woods, caves, and
wretched huts, the inhabitants of such recesses are generally found to
be men, indolent, dull, inactive, and abject; their faculties benumbed,
their views limited to the gratification of their individual and
most pressing wants. But when societies are formed, and commodious
dwellings provided, where well sheltered, they may breathe a temperate
air, amid summer’s scorching heat, and winter’s biting cold; sleep,
when Nature requires, in ease and security; study unmolested; converse
and taste the sweets of social enjoyments;--they are spirited, active,
ingenious, and enterprising, vigorous in body, and active in mind.
If benefits like these previously enumerated result from any art,
then will that of the architect claim a decided pre-eminence. When we
reflect on the almost infinity of useful purposes to which this art is
conducive;--that it erects us temples for the worship of our Creator,
the benevolent dispenser of all good things, that it provides us with
habitations, where ease and simplicity are agreeably combined;--that
it is conducive to our safety, comfort, and convenience, in uniting
different districts of the country by the facility of bridges, roads,
&c., is contributive to the gratification of our natural wants, and to
our safety.

As inhabitants of a great commercial country, the benefits we derive
from _naval_ architecture are unspeakably great; when we reflect that
it operates as a medium of communication between us, an insulated
people, and the whole earth, in its remotest colonies; that it serves
to convey between our people and the most distant nations the native
produce of the respective countries, with the effects of mutual
industry; that it clothes, feeds, and furnishes employment to thousands
of our fellow-countrymen; and, in a national point of view, our wooden
bulwarks have been the wonder of the world, and continues to afford
us protection from our enemies, should all other hopes fail. What can
surpass its utility in the latter point of view? what can exceed the
assistance derived from it? By the criterions formerly mentioned let
us determine. We shall find, that of all the arts the world has ever
boasted, there are but few, if any, that can claim a superiority.

There are no other designs, whether necessary or superfluous, so
certainly productive of their desired object, so beneficial in
consequences, or so permanent in their effects, as is the art of the
architect. Most other inventions which afford pleasure and satisfaction
soon decay; their fashion fluctuates--their value is lost; but the
productions of architecture command general attention, and are lasting
monuments, beyond the reach of ephemeral modes: they proclaim to
distant ages the consequence, genius, virtues, achievements, and
munificence of those they commemorate to the latest posterity. The
most obvious and immediate advantages of building are, the employment
of numerous ingenious artificers, industrious workmen, and labourers
of all kinds; converting materials of small value into the most noble
productions, beautifying countries, multiplying the comforts and
conveniences of life.

But not the least desirable effects of the architect’s art, perhaps,
remain yet to be noticed, in affording to the numerous train of
arts and manufactures, concerned to furnish and adorn the works of
architecture, which employ thousands, constituting many valuable
branches of commerce. Also from that certain concourse of strangers to
every country celebrated for stately structures, who extend your fame
into other countries, where otherwise, it would never have been heard
of; adopt your fashions, give reputation, and create a demand for your
productions in foreign parts; these are circumstances which certainly
should not be too lightly valued, and these circumstances result from

At this day, the ruins of ancient Rome support the splendour of the
modern city, by inviting travellers, who flock, from all nations,
to witness those majestic remains of former grandeur. The same may
be said of many other countries famous for architectural remains.
Thus architecture, by supplying men with commodious habitations,
procures that health of body and energy of mind, which facilitates the
invention of arts: when by the exertion of their skill and industry,
productions multiply beyond domestic demand, she furnishes the means of
transporting them to foreign markets: whenever by commerce they acquire
wealth, she points the way to employ their riches rationally, nobly,
and benevolently, in methods honourable and useful to themselves, and
beneficial to posterity, which add splendour to the state, and yield
benefit to their descendants. She further teaches them to defend her
possessions, to secure their liberties and lives from attempts of
lawless violence or unrestrained ambition. So variously conducive to
human happiness is this art, to the wealth and safety of nations,--so,
naturally, does it demand that protection and encouragement which has
ever been yielded it in all well governed states.

The perfection of virtuous other arts we have beheld to be a
consequence of this; for when building is encouraged, painting,
sculpture, and every species of decorative art will flourish of
course. It should not, however, be imagined that the heaping of stone
upon stone can be of consequence, or reflect honour on individuals
or nations. The practice of architecture infers actual art to be an
essential preliminary; without this, and having some laudable end in
view, it is apt to raise disgust. This art is generally classed under
three distinct heads, viz., Civil, Military, and Naval Architecture.

In the first attempts of architecture it was extremely rude, as
might naturally be expected. It has, however, from time to time, as
improvements have advanced, been raised to relative importance, as the
education of the people progressed; and it certainly gives the best
record of the mental progress of every people which can be collected.
It has always been found to flourish best in free states, and when
the rulers have possessed genius, virtue, and good taste. The most
eminent era of Grecian architecture was when the Athenian republic was
under the direction of Pericles; at this period, also, existed the
first of statuaries, Praxiteles. Where that eminent artist and their
admirable architects were employed, in the words of Pausanius, “they
rendered the whole of Acropolis as an entire ornament.” There are
various characteristic distinctions to be made in the several orders of
architecture which distinguish the Grecian people. The Doric is eminent
for primeval simplicity; the Tuscan embraces more ornament; the Ionic
unites simplicity and elegance; but the sum of all excellence appears
to be united in the Corinthian. The Composite is also a most elegant
order, but appears to have added but little to the Corinthian elegance
and majesty. Various nations have a great diversity of architecture;
as the Egyptian, Persian (distinguished by human figures supporting
entablatures), Hindostanee, Arabasque or Marisquo, which are very
peculiar, generally having the walls to project most at the top, which
is indicative of the natural jealousy of all oriental people; they all
regarding their _women_ as their chief treasure, it appears meant for
their especial protection.

A greater simplicity does not appear anywhere than in the architecture
of the Druids, consisting of most extensive circles of immense stones,
chiefly raised perpendicularly, with occasionally a larger stone placed
upon the apex of two others horizontally.--There are in Great Britain
numerous remains of these constructions: the chief are Stonehenge, near
Salisbury; at Avebury, also in Wiltshire; Pomonca, in the Orkneys;
Rollright, in Oxfordshire. But the most eminent spot for Druid temples
was Mona, in Anglesea, in Wales. The reason for such apparently
unmeaning erections will be found in their peculiar belief, in the
religion they professed.

The Saxon is a very heavy order of architecture. It was used in this
kingdom much in the erection of religious edifices, and is frequently
found mixed with the Norman in such structures. The grand and most
obvious distinction is a semi-circular arch, with massy columns,
variously ornamented, and most frequently the columns which support the
same arch are diversely sculptured. The chief sculptures of this kind
in Britain, are Gloucester Cathedral; Malmesbury Abbey, Wilts; Sedbury
Church, Herefordshire; several churches in Rutland, Lincoln, Somerset,
Devon, and other counties.

There appears to us to be no order of architecture better calculated
for the purpose to which it is generally adopted, than the chaste and
pure Norman style, barbarously denominated Gothic. It affords a great
variety of light, airy beauty, and tasteful grandeur.

In this country, the Norman order succeeded the Saxon, and we lost
nothing by the exchange; for even now, that we have the entire benefit
of a choice of the purest Grecian (since its revival by Inigo Jones),
it is a matter of taste to be certain; but in our estimation, the
chaste Norman is to be preferred to the purest Grecian, for the
purposes for which it is intended; and if the means answer the ultimate
end, we submit this to be the proper criterion for preference. We find
it usually employed in religious edifices; it is pure, light, airy,
and cheerful: and we are of opinion that the service of gratitude
and thanks to the Creator demands a disposition of mind which these
feelings are best calculated to inspire.

Domestic architecture is various, and chiefly regulated by the various
purposes for which it is designed. Its characteristic is utility.


(See Frontispiece.)

It appears, from a description of bridges of suspension, communicated
by R. Stephenson, civil engineer, some time ago, to the “Philosophical
Journal,” that the first chain-bridge constructed in this country is
believed to be one over the Tees, forming a communication between the
counties of Durham and York. It is supposed, on good authority, to
have been erected about 1741, and is described in the “Antiquities
of Durham” as “a bridge suspended on iron chains, stretched from
rock to rock, over a chasm nearly sixty feet deep, for the passage
of travellers, particularly miners. This bridge is seventy feet in
length, and little more than two feet broad, with a hand-rail on one
side, and planked in such a manner that the traveller experiences all
the tremulous motion of the chain, and sees himself suspended over
a roaring gulf, on an agitated and restless gangway, to which few
strangers dare trust themselves.” In 1816-17, two or three bridges of
iron were constructed; the first, by Mr. Lees, an extensive woollen
manufacturer, at Galashiels, in Scotland. This experiment, although
made with slender wire, and necessarily imperfect in its construction,
deserves to be noticed, as affording a practical example of the
tenacity of iron so applied.--These wire bridges were suspended not
upon the catemarian principle so successfully adopted in the larger
works subsequently undertaken, but by means of diagonal braces,
radiating from their points of suspension on either side towards the
centre of the roadway. The unfortunate fabric next mentioned was
constructed on this defective principle. Among the earliest practical
exhibitions of this novel architecture in the United Kingdom, may be
mentioned the uncommonly elegant and light chain-bridge which was
thrown over the Tweed at Dryburgh, in 1817, by the Earl of Buchan, for
the accommodation of foot passengers. Its length, between the points
of suspension, was two hundred and sixty-one feet, being considered
the greatest span of any bridge in the kingdom. This useful structure,
the theme of such just applause, and which harmonised so finely with
the far-famed scenery of Dryburgh Abbey, was entirely destroyed by a
tremendous gale of wind, at the beginning of the year following its
erection.--This bridge was subsequently restored upon a more secure


The invention of clocks, such as are now in use, is ascribed to
Pacificus, Archdeacon of Verona, who died in 846; but they were not
known in England before the year 1368. They were ultimately improved by
the application of pendulums, in 1657, by Huygens, a Dutch astronomer
and mathematician. Although Dr. Beckmann differs in some slight degree
from the previous relation concerning clocks, yet he says, “It is
sufficiently apparent that clocks, moved by wheels and weights, began
certainly to be used in the monasteries of Europe, about the eleventh
century.” He does not think, however, that Europe has a claim to the
honour of the invention, but that it is rather to be ascribed to the
Saracens; this conjecture, he confesses, is chiefly supported by what
Trithemius tells us, of one which was sent by the Sultan of Egypt to
Frederick II., in 1232. He thinks that the writers of that century
speak of clocks as though they had been then well known; he adds, that
in the fourteenth century, mention is made of the machine of Richard de
Wallingford, which has hitherto been considered as the oldest clock
known. The fabricator of this machine called it _Albion_.

It appears that clocks had been hitherto shut up in monasteries and
other religious houses, and that it was not till after this time
they were employed for more general purposes, as the convenience of
cities, &c. The first instance on record, that has been yet noticed,
occurs where Herbert, Prince of Carrara, caused the first clock that
was ever publicly exposed, to be erected at Padua. It was erected by
John Dondi, whose family afterwards, in consequence, had the pronomen
of Horologia assigned them, in remembrance of this circumstance: it
is also mentioned on the tombstone of the artist. The family of Dondi
now followed the profession of manufacturing clocks; for his son, John
Dondi, constructed one upon improved principles.

The first clock at Bologna was put up in the year 1356. Some time after
the year 1364, Charles V., surnamed the Wise, King of France, caused a
clock to be placed in the tower of his palace, by Henry de Wyck, whom
he had invited from Germany for the purpose, because there was then at
Paris no artist of that kind, and to whom he assigned a salary of six
sols per diem, with free lodgings in the Tower. Towards the end of that
century, probably about the year 1370, Strasburg had a clock. About
the same period, Courtray was celebrated for its clock, which the Duke
of Burgundy carried away, A. D. 1382. A public clock was erected in
the Altburg gate at Spire, in 1395, the works of which cost fifty-one

The greater part of the principal cities of Europe, however, at this
period, had clocks without striking. Clocks could not be procured but
at a very great expense: of this, an instance occurred in the city of
Auxerre, in the year 1483, when the magistrates being desirous of a
clock, but discovering that it would cost more money than they thought
themselves justified in expending on their own authority, applied to
the Emperor Charles VIII. for leave to employ a portion of the public
funds for that purpose.

In 1462, a public clock was put up in the church of the Virgin Mary at

At Venice a public clock was put in the year 1497. In the same century
an excellent clock was put up for Cosmo de Medici, by Lorenzo, a

Having thus mentioned their origin in various places, until they came
to ornament the religious houses, the palaces of kings, and the chief
European cities, it now remains for us to take some notice of their
existence in our own country for public use. From public documents
still extant, it appears that so great was their expense considered in
those early times of their introduction, that it was only the powerful
and the rich who could procure them. We discover that the first clock
for public and lay purposes in England was one erected on the north
side of Old Palace Yard, Westminster, on which was this inscription,
_Discite justitiam moniti_; which inscription is said to have been
preserved many years after the clock-house had been decayed.

It is asserted that this clock was placed in that situation, for the
purpose of being heard by the members of the courts of law; and the
occasion which produced its existence is thus recorded. It was the
produce of a fine levied upon the lord chief justice of the court of
King’s Bench, in the reign of Edward I. A. D. 1288, of whom it appears
by a book called the “Year-Book,” that this magistrate had been fined
800 marks for making an alteration in a record, wherein a defendant had
been fined 13_s._ 4_d._, and he, the chief justice, made it appear to
be 6_s._ 8_d._ instead of that, the larger sum.

Notoriety, however, was attached to this transaction from the following
circumstances. First, it appears to have been one of three questions
put by Richard III. to his judges, with whom he was closeted in the
Inner Star Chamber, to take their opinions on three points of law. The
second question was, “Whether a justice of the peace, who had enrolled
an indictment which had been negatived by the grand jury, among the
true bills, might be punished for the abuse of his office?” On this
question a diversity of opinion arose among the judges, some of whom
supposed a magistrate could not be prosecuted for what he might have
done; whilst others contended that he might, and cited the case of
the lord chief justice above mentioned: so far was the answer of the
judges strictly proper and historically true. The third circumstance
to which we have alluded, and which is most material to our present
question, is the application of the fine. It appears that it was
expended in the construction of a clock, which was erected on the north
side of Old Palace Yard; so that the judges, barristers, and students
could not enter or leave the court, without having an opportunity of
being reminded of the punishment of the chief justice, for presuming
to violate the impartial duty of his high office; nor could they even
hear it strike, whilst upon the throne of justice, without having his
case repeated in their ears; thereby acting as a constant remembrancer,
intimating they were to administer justice more than mercy.

Sir Edward Coke observes that 800 marks were actually entered upon the
roll, so that it is extremely probable he had himself seen the record.

This clock was considered so important during the reign of Henry VI.,
that we find that the king gave the charge of keeping it, with its
appurtenances, to William Warley, dean of St. Stephen’s, with the pay
of sixpence per diem, to be received at the exchequer.

The clock of St. Mary’s, Oxford, was also furnished in 1523, out of
fines imposed upon the students of that university.

With respect to the clock procured from the fine of the lord chief
justice, we must also observe that its motto appears to relate to that
circumstance; but though it might be said that it might relate to a
dial as well as to a clock--a material observation to our present
inquiry--yet, with respect to its present absence, it should be
noticed, that it is probable that clock was a very indifferent one,
but from its antiquity and the tradition attending it, was permitted
to remain till the time of Elizabeth; then being quite decayed, a dial
might have been substituted upon the same clock-house, bearing the very
singular motto which, however originally applied, clearly alludes to
such a circumstance as reported of the lord chief justice. This dial is
placed on the very site where the clock-house stood.

But it is said by Derham, in his “Artificial Clockmaker,” that the
oldest clock in this kingdom is in Hampton Court Palace, marked with
the letters N. O., presumed to have been the initials of the maker’s
name, of the date of 1540; but that author is evidently mistaken, in
alleging that to be the oldest, because the Oxford clock bears a date
seventeen years anterior to that period. With respect to the initials,
or whatever they may be, we do not consider them of the smallest

From Shakspeare’s “Othello” it is proved that the ancient name of this
instrument was Horologe; which various passages in our poets and old
authors establish:--

   “He’ll watch the horologe a double set,
    If drink rock not his cradle.”

Chaucer also says of a cock,

   “Full sickerer was his crowing in his loge,
    As is a clock, or any abbey _orloge_;”

which tends to show that, in his time, clocks had been confined to
religious houses.

So Lydgate’s prologue to the story of Thebes:--

   “I will myself be your orologere
    To-morrow early.”

With respect to our modern clocks, it would be presumption in us to
say one word, as there is not an individual but knows as much about
them, as we could tell him. We have fulfilled our intention in giving
this historical account, which we are persuaded will afford some
information. We will now proceed to


Which are not of so great antiquity; as it is only about 1490, mention
is made of watches, which first occurs in the Italian poems of Gaspar
Visconti. Dominico Maria Manni says the inventor was Lorenzo a
Vulparia, a native of Florence.

One might naturally be inclined to believe that the honour of original
invention is duly demanded by the whole Germanic people, from the claim
of the invention of watches being aspired to by the Nurembergians;
as Doppelenayer gravely alleges they were first invented by a person
residing in that city, in the sixteenth century, of the name of Peter
Hale; and, perhaps, he has no better foundation for his conjecture,
than that watches were at first of an oval shape, and were called
Nuremberg eggs.

Shakspeare, in his “Twelfth Night,” speaking of a _watch_, has the
following expression, used by Malvolio: “I frown the while; and
perchance wind up my watch, or play with some rich jewel.” Also, the
Priest, in answer to Olivia,

   “Since when, my _watch_ hath told me, toward my grave
    I have travelled but two hours.”

The following observations appear to sanction our opinion of the
early existence of those machines in this country. Dr. Derham, in his
“Artificial Clockmaker,” published in 1714, mentions a watch of Henry
VIII., which at the period he wrote was in good order. Indeed, Dr.
Demainbray says that he had heard Sir Isaac Newton and Demoire both
speak of that watch.

An anecdote is related of the Emperor Charles V., contemporary with
Henry VIII., which it appears has reference to the policy of Europe
at that day. It is said, the emperor, after dinner, used to sit with
several watches on the table, with his bottle in the centre. After the
prince’s retirement to the abbey of St. Just, he still continued to
amuse himself with keeping them in order. From his inability to effect
this correctly, it is reported he drew the rational reflection, _that
it was impossible to effect what he had attempted--the regulation of
the policy of Europe_.

It also appears that many watches of that day struck the hours. The
“Memoirs of Literature” report that such watches having been stolen
from Charles V. and Louis XI. whilst they were in a crowd, the thieves
were detected from their striking.

It also appears from the evidence of certain watches of ancient
construction formerly held by Sir Ashton Lever, and also by Mr. Ingham
Forster, that _catgut_ usually supplied the place of a chain in ancient
watches; also that they were of a smaller size than now made, and
generally of an oval form.

Imperfections of this nature, and probably other causes, might have
rendered their truth uncertain, and this most probably precluded
their general use, until the latter end of the reign of Elizabeth.
The instances we have shown will prove they were generally known, and
perhaps used at the time of Shakspeare writing the “Twelfth Night.” And
in the first edition of Harrington’s “Orlando Furioso,” published in
1591, the frontispiece represents the author with what appears to be
a watch, although the engraving is extremely indistinct; moreover, the
inscription to which engraving, of _Il Tempo passo_, clearly indicates
the same thing.

Charles I., in 1631, incorporated the clockmakers company, and by
charter, which prohibits clocks, watches, and alarums from being
imported; which circumstance proves, that the English at this period,
had no need of the aid of foreign ingenuity in this branch of mechanism.

We are told that Guy Fawkes and Percy were detected in the third year
of James I., with a watch about them, which they had purchased, “to
try conclusions for the long and short burning of the touchwood,” (in
the words of the time) which was prepared to give fire to the train of

The most material improvement introduced in this branch of mechanical
knowledge took place in the addition of pendulums, by Huygens, as
applied to clocks; for which conception he was indebted to Galileo,
which that philosopher adopted for measuring time, he having taken
the idea from observing the vibrations of a lamp in a church. This
reign also boasts of the production of repeating-watches in England;
first fabricated under the direction of the celebrated Dr. Hook, and
manufactured by Tompion.

An anecdote is related of the attention paid to watches by James II.,
recorded by Derham, in the “Artificial Clockmaker:” One Barlow had
procured a patent, in conjunction with the lord chief justice Allebone,
for repeaters; but a person of the name of Quare making one at the same
time, upon principles he had entertained before the patent was granted
to Barlow, the king tried both in person, and gave the preference to
Quare’s, and caused it to be notified in the gazette.

In the next reign, the reputation of British watchmakers had increased
so much, that an act was passed by parliament, enacting that
British-made watches should be marked with the maker’s name, in order
to preserve the reputation of this branch of British manufacture from
coming to discredit in foreign markets.

Thus we have given a general outline of the history of this branch of
mechanics, for a period of nearly a thousand years, from the first
invention of clocks by Pacificus of Verona, in 846, to the beginning of
last century, since which period they have become an article of such
general use to require no comment from us. We have noticed the various
improvements in the order in which they occurred, among which the
most striking feature appears to be the addition of the pendulums, as
serving to regulate the motion of the machine; from its given length,
certain weight and uniform vibration, it must be conceived to have
been a happy thought in Galileo, for the admeasurement of time, and
its application to this branch of mechanics was no less fortunate in
Huygens. To discover the first invention of time, we will require to
look back for upwards of two thousand years, at which period we will


These are called Clepsydræ. Vitruvius, the Roman architect and
mechanist, attributes the invention of the water-clock to Ctesibus of
Alexandria, who flourished in the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes, about
two hundred and forty-five years before the Christian era. The same
author says, the machine was first introduced at Rome, two hundred and
fifty seven years previous to the Christian era. There is reason to
believe it was first introduced at Rome into courts of justice, from
Greece, as it had been originally used in Greece for this purpose; the
Roman orators being guided in the time they occupied the court, by this
instrument, as we may learn from this expression of Cicero, “_Latrare
ad clepsydram_.” Cicero also informs us, that it was first introduced
into courts of justice, in the third consulate of Pompey.

It has been discovered that the inventions of Egypt, Chaldea, and
other Oriental countries constantly travelled to Rome and the West.
Long since the respective periods previously mentioned, has the honour
of this invention been claimed by Burgundians, Bolognese, and other
Italians; sometimes by Frenchmen, but chiefly by Germans.

Their claim for invention seems to be questionable in numerous
instances, whatever it may be for improvement; they certainly cannot,
consistently with what we have stated, be considered as the _first_
inventors; although there is nothing to be alleged against these
respective people being the discoverers of designs which had a previous
existence unknown to them.

With equal or much more propriety might the Arabians, in point of time
(could that be of consequence) be considered as inventors of this
machine; and they are well known to possess the least claim to original
invention of any people. They, however, have a merit, notwithstanding:
but it is of a negative kind; for those arts, sciences, &c. which were
(by chance) saved from the destruction of their bigoted ignorance, and
which, when the fortune of war had thrown into their hands those pure
designs of intellectual Greece, mere accident had wrested from their
zealous fury. These they transmitted to a more ingenious people as pure
as they had received them; but upon precisely as good grounds as the
before-named Europeans claimed this _original_ invention, might the
Arabians have assumed that honour. For we read that Haroun al Raschid,
Caliph of Bagdad, then the chief of the Saracen empire, sent as a
present to Charlemagne, a clock of curious workmanship, which was put
into motion by a clepsydra; which instrument is said, by Dr. Adams,
“to have been used by the ancients to measure time by water running out
of a vessel.”

It consists of a cylinder divided into small cells, and suspended by
a thread fixed to its axis in a frame, on which the hour distances,
found by trial, are marked out. As the water flows from one cell into
another, it changes slowly the centre of gravity of the cylinder, and
puts it in motion.

The form of this instrument is thus described by Dr. Beckmann:--

“The most common kinds of these water-clocks, however, correspond in
this, that the water issued drop by drop through a hole of the vessel,
and fell into another, in which a light body, that floated, marked the
height of the water as it rose, and by these means the time that had

The most improved form the same instrument has acquired, is thus
described, by the same author, from one in his own possession.

“Amongst the newest improvements added to this machine may be reckoned
an alarum, which consists of a bell and small wheels, like that of a
clock that strikes the hours, screwed to the top of the frame in which
the cylinder is suspended. The axis of the cylinder, at the hour when
one is desirous of being awakened, pushes down a small crank, which, by
letting fall a weight, puts the alarum in motion. A dial plate with a
handle is also placed over the frame.”

In respect to the invention of clepsydræ, we should think the original
inventor took his first idea from the use of an instrument common in
Egypt, which that people called a _Canob_, or Nilometer, being a large
stone vessel of the shape of a sarcophagus, into which water was daily
poured, by proper officers, during the increase of the Nile, to show
the people whether they had a prospect of plenty, or were to expect a
scarcity in the ensuing year. As the fall of the water, after it had
risen to a due height, was of equal importance to them; so the water
was suffered to run out proportionably to its decrease in the river,
being ascertained by just and equal marks which they generally well

_Vitrum horae_ had also been invented to describe the progress of time.
These were conical hour-glasses, in which were placed a portion of
sand; the glasses were joined together at the apex of the cone, with
a small aperture of communication between the two.--From the glass,
in which the sand is deposited, it dropped, grain by grain, into the
sand below, standing upon its flat basis. These machines are called
hour-glasses, and well known. We have been unable to discover any
account of the origin of this instrument; but, from its simplicity, it
admits of no improvement. It is also believed this had its origin in a


The necessity for human clothing must be so obvious, we should think,
at nearly the first existence of our race, that two opinions upon
that subject cannot exist. For, admitting the region where our first
parents were stationed was more genial to life than these, our northern
countries, yet the difference in temperature between the heat of
noon-day, and the chilly damps of night, must be obvious to every one
who has resided in, or has read of, tropical climates. Therefore, from
necessity, we contend, our first parents could not have dispensed with
the benefit of clothing. However, independent of the necessity of the
thing, the Jewish History informs us that the first man, Adam, and his
wife, in consequence of their unfortunate disobedience and positive
violation of the commands of their Divine Creator, knew of their own
nakedness; and, therefore, they were ashamed to answer to the sacred
summons. This they confessed, with a simplicity congenial to truth,
and in the same moment, frankly owned the cause; answering to the
awful interrogatory of “Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou
eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not
eat?”--“The woman, whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the
tree, and I did eat.” However, we are previously informed that, “the
eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and
they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

It should be observed, that the leaf of the Banyan, or Indian fig, is
probably here meant; if it is, the luxurious leaf of this tree is about
three feet long, and proportionably wide; therefore, we may rationally
conclude, much art was not required; probably a thorn might supply the
place of a needle, and a blade of grass would do for a thread.

Afterwards, we are told, in the same chapter,--“Unto Adam, also to his
wife, did the Lord Jehovah make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
The preceding is the earliest account of humanity; at the same time,
it also furnishes the most ancient relation of the original of human
clothing. From hieroglyphical inscriptions still extant, the most
ancient inhabitants of Egypt wore sometimes clothing made of feathers,
fastened together; sometimes of shells, also attached to each other;
but the most general ancient clothing consisted of the skins of various
animals. So is Hercules, and many of the heroes, clothed, in antique
statuary. Although the sacred history is silent on this head, we may,
perhaps, by inference, arrive at some clue or thread to guide us
through the labyrinth of uncertainty.

Accordingly we find in the first passages, which will admit of
constructive inference, that thread, of some sort, must, of necessity,
have had existence:--“And Ada bare Jubal: he was the father of such as
dwell in _tents_, and of such as have cattle.”--Gen. iv., 20. Now, we
submit, the inference of not only spinning, but also of weaving, and
even sewing, must be conceded, before we can conceive the existence of
tents. The cloth whereof they were made at that period, it is probable,
was of the fleece of sheep; because of the early existence of woollen
cloth among the Greeks, we have no doubt, from the following and
numerous other passages in their poets; and also from the practice of
Tyrian artisans, who were, we know, generally and confessedly eminent
for their dying the imperial purple, and other scarce, valuable,
and beautiful colours; and no substance better receives, or so well
retains the most splendid of colours than does wool. But Homer speaks
expressively in point, where, in his “Iliad,” he expresses the truce
which took place between the belligerent armies of Greeks and Trojans.
After the defeat of Paris by Menelaus, and where the laughter-loving
goddess, Venus, is said to have rescued her favourite from the fate he
deserved to find; after she had conveyed the recreant hero from the
field to his apartment, she then, like a true friend to matrimonial
infidelity, goes in search of the Spartan queen, for the purpose of
bringing the lovers together. She discovered the beautiful adultress
on the walls of the city, where she had been describing to Priam, and
his ancient nobles, the Trojan councillors, the various persons of the
heroes of Greece. Upon this occasion, Venus, to use the language of the
poet (as translated by Pope), assumes a disguise.

   “To her, beset by Trojan beauties, came,
    In borrowed form, the laughter-loving dame;
    She seemed an ancient maid, well skill’d to cull
    The snowy fleece, and wind the twisted wool.”

The labours of Penelope, Helena herself, and innumerable passages in
the works of the poet, all tend to confirm the fact.

That _linen_ had also an early existence is proved at a very anterior
period of the Jewish history. They had even fine linen previous to the
construction of the utensils used in sacred worship; as, in Exodus, an
ephod of linen is expressly mentioned; likewise in the xxvth chapter,
4th verse of that book, fine linen is expressly enumerated among those
presents that the people were expected to offer freely to the Lord
Jehovah. Whence we are justified in inferring they had most probably
learned in Egypt to carry its structure to great perfection.

We have linen mentioned likewise, in Homer, upon the breach of the
truce between the Grecians and Trojans with their auxiliary forces.
On Menelaus having been wounded by an arrow from the bow of Pandarus,
where the poet sweetly sings--

   “But thee, Atrides, in that dangerous hour,
    The gods forgot not, nor thy guardian power,
    Pallas assists, (and weakened in its force),
    Diverts the weapons from its destined course;
    So, from her babe, when slumber seals his eye,
    The watchful mother wafts the envenom’d fly.
    Just where his belt, with golden buckles join’d,
    Where LINEN folds the double corslet lin’d.
    She turn’d the shaft, which, hissing from above,
    Passed the broad belt, and through the corslet drove;
    The folds it pierc’d, the plaited LINEN tore
    And raz’d the skin, and drew the purple gore.”

From what appears in the subsequent, as well as the former, part of
this article, we submit, that the general manufacture of cloth, both
woollen and linen, has been established; and if this is made out, the
prior existence of the other subsidiary arts of spinning, weaving, &c.
cannot be denied.

There are hieroglyphical symbols in the British Museum, which denote
the various operations of the manufacture of cloths; and upon a
monument upwards of three thousand six hundred years old.

Numerous arts have been discovered by mere accident. We are told, the
very valuable operation of _feldt_making was discovered by a British
sovereign, whose feet being always cold in the winter, he had wool put
into his shoes; the moisture there contracted, the natural heat of the
body, with the action to which this wool was exposed, between the foot
and the shoe, caused the fleecy substance to consolidate; whence the
origin of that very necessary article, the _Hat_.


The invention to which this article refers, affords a warm subject for
panegyric. That clothing for the feet be warm, medical writers have
in all ages recommended, and truly upon the most rational as well as
philosophic and experimental practice; the feet, lying the most remote
of any member from the heart, require, and particularly by people in
years, to be kept warm, in order for their present comfort, as well
as to promote the essential evacuation of superfluous humours, by
perspiration, without which no frame can be healthy. So strongly is
this precept impressed in our national moral habits, that it has formed
a general maxim for the preservation of health. Even Thomas Parr is
said to have observed, upon being asked to what cause he attributed the
protraction of his life, “To keep the head cool by temperance, and the
feet warm by exercise, to eat only when hunger required satisfaction,
and to drink only when thirsty.” We should suppose that this recipe
would be at least worth a waggon load of the puffed quack pills which
are palmed upon the public as made from a recipe left by that venerable

The art of knitting nets is one of great antiquity, as those nets used
by the Hebrews, as well as by the Greeks, are conceived to be similar
to those used in the present day. It was thought by Ovid, in his sixth
“Metamorphosis,” that the public were indebted to the spider for the
origin of this ingenious invention; which would indeed seem probable,
as it appears that the insect is prompted to be thus ingenious for the
gratification of its natural wants, the web serving as a net or gin for
the capture of flies and other small insects which supply it with food.
And if our memory serve us, we recollect that the poet also, speaking
of flies, observes that the web of the spider serves to secure the
weak flies only, whilst the strong break it and escape; alluding to
the influence of wealth and power to pierce through those laws which
were made for the protection of the weak against the encroachments and
violence offered by the strong. The author of Job, in the eighteenth
chapter and ninth verse, mentions gins. However, in knitting stockings,
the operation, as well as the effect, is essentially different from
knitting nets. In the latter the twine is knotted into distinct meshes,
which are secured by knots; in the former, the entire substance is
produced without knots. To this distinction is to be ascribed the
reason why knit stockings may become unravelled. In the other species
the knots not only prevent the material being taken apart, but they
also render the nets sufficiently strong to prevent even vigorous fish
from escaping, yet being so capacious as to permit little fish to
escape with the water.

The art of knitting is not now, by any means, so general as it was
formerly. It then unquestionably rated among the number of female
accomplishments; and it is certainly rather wonderful, because when the
mechanism is once obtained, it requires no exertion of intellect to
practise it; it may be carried on while sitting, walking, and talking,
or in almost every situation to which ordinary life is called; and
when it is considered that its produce adds to the comfort of the
indigent, to the advantage of the poor,--and that to persons in easy
circumstances habitual industry increases their happiness, these
things considered, it is with wonder and regret we see it fallen into
disuse; particularly as it is an occupation suited to every age and
capacity, which the infant is strong enough to practise; and even in
the infirmity and weakness of age it is practicable. We certainly do
hope and trust these observations may invite the attention of those
meritorious individuals who have the direction and management of our
scholastic establishments, to revive the practice.

Fishing nets are also in use among the most barbarous nations of this
period, as various navigators have satisfactorily proved; frequently
made of rude materials, it is true--some of the bark of trees, and
others of the beards of whales, besides a variety of other articles
which the more refined inhabitants of civilised countries would never
think of using for such a purpose.

The art of making nets, or ornaments of fine yarn, is said not to be a
modern invention, it having been practised for hangings, and articles
of dress and ornament. In the middle ages, it appears, the clergy wore
netting of silk over their clerical robes. Professor Beckmann also
says, he suspects those transparent dresses were used by ladies more
than four hundred years ago, to cover those beauties they still wish to
be visible.

The invention for making coverings for the legs, of this manufacture,
is, we understand, of much later invention. It is well known that the
Romans and the ancient nations had no particular covering for their
legs. Indeed the necessity was not so urgent with the inhabitants of
warm climates, as with those in our northern regions, who, we find,
generally covered not only the feet, but the legs, thighs, and loins,
with the same garment. Such, there is reason to conclude, were the
trews, or trowsers, anciently worn by the Scotch, but not knit hose,
which the following lines, from an old song, will help to prove:

   “In days whan gude King Robert rang,
    His trews they cost but half a croun:
    He said they were a groat o’er dear,
    And ca’d the tailor thief and loun.”

A celebrated author on antiquities says, “It is probable the art of
knitting stockings was first found out in the sixteenth century; but
the time of the invention is doubtful.” He continues, “Savary appears
to have been the first person who hazarded a conjecture that this art
is a Scottish invention, because when the French stocking-knitters
became so numerous as to form a guild, they made choice of St. Fiacre,
a native of Scotland, to be their patron; and besides this, there is a
tradition, that the first knit stockings were brought to France from
that country.” This St. Fiacre, it appears, was the son of Eugenius,
said to have been a Scottish king in the seventh century; and Fiacre
lived as a hermit at Meaux, in France; in the Roman calendar, his name
is opposite to the 30th of August.

More probable, however, is the opinion in this country which
respectable writers support among them. We are informed by the author
of the “History of the World,” that Henry VIII., who reigned from 1509
to 1547, and who was fond of show and magnificence, at first wore
woollen stockings; till by a singular occurrence he received a pair of
silk knit stockings from Spain. His son Edward VI., who succeeded him
on the throne, obtained by means of his merchant, Thomas Gresham, a
pair of long Spanish knit silk stockings; this present was at that time
highly prized. Queen Elizabeth, in the third year of her reign, A. D.
1561, received by her silk-woman, named Montague, a pair of knit silk
stockings, and afterwards refused to wear any other kind.

Stowe also relates, in his “General Chronicle of England,” that
the Earl of Pembroke was the first nobleman who wore worsted knit
stockings. In the year 1564, William Ridor, an apprentice of master
Thomas Burdet, having accidentally seen, in the shop of an Italian
merchant, a pair of knit worsted stockings, procured from Mantua,
having borrowed them, made a pair exactly like them; these were the
first stockings that were knit in England, from woollen yarn. From this
it would appear, that knit stockings were first introduced into England
in the reign of Henry VIII., and that they were brought from Spain to
this country; and probability appears to favour the belief that they
were originally the produce of either that country or Italy. Should
this be the case, it has been conceived by Professor Beckmann, that
they came originally from Arabia to Spain.

The investigation with respect to the feigned productions of Rowley,
published by the unfortunate Thomas Chatterton, arose from the mention
of knitting, in a passage of those poems; it being contended that knit
hose were unknown in the days of Rowley. The passage alluded to occurs
in the tragedy of “Ella:”--

   “She sayde, as herr whytte hands whytte hosen were knyttinge,
    Whatte pleasure ytt ys to be married!”

A like ordeal took place with respect to Macpherson’s Ossian from a
similar reason, the mention of the sun’s reflection setting on a glass
window: now the existence of Ossian being contemporary with that of
Julius Cæsar, it was contended that at that period it was not customary
to glaze windows.

The Johnsonian faction set about that business in a very unsystematic
manner: they should have procured some well qualified Erse scholar to
have gone into those wilds where Macpherson declared he collected his
materials from oral traditionary recitals, and have heard the poems
themselves from the mouths of the aged inhabitants. If the traces of
them could not have been found, they might then have ascribed the
superior honour to Macpherson of writing a work that Greece, or Rome,
in the splendour of literary glory, never surpassed, for many poetical

The people of Scotland, in the beginning of the sixteenth century,
had, in the proper sense of the word, breeches; and wore a kind of
stockings, their hose coming only to the knees; their stockings were
made of linen or woollen, and breeches of hemp.

It is supposed that these particular articles of dress were also common
in England, at and after that time, for in the year 1510, Henry VIII.
appeared upon a public occasion, with his attendants, in dresses of the
following description:--“The king and some of the gentlemen had the
upper parts of their hosen, which was of blue and crimson, powdered
with castels and sheafes of arrows of fine ducket gold, and the nether
parts of scarlet, powdered with timbrels,” &c. There may be occasion
to suppose the upper parts of the hose were in separate pieces, as
they were of different colours. Hollinshed, also speaking of another
festival says, “The garments of six of them were of strange cuts, every
cut _knit_ with points of gold, and tassels of the same, their hosen
cut in and tied likewise.”

In A. D. 1530, the word _knit_ appears to have been quite common in
England, for John Palsgrave, a French master to the Princess Mary,
daughter of Henry VIII., published a grammar, in which he stated, that
this word in French was applied to the making of nets as well as of
caps and of stockings.

In the household book of a noble family in the reign of Henry VIII.,
kept during the life of Sir Thomas L’Estrange, Knight of Hunstanton,
Norfolk, by his Lady, Ann, daughter of Lord Vaux, there are the
following entries, whence the price of those articles at that period
are ascertained:--

1533. 25 H. 8. 7 Sept. Peyd for 4 peyr of knytt hose--viii _s._

1538. 30 H. 8. 3 Oct. ---- 2 peyr of knytt hose--i _s._

It is observed that the first four pairs were for Sir Thomas, and the
latter for his children.

Nevertheless, in the reign of Mary, i.e. 1558, many wore cloth hose, as
is evidenced in the following anecdote of Dr. Sands, who was afterwards
Archbishop of York. Being in the Tower, he had permission for a tailor
to come and take an order for a pair of hose. This serves to prove the
veracity of Stowe, that stockings were not an article manufactured in
England generally, we suppose, till six years afterwards. “Dr. Sands,
on his going to bed in Hurleston’s house, he had a paire of hose newlie
made, that were too long for him. For while he was in the Tower, a
tailor was admitted to make him a pair of hose. One came into him whose
name was Beniamin, dwelling in Birchin lane; he might not speak to him
or come to him to take measure of him, but onelie to look upon his
leg; he made the hose, and they were two inches too long. These hose
he praied the good wife of the house to send to some tailor to cut
his hose two inches shorter. The wife required the boy of the house
to carrie them to the next tailor, which was Beniamin that made them.
The boy required him to cut the hose. He said, ‘j am not the maister’s
tailor.’ Saith the boy, ‘Because ye are our next neighbour, and my
maister’s tailor dwelleth far off, j come to you.’ Beniamin took the
hose and looked upon them, he took his handle work in hand, and said,
‘These are not thy maister’s hose, but Doctor Sands, them j made in the

In a catalogue of the revenues of the Bishop of St. Asaph, it is
stated, “The bishop of that diocese was entitled, as a perquisite,
upon the death of any beneficed clergyman, to his best coat, jerkin,
doublet, and breeches. Item, his hose or nether stockings, shoes, and

About 1557, knitting must have become common, for Harrison, in his
description of the indigenous produce of this island, says, the bark
of the alder tree was used by the peasants’ wives for dying stockings
which they had knitted.

Hollinshed also informs us, that about 1579, when Queen Elizabeth was
at Norwich, “upon the stage there stood at one end eight small women
children spinning worsted yarn, and at the other end as many knitting
worsted yarn into hose.”

Silk stockings are said, in consequence of their high price, for a long
time to have been worn only upon grand occasions. Henry II. of France,
wore them for the first time, on the marriage of his sister with the
Duke of Savoy in the year 1559.

In the reign of Henry III. who ascended the throne in 1575, the consort
of Geoffroy Camus de Pontcarre, who held a high office in the state,
would not wear silk stockings given to her by a nurse who lived at
court, because she considered them to be too gay. Anno 1569, when the
privy-councillor Barthold von Mandelsoh, who had been envoy to many
diets and courts, appeared on a week-day with silk stockings, which
he had brought from Italy, the Margrave John of Austria said to him,
“Barthold, I have silk stockings also; but I wear them only on Sundays
and holidays.”

The knitting stockings with wires, called _weaving_, has been thought
to bear a resemblance to the wire work in screens of churches. However,
the invention of the stocking loom is thought more worthy of attention,
because it is alleged to have been the production of a single person,
and perfected at one trial; his name, and the exact period is
ascertained; and, because it is founded upon a similar incident to
that of the beauteous Corinthian maid, elsewhere mentioned, as the
introducer of painting in Greece; we bestow a particular attention
upon this incident which produced the stocking loom, trusting our fair
readers will favour us with their attention, when they are informed it
is ascribed to Love.

It is a complicated piece of machinery, consisting of no fewer than two
thousand pieces; it could not have been discovered accidentally, but
must have been the result of deep combination and profound sagacity.

Under the usurpation of Cromwell, the stocking-knitters of London
presented a petition, requesting permission to establish a guild. In
this petition they gave a circumstantial account of their profession,
of its rise, progress, and importance. No doubt can exist but that in
this document the petitioners rendered the best, and probably a true
account of the origin and progress of their trade, that of stocking
weaving being then scarcely fifty years old. The circumstances they
stated being then within memory, any misrepresentation would have
militated against them, and could have been easily contradicted. In
Deering’s account of Nottingham, this petition is found. In that town
the loom was first employed, where it has given wealth to many.

From this account it appears the inventor’s name was William Lee,
a native of Woodborough, a village about seven miles distant from
Nottingham, in which the following passage occurs: “Which trade is
properly styled frame work-knitting, because it is direct and absolute
knit-work in the stitches thereof, nothing different therein from
the common way of knitting, (not much more anciently for public use
practised in this nation than this,) but only in the number of needles,
at an instant working in this, more than in the other by a hundred for
one, set in an engine or frame composed of above two thousand pieces
of smith’s, joiner’s and turner’s work, after so artificial and exact
a manner that, by the judgment of all beholders, it far excels in the
ingenuity, curiosity, and subtility of the invention and contexture,
all other frames or instruments of manufacture in use in any known part
of the world.”

The inventor of this ingenious machine was heir to a considerable
freehold estate, and a graduate of St. John’s College, Cambridge.
Being, it is said, deeply enamoured of a lovely young country-girl,
who, during his frequent visits, paid more attention to her work, which
was knitting, than to her lover or his proposals, he endeavoured to
find out a machine which might facilitate and forward the operation
of knitting, and by these means afford more leisure to the object of
his affections to converse with him. Love, indeed, is confessed to be
fertile in inventions, and has been the efficient passion which has
perfected many inventions for which the gratitude of the world is due;
but a machine so complex, so wonderful in its effects, would seem to
require a longer time than was probably allowed, and a cooler judgment
than a lover’s to construct such mechanism. But even should the cause
appear problematical, there cannot exist a doubt but the real inventor
was Mr. William Lee, of Woodborough, in Nottinghamshire.

Deering says expressly, that Lee made the first stocking-loom in the
year 1589; this account has also been adopted by various English
writers. In the Stocking-weaver’s Hall, London, is an old painting, in
which Lee is represented pointing out his loom to a female knitter, who
is standing near him; and below is seen an inscription with the date
1589, the period of the invention. “The ingenious William Lee, Master
of Arts of St. John’s College, Cambridge, devised this profitable art
for stockings, (but being despised, went to France,) yet of iron to
himself, but to us and others of gold; in memory of whom this is here

Lee set up an establishment at Calverton, a village five miles from
Nottingham, but met with no success. In this situation he showed
his work to Queen Elizabeth; from that princess he requested some
assistance, his work having embarrassed rather than assisted him; but
instead of meeting with that remuneration to which his genius and
invention so well entitled him, he was discouraged and discountenanced.
It need not, therefore, excite surprise that Lee accepted the
invitation of Henry IV. of France, who having heard of the invention,
promised him a magnificent reward if he would carry it to France. He
took nine journeymen, and several looms to Rouen, where he worked with
much approbation; but the king being shortly after assassinated, and
internal commotions taking place, the concern got into difficulties,
and Lee died in poverty at Paris. A knowledge of the machine was
brought back to England by some of the workmen who had emigrated with
Lee, and who established themselves in Nottinghamshire, which still
continues the principal seat of the manufacture.

During the first century after the invention of the stocking-loom, few
improvements were made upon it, and two men were usually employed to
work one frame. But in the course of last century the machine was very
greatly improved. The late ingenious Mr. Jedediah Strut, of Belper,
Derbyshire, was the first individual who succeeded in adapting it to
the manufacture of _ribbed_ stockings. Estimating the population of
Great Britain, say sixteen millions, and the average annual expenditure
of each individual upon stockings and knit gloves at five shillings,
the total value of the manufacture will be £4,000,000, and we consider
this rather to be under than over the mark.

The effect of this invention was very late in making its appearance in
Scotland. Till far on in the eighteenth century, the use of knitted
stockings was universal. Mittens, or woollen gloves for the hands,
and boot-hose, for drawing over the legs in riding, were also quite
common, and all were wrought by the hand. The manufacture was carried
on solely by women, the wives and daughters of farmers, generally, and
the produce was sold as the means of bringing in a small revenue. The
introduction of the stocking-loom to Hawick, in 1771, and the change
of manners which took place about this period, soon put an end to
this traffic; but still the greater part of the stockings worn by the
country people on ordinary occasions are knitted at home. The art is
also still in use in Shetland, where knitting forms the only amusement
to relieve the tedium of a long winter, and where the articles produced
are exceedingly fine in the texture: the Shetland hose bring the
highest price of any woollen stocking.


Coach is said to be derived from _caroche_, Italian; a term first used
in the eleventh century, and invented to designate a military machine,
so called.

We intend the word coaches to stand for the generic name of all those
machines used for the carriage of persons, on business or pleasure,
(except, indeed, those for the conveyance of the dead,) from the state
carriage of the sovereign down to the humble gig. The original inventor
of this species of carriage is said to have been an Athenian monarch,
1489 years before Christ, who being afflicted with lameness in his
feet, first invented a coach for his convenience, and with a view to
conceal his debility. This may be regarded as the first original, of
the kind, of Grecian invention.

The ancient historian, Diodorus Siculus, makes mention of a carriage
in which Sesostris was wont to be drawn; and also, he says when he
entered the city, or went out to the sacrifice, had four of his captive
kings yoked to his chariot; but it is conjectured this carriage, to
which that historian alludes, was a warrior’s car. There is, most
assuredly, ample room to believe that this was the first species of
carriage which was introduced; if so, those existed long before the
Athenian king above-named; because all the Homeric heroes, Greeks as
well as Trojans, and their auxiliaries, rode in these machines, called
chariots, or warriors’ cars, which are also known to have existed long
antecedent to that period. We remain assured that war chariots were
used in the first ages of the world, by all the great monarchs who
possessed dominion.

That species of carriage before said to have been invented by the
Athenian monarch, we therefore presume, was a covered carriage, similar
to that species designated in the twelve tables of the Roman law,
and by them called _arcera_, which was said to be a carriage of the
last presumed description, and mentioned as being intended for the
conveyance of the infirm. To this species of carriage succeeded the
soft _lectica_. But we will leave this part of our subject, and proceed
towards our own times.

After the subversion of the Roman power, the northern sovereigns,
who had become the barbarous and ignorant oppressors of our species,
introduced and established, among other political regulations, the
feudal system, as it was called, by which all property in land was held
by certain fiefs, whereby the king, or, as termed, lord of the soil,
let certain portions of the land to his nobles, military officers,
and other great persons, generally often on condition of certain
services required to be performed, called knights’ service, and other
military tenures; by which custom those tenants of the sovereign had to
provide certain men and horses to serve him in his wars.--These first
tenants, or vassals, afterwards underlet those lands to villains, so
named, in contradistinction to the present recognised term, from their
living in villages or hamlets, and other tenants, from whom, in their
turn, similar services and certain provisions were required.--Thus
the European world, which had become the prey of effeminacy and
luxury, had, by this single important circumstance, their character so
radically changed, that, like the mysterious power of the Cadmæan wand
of Harlequin, wrought so uncommon a change in the morals of European
society, that those who had formerly kept carriages, and wallowed in
all the soft luxurious delicacy of Asiatic effeminacy, suddenly, or, at
least, progressively, became a society of hardy equestrian veterans.
Insomuch, that masters and servants, husbands and wives, clergy and
laity, all rode upon horses, mules, or asses, which latter animals
were chiefly used by women, monks, and other religious professors.
The minister rode to court; the horse, without a conductor, returned
to the stable, till a servant, regulated by the horologe, took him
back to the court for his master. In this manner, we are assured, the
magistrates of the imperial cities rode to council, till as late as the
beginning of the sixteenth century; so that in the year 1502, steps
to assist in mounting were erected by the Roman gate at Frankfort.
The members of the council who, at the diet and other occasions, were
employed as ambassadors, were, on this account, called _rittmeister_ in
the language of the country; at present the expression riding-servant
is preserved in some of the imperial cities. The entry of great lords
in public into any place, or their departure from it, was never in
a carriage, but always on horseback; in all the pontifical records,
speaking of ceremonials, no mention is made either of a state coach, or
body coachman, but of state horses and state mules. In the following
regulation, it is found that the horse which his Holiness rode “was
necessary to be of an iron-grey colour; not mettlesome, but a quiet,
tractable nag. That a stool of three steps should be provided for the
assistance of his Holiness in mounting: that the emperor, or kings, if
present, were obliged to hold his stirrup, and lead the horse.”

Bishops made their public entry, on induction, on horses or asses
richly caparisoned. At the coronation of the emperor, the electors and
principal officers of the empire were ordered to make their entry on
horseback.--It was formerly requisite, that those who received a fief,
or other investiture, should make their appearance on horseback. The
vassal was obliged to ride with two attendants to the court of his
lord, where, after he had dismounted his horse, he received his fief.

Covered carriages were again introduced in the beginning of the
sixteenth century, for the accommodation of women of the very first
rank; the men, however, thought it disgraceful to ride in them. At
that period, when the electors, and other Germanic princes, did not
choose to be present at the meeting of the States, they excused
themselves to the emperor, that their health would not permit them to
ride on horseback, which was considered as an _established point_,
that it was unbecoming to them to ride like women. What, according to
their prevailing ideas, was not permitted to princes, was much less
allowed to their servants. In A. D. 1554, when Count Wolf, of Barby,
was summoned by John Frederic, Elector of Saxony, to go to Spires, to
attend the convention of the States assembled there, he _requested
leave_, on account of ill health, to make use of a close carriage with
four horses. When the counts and nobility were invited to attend the
solemnity of the elector’s half brother, John Ernest, the invitation
was accompanied with a memorandum, that such dresses of ceremony as
they might be desirous of taking with them, should be transported in a
small waggon;--which notice would have been unnecessary, had coaches
been generally used among those nobles. The use of covered carriages
was in fact, for a long time, prohibited even to women, the consorts
of princes. About the year 1545, the wife of a certain duke obtained
from him, with great difficulty, permission to use a covered carriage
in a journey to the baths, in which permission there was this express
stipulation, that none of her attendants were to be permitted this
indulgence: though much pomp was displayed upon the occasion by the
duchess. Such is the influence of example in our superiors, who can
mould dependents and inferiors to whatever shape they please.

Notwithstanding all these ceremonious regulations, about the end of the
fifteenth century, kings and princes began to employ covered carriages
in journeys, and afterwards on public solemnities. When Richard II.,
towards the close of the fourteenth century, was compelled to fly
from his rebellious subjects, himself with all his followers, were on
horseback; but his mother, who was weak and sick, rode in a carriage.
But this became afterwards unfashionable here, for that monarch’s
queen, Anna, daughter of the King of Bohemia, showed the English
ladies how gracefully she could ride on a side-saddle; and therefore
whirlicotes (the ancient name for coaches in England), and chariots,
were disused in England, except on coronations and other public

In the year 1471, after the battle of Tewkesbury, which decided the
fate of Henry VI., and that of the house of Lancaster, when others flew
in different directions, the queen was found in her coach, almost dead
with sorrow.

In 1474, the Emperor Frederic III. came to Frankfort in a close
carriage; and as he remained in it on account of the wetness of the
weather, the inhabitants had no occasion to support the canopy which
was to have been held over him, while he went to the council house and
returned. In the following year, the same emperor visited that city in
a very magnificent carriage. In 1487, on occasion of the celebration of
the feast of St. George at Windsor, the third year of Henry VII., the
queen and king went in a rich chaise; they were attended by twenty-one
ladies. In the description of the splendid tournament held by the
Elector of Brandenburg, at Ruppin, in 1509, Beckmann says, he reads of
a carriage all gilt, which belonged to the Electress; of twelve other
coaches, ornamented with crimson; and of another, belonging to the
Duchess of Mecklenburgh, which was hung with red satin.

In the Northumberland household book, about this period, is an order of
the duke for the chapel stuff to be sent before in my lord’s chariot.

At the coronation of the Emperor Maximilian, 1562, the Elector of
Cologne had twelve carriages. In 1594, when John Sigismund did homage
at Warsaw, for Prussia, he had in his train thirty-six coaches, with
six horses each. Count Kevenhiller, speaking of the marriage of
Ferdinand II. with a princess of Bavaria, says, “The bride rode with
her sisters in a splendid carriage studded with gold; her maids of
honour in carriages hung with black satin, and the rest of the ladies
in neat leather carriages.”

Mary, Infanta of Spain, spouse of Ferdinand III., rode, in 1631,
in a glass carriage, in which no more than two persons could sit.
The wedding carriage of the first wife of the Emperor Leopold, who
was a Spanish princess, cost, with the harness, 38,000 florins. The
coaches used by that emperor are thus described:--“In the imperial
coaches no great magnificence was to be seen; they were covered over
with red cloth and black nails. The harness was black, and in the
whole work there was no gold. The panels were of glass, and on that
account they were called the imperial glass coaches. On festivals the
harness was ornamented with red silk fringes. The imperial coaches
were distinguished only by their having leather traces; but the ladies
in the imperial suite were obliged to be content to be conveyed in
carriages, the traces of which were made of ropes.” At the magnificent
court of Ernest Augustus, at Hanover, there were in 1681, fifty gilt
coaches, with six horses each. So early did Hanover begin to surpass
other cities in the number and splendour of its carriages.

The first time that coaches were introduced into Sweden was towards
the end of the sixteenth century, when John of Finland, among other
articles of luxury, brought one with him on his return from England.

Beckmann also informs us, that the great lords of Germany first
imagined that they could suppress the use of coaches by prohibitions.
There is still preserved an edict, in which the feudal nobility and
vassals are forbidden the use of coaches, under pain of incurring the
punishment of felony.

Philip II., Duke of Pomeranian-Stettin, reminded his vassals also,
in 1608, that they ought not to make so much use of carriages as of
horses. All these orders and admonitions, however, were of no avail,
and coaches became common all over Germany.

Persons of the first rank (ladies we presume), in France, frequently
sat behind their equerry, and the horse was often led by servants.
When Charles VI., wished to see, _incognito_, the entry of the queen,
he placed himself behind his master of the horse, with whom, however,
he was incommoded in the crowd. Private persons in France, physicians,
for instance, used no carriages in the fifteenth century. In Paris, at
all the palaces and public places, there were steps for mounting on

Carriages, notwithstanding, appear to have been used very early in
France, as appears by an ordinance issued in 1294, for suppressing
luxury, and in which the citizens were prohibited from using carriages.
About 1550, there were at Paris, for the first time, only three
coaches; one of which belonged to the queen; another to Diana of
Poictiers, the favourite mistress of two kings, Francis I. and Henry
II.; and the third to René de Laval, a corpulent nobleman, unable
to ride on horseback. Henry IV. was assassinated in a coach; but he
usually rode through the streets of Paris on horseback. For himself
and his queen he had only one coach, as appears by a letter which he
writes to a friend, which is still preserved: “I cannot _wait_ upon you
to-day, because my wife is using my carriage.”

Roubo, in his costly treatise on joiners’ work, has furnished three
figures of carriages used in the time of Henry IV., from drawings
preserved in the King’s Library: from them it is seen those coaches
were not suspended by straps, that they had a canopy supported by
ornamental pillars, and that the whole body was surrounded by curtains
of stuff or leather, which could be drawn up. The coach in which Louis
IV. made his public entrance about the middle of the seventeenth
century, appears from a drawing in the same library to have been a
suspended carriage.

Our national chronicler, John Stowe, says coaches were first known in
England about 1580; he likewise says, they were first brought from
Germany by the Earl of Arundel, in 1589. Anderson places the period
when coaches began to be used in common here about 1605. It is remarked
of the Duke of Buckingham, that he was the first who was drawn by six
horses, in 1619. To ridicule this pomp, the Earl of Northumberland put
eight horses to his carriage.

Things are altered now when we have carriages of every description--for
the high and low, the rich and the poor. Vis-a-vis,--an open carriage
chiefly constructed for the benefit of conversation, as its name
implies. Landau, landaulets, phætons, chaises, whiskeys, cabs,
fiacres, &c., &c., are but names adapted to different purposes, and
constructed nearly upon the same principles as coaches, but some of
them close, others open, some to be opened or shut according to the
weather, or taste of the passengers, and calculated to contain an
indefinite number, from two to six persons; nay, there are the jolly
good omnibuses running in every town and village in the kingdom, the
generality of which are constructed to carry twelve inside and eight
outside passengers.

The number of hackney coaches which ply in the streets of London have
been augmented from time to time, since their first establishment in
1625, when there were only twenty. Coaches, cabs, omnibuses, &c., now
plying, amount to nearly three thousand.

To prevent imposition, the proprietors of these carriages are compelled
to have their names painted on some conspicuous place of the carriage,
and their number affixed in the inside, as well as the out. This
regulation has become absolutely necessary of late years, on account of
the numerous frauds practised by the coachmen.

We read that in Russia there are employed clumsy, but very convenient
sorts of carriages, so constructed as to be either closed or open,
and to hold a bed or couch, called _brichka_, with which persons can
travel even for two or three thousand miles without much inconvenience,
except it be over the rough stones of their towns, owing to the
superior accommodations of either lying down or sitting; this change of
position renders a journey less irksome, without which it would prove
intolerable. In Russia, from Riga to the Crimea, at least, post horses
are furnished by the government, and entrusted to subalterns in the
Russian army to provide them.

Coaches for hire were first established by public authority in France,
as early as 1671. There are employed in the streets of the capital no
fewer than three thousand hackney coaches. As early as the year 1650
Charles Villerme paid into the royal treasury fifteen thousand livres,
for the exclusive privilege of keeping and using fiacres in Paris.

Post chaises were introduced in the year 1664.

Hackney coaches were established in Edinburgh in 1673, when the number
was only twenty. Public fiacres were introduced at Warsaw in 1778. In
Amsterdam the coaches have no wheels; nor have they any at Petersburg
in the winter--they are used as sledges.

The state-coach of the city of London is a species of heir-loom, or
the hereditary property of the city; it is a very large and apparently
extremely heavy machine, but superbly decorated with large panels
of crystal glass, richly gilt, and elegantly painted with several
appropriate designs. In one of the centre panels, among a group of
figures, is one supporting a shield bearing the inscription “_Henry
Fitzalwin_, 1189,” in the old English, character; therefore we
conjecture that the coach was constructed at a period coeval with the
above date.


In the earliest ages it was customary to ride without either bridles
or saddles, if the poet be worthy of credit; for we observe Lucan,
speaking of the Massillians, says:

   “Without a saddle the Massilians ride,
    And with a bending switch their horses guide.”

They regulated the motion of the horses by a switch and their voice.
It has been observed, that the case was the same with the Numidians,
Getulians, Libyans, as well as most of the Grecian people. As the
reason of the thing appears to point out the superior expediency of
a bridle, they afterwards came into fashion among the Greeks, which
they called _lupi_; because it is said the bit of the bridle bore a
resemblance to the teeth of the wolf, whence Lucan says of it:--

   “Nor with the sharper bits
    Manage th’ unruly horse.”

In the east it would appear that bridles, at least, were used at an
early period. For we have a great number of texts in the Scripture,
which definitely express as much: in the Psalms, and likewise in
Proverbs, the name and application of the bridle is often particularly
mentioned, and more frequently alluded to. Virgil, indeed, says,
referring to very early times:

   “The Lapithæ of Pelethronium rode
    With bridles first,--and what their use was show’d.”

The saddle is also of ancient origin, for we read in I. Kings, xiii.,
13.,--“And he said unto his sons, _saddle_ me the ass. So they saddled
him the ass: and he rode thereon.” And before that period, in the
second generation after Noah, the Assyrian empire was established. In
its commencement, even as early as the days of Semiramis, the wife of
Ninus, the first Assyrian king, who built Ninevah, there were those
articles of horse furniture, called _packs_ and _fardles_; for in
ancient historians we find the following passage occur in this respect.
“Semiramis ascended from the plain to the top of the mountain, by
laying the packs and fardels of the beasts that followed her, one upon
another.” The same author informs us that this was Mount Bagistan, in
Medea, and that it was seventeen furlongs from the top to the bottom.

In the first ages, among the Greeks and Romans, a cloth or mattrass,
a piece of leather or raw hide, was all they used for a saddle. Such
coverings afterwards became more costly: Silius Italicus says, they
were made of costly skins.

It, however, appears, that after they were become common, it was
considered as effeminate to use them; hence the Romans despised them:
and in his old age, Varro boasts of having, when young, rode without a
covering to his horse. Xenophon reproaches the Persians, because they
put more clothes upon the backs of their horses than upon their beds.
From the aspect in which hardy people viewed this practice, the warlike
Teutones considered it most disgraceful, and despised the Roman cavalry.

In the fifth century, saddles were so magnificent, that a prohibition
was issued by Leo I., that they should not be ornamented with pearls or
precious stones. In the sixth century, the Emperor Mauritas directed
that they should have coverings of fur, of large dimensions.

From every information we have been able to collect, we believe that
the appendage of stirrups were not added to saddles before the sixth
century. It is said, that previous to the introduction of stirrups,
the young and agile used to mount their horses by vaulting upon them,
which many did in an expert and graceful manner; of course, practice
was essential to this perfection. That this should be afforded, wooden
horses were placed in the Campus Martius, where this exercise was
performed of mounting or dismounting on either side; first, without,
and next with arms. Cavalry had also, occasionally, a strap of leather,
or a metallic projection affixed to their spears, in or upon which the
foot being placed, the ascent became more practicable. Respecting the
period of this invention, Montfaucon has presumed that the invention
must have been subsequent to the use of saddles; however, opposed to
this opinion, an ingenious argument has been offered, that is possible
they might have been anterior to that invention; because, it is said,
they might have been appended to a girth round the body of the horse.
Both Hippocrates and Galen speak of a disease to which the feet and
ancles were subject, from long riding, occasioned by suspension of the
feet without a resting-place. Suetonius, the Roman, informs us that
Germanicus, the father of Caligula, was wont to ride after dinner, to
strengthen his ancles, by the action of riding affording the blood
freer circulation in the part.

The Latin names assigned them have been various, among which is
_scalæ_; in which sense Mauritius, in his treatise on the art of war,
is said to have named them. Now, this writer is supposed to have lived
in the sixth century; but we conceive it is pretty evident they had an
earlier existence in Arabia, Turkey, and Persia, as there is an alto,
as well as bas-relief of this last country, still extant, which is
believed to have been as ancient as the days of Darius, because it was
brought from the city he built, Persepolis, having this representation.

The invention and name of stirrup is supposed to have been borrowed
from the anatomy of the ear, where a band is found resembling it in


When we consider the vast importance of security to the feet of
that useful animal, the horse, we cannot but feel surprised that on
account of the very rough roads the ancients must occasionally had to
travel, that some metallic shoes had not been invented and introduced
previously to the period when they appeared.

That the security of the rider necessarily depended upon the safety
of the animal he rode, cannot be questioned. Hence, then, we do not
wonder to observe, that the sagacious Aristotle and Pliny should
remark upon the covering placed upon the feet of those animals of
draught and burden. From what these authors have said, however, we
dare not conclude that the feet of horses or camels were faced or
shod with iron: but it should rather seem that in time of war, or
on long journeys, the feet of both kinds of beasts were prepared
with such species of shoes as the common people wore, and which were
generally made of strong ox-leather. We are told that when the hoofs
of cattle, particularly oxen, had sustained any injury or hurt, they
were furnished with shoes made of Spanish or African broom, with which
linen is often manufactured in the south of France and Italy; also
shoes of some of the plants of the hemp kind, which were woven or
plaited together. Although these may be considered as only a species of
surgical bandages with regard to oxen; but such shoes were particularly
given to mules, which in days of old were employed much more than at
present for riding; and from some instances of immoderate extravagance
in people of rank, it appears that they had for their animals very
costly shoes of some of the most valuable metals. Nero, when he
undertook short journeys, was drawn always by mules shod with silver,
and those of his wife were shod with gold.

The circumstance being barely mentioned, without any particular detail,
we are anxious to afford any certain information on the mode in which
those shoes were constructed. From a passage in Dio Cassius, we have
reason to believe that it was only the upper part of the shoe that was
made of those costly metals, or that they were plaited from thin slips.

Xenophon relates that a certain people in Asia were in the habit of
drawing socks over the feet of their horses, when the snow lay deep
on the ground. The Kamschatkian employs the same means to preserve
the feet of his dogs, which draw his sledge, or hunt the seals upon
the ice. Those species of shoes, according to Captain Cook, are so
ingeniously made as to be bound, and at the same time to admit the
claws of the animal through them.

From a passage found in Suetonius, we may infer that the Roman
horse-shoes were put on in the manner we have mentioned; for that
author says, that the coachman of Vespasian once stopped to put on the
shoes of his mules: this being the case, the probability appears pretty
certain, that in deep roads and moist soils the animals must have
frequently lost their shoes.

Artemedorus speaks of a shod horse, and uses the same kind of
expression whilst speaking of other cattle. Winkelman has described a
cut stone in the collection of Baron Stosch, on which is represented
the figure of a man holding one foot of a horse, whilst another,
kneeling, is employed in fastening a shoe.

That it was not usual to shoe the war-horse, may be gathered from
this,--when Mithridates was besieging Cyzicus, he was obliged to send
his cavalry to Bythnia, because the hoofs of the horses were entirely
spoiled and worn out. Diodorus Siculus informs us, that Alexander, in
his expedition, proceeded with uninterrupted marches, until the feet
of his horses were entirely broken and destroyed. A like instance
occurs in Cinnamus, where the cavalry were obliged to be left behind,
because the horses had suffered considerably in their hoofs, to which
he adds, they were often liable. Hence it may, perhaps, appear, that
such horse-shoes as are now in use, were unknown to the ancients; and
Chardiu gives no representation of them in ancient Persian antiquities.
In the grave of Childeric, a northern chieftain and King of France, was
discovered a piece of iron, which the learned antiquarians who saw it,
pronounced, from that portion of it which the rust had left, to have
been an old horse-shoe; they saw, or thought they saw, four distinct
apertures for nails on each side; but whilst they were endeavouring
to remove the corrosive excrescence of rust, to ascertain with more
certainty, it broke under their hands. The reason why we mentioned
this here is, that if the relic discovered was really a horse-shoe, it
must have been one of the most ancient specimens known; because, we
find that monarch died in the year 481; his grave was discovered at
Tournay in 1683. The occasion of his having a horse-shoe in his grave,
was from the creed of his religion; the superstitious belief of the
Scandinavians taught them to place implicit confidence in the power
of this amulet, to prevent the ingress of evil spirits. The remains
of this belief is even now often seen in the obscure streets of the
British metropolis; and, indeed, throughout the country, where the
mystic shoe frequently appears as the faithful guardian of the domestic

It is, we understand, the opinion of the French historian, Daniel,
that, in the ninth century, horses were not shod always, but only in
the time of frost, and on some other very particular occasions.

The practice of shoeing horses was introduced into England by William
I. We are told that this monarch gave the city of Northampton as a
fief to a certain person, one of his attendants, in consideration of
his paying a certain sum yearly for the shoeing of horses. And it is
also alleged, that Henry, or Hugh de Ferres, or de Ferrers, was the
same person who held this fief on the above condition, and who was the
ancestor of the family of that name, and who still bear six horse-shoes
in their coat of arms. This was the person whom William entrusted to
inspect his farriers.

We should not omit to observe, that it is remarked, that horse-shoes
have been found, with other riding furniture, in the graves of some of
the old inhabitants of Germany, and also in those of the Vandals in the
North of Europe.


The express period when _nitrum_ was first discovered is extremely
uncertain; but that this nitrum is an alkaline salt, there is little
difficulty in proving. It has, indeed, been conjectured that it was a
component part of the _Greek fire_, invented about the year 678, which
has been generally believed to be the origin of gunpowder. From the
oldest prescriptions which have been found, and which is said to be
that given by the Princess Anna Commena, in which, however, only resin,
sulphur, and oil are mentioned, saltpetre does not appear.

It is believed by an author very well qualified to form a judgment on
the question, that the first certain account we have of saltpetre by
that express name, occurs in the oldest account of the invention of
gunpowder, which, according to him (Professor Beckmann) occurred in
the thirteenth century. Dr. Rees, in his Cyclopedia, expressly says,
about the year 1320; and that it was first used by the Venetians
employed against the Genoese in 1380; also that it was first in Europe
at a place now known as Chrogia, against Laurence de Medicis; and the
last named authority adds, “That all Italy made complaint against it,
as a contravention of the law of arms.” Dr. Rees gives the following
recipe for its manufacture, without distinguishing the proportionate
parts:--“A composition of nitre, sulphur, and charcoal, mixed together,
and usually granulated.” He describes its effects by observing, that
“it easily takes fire, and when fired, rarifies and expands with great
vehemence by means of its elastic force;” also that “it may be made
without _nitre_, by means of _marine acid_.”

We have two accounts preserved to us of the original of this invention.
The first of which was given by our illustrious countryman, Roger
Bacon, called the Wonderful Doctor, who died A. D. 1278; previous to
which period, gunpowder must have existed. The other account is by
Albertus Magnus, in a work published in 1612.

It is said to be doubted whether Albertus was the author of the book
which bears his name; but that he, whoever he may have been, and Bacon,
are presumed to have taken their information from the same identical
source. About the period of the invention of gunpowder, it appears
the art of making the Greek fire began to be lost. In the works of
Roger Bacon, the term occurs three times. According to Casiri, the
term _pulvis nitratus_, is to be found in an Arabic MS. the author of
which existed about 1249. If the work of Geber, _De Investigatione
Perfectionis_, be genuine, and if this writer lived, as has been
thought, in the eighth century, it would be the oldest where saltpetre
is mentioned, in a prescription for an _aqua solutiva_, which appears
to be almost _aqua regia_.

We are inclined to believe, however, from various authorities,
that gunpowder was invented in India, as it was proved in a paper
read before the French National Institute, by M. Langles, that the
Arabians obtained a knowledge of gunpowder from the Indians, who had
been acquainted with it from the earliest periods. The use of it in
war is said to have been prohibited them in their sacred books. It
was employed in 690 at a battle near Mecca, by the Arabians. It was
brought by the Saracens from Africa to the Europeans, who improved
the preparation, and first discovered various ways of employing
it in war. In no country could saltpetre and its various uses be
more easily discovered than in India, where the soil is so rich in
nitrous particles that nothing is necessary but lixiviation to obtain
saltpetre; and where this substance is so abundant, that almost all the
gunpowder used in different wars, with which European sovereigns have
tormented themselves, burdened their subjects with intolerable taxes,
and cursed the world from its invention--has been made from Indian
saltpetre. Had not saltpetre been known previous to the thirteenth
century, neither could gunpowder or aquafortis have existed; and for
the best of all reasons, that neither of them could be made without
saltpetre or nitre. But should it appear that this neutral salt was
known in India long prior to that period, and used by Indians as well
as Arabians before they were employed by Europeans, and considering
the former to have practised chemistry previous to the latter; should
this have been proved, perhaps a similar proof will necessarily await
upon the articles aquafortis and gunpowder. Because if this affirmation
be established, it will be discovered that Europeans knew nothing of
aquafortis until after the Arabian chemists.

Probability appears to favour the idea, that at or about the twelfth
century the accumulated number of consequents, from the improvement
in European science, the arts we now possess were introduced into our
catalogue, _i. e._, nitre, aquafortis, and gunpowder.

After the period that saltpetre became necessary to governments for
the manufacture of gunpowder, they endeavoured to obtain it at a cheap
rate; and for that purpose were guilty in some countries of the most
violent and oppressive measures, intruding upon private property of
every description to furnish it, hunting for the effervescence even in
old walls, to the great annoyance of individuals. But after repeated
acts of the most flagrant oppression from the public officers, and from
farmers, to whom this iniquitous practice was entrusted, they could not
procure a sufficiency; but were obliged to have recourse to traffic in
India for that purpose.


That these dangerous weapons were not known in Europe previous to the
introduction of gunpowder may be safely inferred; as without that
substance their necessity or utility is wanting.

At first the construction of this machine was characterised by that
awkward, rude, and cumbersome appearance which generally distinguished
all inventions in their infancy; reminding us of those very rude
instruments brought from the Sandwich Islands, and deposited in our

The first portable fire-arms were discharged by a match; in course of
time this was fastened to a cock, for the greater security of the hand
whilst discharging the piece. Afterwards a fire-stone was attached,
screwed into a cock, with a steel plate before it, and fixed in a small
wheel, which could be wound up by a key, affixed to the barrel. This
fire-stone was not at first of a vitreous nature, like that now in
use for striking fire, but a compact pyrites, long known as such, and
called a fire-stone. As an instrument so furnished was often liable
to miss fire, till a late period a match was still continued with the
wheel; and it was not till a considerable time after that, instead of
a friable pyrites, so much exposed to effloresce, a vitreous stone
was affixed to the improvement of the lock, somewhat resembling our
own gun-lock. But these progressive improvements advanced slowly,
because as recently as the early part of the last century these clumsy
contrivances were in use. During that period, those instruments were
denominated by various names, chiefly German and Dutch, such as
_buchse_, _hakenbuchse_, _arquebuss_, musket, martinet, pistol, &c. The
first of these names arose from the oldest portable kind of fire-arms
having a similarity to a box. There were long and short _buchse_, the
latter of which were peculiar to cavalry; the longest kind also, from
their resemblance to a pipe, were called in Germany, _rohr_.

Large pieces, which were conveyed on carriages, were called _Karren
buchse_, from the action of conveyance. Soon afterwards cannon were
introduced, at first called _canna_; now known as artillery. However,
artillery-men, and others concerned in those employments, still use the
terms previously mentioned. The hackenbuchse were so very large and
unwieldy, that if carried in the hand, they could not be used manually
alone; they were, therefore, supported by a post or stay, called a
_bock_, because it had a forked end, somewhat resembling the horns of
the buck, between which the piece was fixed by a hook projecting from
the stock. There is still preserved in the Tower of London, an old
_buchse_; a specimen of every species of our national arms may be seen
in the same place.

From those terms before-mentioned, it would appear, that not only the
English, but also the French, and most other European nations, took the
names of their fire-arms.

It appears that pistols were first used in Germany; they had a wheel
attached to them. Bellay mentions them in the year 1544, in the
time of Francis I.; and under Henry II., the German horsemen were
called _pistoliers_. Several historians think that the name came from
Pistolia, in Tuscany, because there they were first made; and, if
we might hazard an opinion, we think this conjecture right. Hence,
although Germany might first have generally used them, we think they
were an Italian invention.

Muskets are said to have received their name from either the French
_mouchet_, or else from the Latin _muschetus_; however, we are of
opinion that neither of these terms gave its original; and submit that
it is derived from the Latin _muscarium_,--the fall of men being as
sudden after the explosion of this deadly weapon, as the death of a
fly after it is flapped by that instrument, which was common in the
butcher’s shambles of ancient Rome.

Daniel proves they were known in France as early as the period of
Francis I. Brandome, however, asserts they were introduced by the
Duke of Alva--that cruel monster in human shape--that tool of a
blood-thirsty tyrant--whose name has its full merit when it has eternal
execration, as the exploits of that diabolical character in the
Spanish Netherlands bear indubitable testimony: that wretch existed in
1507; and they were not known in France at that period, as Brandome
endeavours to prove, or we should have had more intelligence handed
down to posterity by the commentators of one who would so willingly
have used such an instrument. The _lock_ is said to have been invented
in the city of Nuremberg, in Germany, about 1517; but that cannot be
considered as the lock of the present day, as even in Germany the
fire-lock is known by the name of the French-lock, which certainly
militates against the previous assertion, the one giving the name
perhaps to the other.

Beckmann says, “In the history of the Brunswick military it is stated,
that the soldiers of that Duchy first obtained flint-locks instead
of match-locks in 1687. It has often been asserted,” he continues,
“that fire-tubes which took fire of themselves were forbidden first in
Bohemia and Moravia, and afterwards in the whole German empire, under
a severe penalty, by the Emperor Maximilian I.; but I have not found
any allusion to this circumstance in the different police laws of that

That the first fire-stones were pyrites appears from various sources,
and afterwards a vitreous kind of stone was introduced in its stead;
this circumstance is said to have produced some kind of confusion, as
in many instances the properties were applied to that stone which
were related by the Germans of antiquity as belonging to pyrites. In
Germany, this vitreous stone was called _vlint_; in Sweden and Denmark,
_flinta_; and in England, _flint_. This appellation is of great

Anciently, in Germany, as it appears from the song of Hildebrand, a
metrical romance of very early date, that Hildebrand and Hudebrand, a
father and son, and, at the moment, ignorant of their affinity, agreed
to fight for each other’s armour; and it is said “They let fly their
ashen spears with such force, that they stuck in the shields, and they
thrust resounding axes of flint against each other, having uplifted
their shields previously; but the Lady Ulta rushed in between them--‘I
know the cross of gold,’ said she, ‘which I gave him for his shield;
this is my Hildebrand. You, Hudebrand, sheath your sword; this is your
father!’ Then she led both champions into the hall, and gave them meat
and wine with many embraces.”

Besides these proofs that the ancient name of the stone was known
in Germany by the appellation _vlint_--which species of stone may,
perhaps, without hazarding the danger of error, be conceived to be the
same which Zipporah, the wife of Moses, is represented to have used,
in the 25th verse of the 4th chapter of Exodus: “Then Zipporah took a
sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his
feet, and said,--Surely a bloody husband thou art to me.” And it is
added she said so, on account of the circumcision.

In addition to what has appeared, let us add, it cannot be doubted that
the instrument fired by this stone first obtained for it, in Germany,
the name of _vlint_; as the ancient name may, in general, be now lost,
it is commonly called flint-stone. Those people acquainted with the
northern, Scandinavian, and German antiquities, know that the knives
employed in ancient sacrifices, and other sharp instruments, were made
of this stone, as appears from the remains being yet discovered in old
barrows, and between urns.

It is also presumed that the Ethiopian stone, mentioned as used by
one of the Egyptian embalmers, first to open the body to get at the
intestines, was a flint-stone. The soil being in some places siliceous
or chalky, naturally produces such stones in common with that earth.

The flint is a stone indigenous in most European countries; they are
commonly collected and manufactured by people whose occupation allows
them much spare time. The easiest mode to shape them is with a species
of pillow of saw-dust, or some other soft material, sown up in coarse
cloth, held upon the knees, and with a hammer having a bevil edge, they
may be broken into almost any form or size by those accustomed to the

The great quantity of the material from whence they are composed
allows for any waste which accident may produce. In several counties
of England they are so plentiful, that they are the common material
employed for mending the public roads. But we are informed that this
is not the case in France, where, in time of war, the people were
prohibited from exporting them. The Dutch are commonly large dealers in
this article.

Flint is a large component in the manufacture of glass.

Gun flints are now, however, comparatively little used, as percussion
caps are generally substituted, which act with more certainty, and
require a great deal less trouble.


Not being greedy of delusion ourselves, neither would we lead others
into error; but, on the contrary, are desirous to avoid all deception,
as we may be considered over studious to give the most rational
origin, and where we cannot get at the history of those objects which
engage our attention--whenever this is uncertain we resort to nature,
experience, and reason, and furnish the most correct explanation our
contracted circle of information will permit. Whenever we discover the
clue of history, we collect the most satisfactory detail our limits
will afford us to insert. Guided by the preceding notions, and directed
by those principles, we have endeavoured correctly to conceive,
and faithfully to portray our own conceptions in the best manner
our experience might enable us, to make a just distinction between
metaphorical allusion and literal application; ever endeavouring to
discriminate between serious assertion and studied fable.

We fully coincide with the just remark of the learned author of “Indian
Antiquities,” who says “that in respect to the early ages of the world,
all the remains of genuine history, except that contained in the sacred
annals, is only to be obtained through the mazes of Mythology.”

It must be confessed, that to sift this grain of corn from the bushel
of chaff with which it is surrounded, where every effort which the
ingenuity of Greece could devise to render fable as current as truth,
was resorted to, is no small task; that it requires the operation
of the best exercised reason, and the assistance of extraordinary
judgment, which is only to be attained through the medium of extensive
experience and the exercise of clear and discriminative powers: then
we pretend not to possess the best of possible acquisitions of this
kind, but the best in our power, we have endeavoured to collect, and
summoned to our assistance; and the value of our labours we will leave
the public to judge.

If the application of observations like the preceding ever come
_apropos_, surely they apply to the present article; since from the
_sideral_ science, all the errors of an idolatrous race proceeded in
the major part of the population of the ancient world: from thence also
proceeded the most sublime imagery which embellishes the syren voice
of poetic song, the grandest metaphors, and the sweetest allegories,
which ornament the transendent eloquence of the most able rhetoricians
of Greece and Rome; the fire of exquisitely natural and most noble
allusions which enliven and embellish their historic pages. The
sweetest philosophical explications also flowed from thence, which
ornament the various immortal works of their most excellent poets,
orators, historians, natural and moral philosophers; and, in brief, of
every description of the sublimest genius of ancient Greece and Rome,
in their most divine effusions.

It will appear, we believe, that the first astronomers of Chaldea,
Phœnicia, and Egypt, are not now known as astronomers, by name, if we
except the person of the royal Nimrod, the founder of the Chaldean
empire, which name is often confounded with Belus; sometimes one is
put for the other, and often Belus is called the son of Nimrod. How
the truth of this was, we shall not at present determine: be it as it
may, it is allowed on all hands that the sideral science claims for its
inventor no less a person than the founder of the first monarchy in the
world. That this science was first introduced by the founder of the
Tower of Babel is not questioned, because it is more evident, that in
that country there must have existed from necessity, the expediency of
the most approved observation, which could be made upon this eminently
useful science; where, on account of the excessive solar heat, people
generally travel by night: where, for hundreds of miles, are nothing
but pathless deserts, with a horizon as boundless and little impeded
as that of the ocean; assuredly under such circumstances, the local
situation of the site of the immense Observatory of Babel must point
out the expediency of procuring some intelligence from the position
which the inhabitants discovered the host of heaven to appear in at
the rising, setting, &c.; for from what will appear in the course of
this article, it will be very evident that the Tower of Babel was
constructed for the purpose of an astronomical observatory; farther,
that the climate of Chaldea was most favourable to the exercise of
that sublime art, will not admit of a question, when we consider the
atmosphere is so pure, so clear, so free from exhalation, that at
night the sky is said to resemble an immense canopy of black velvet
studded with embossed gold, from the appearance of the stars; and that
it was not only the appearance of the stars, their rising, setting,
and motion, by which they knew time was to be measured; but also the
distinction between one star and another could be correctly ascertained
from the usual colour--here it was the various planets, zodiacal
constellations, and the other asterisms in both hemispheres, received
their primary names.

The preceding circumstance, it is conceived, fixes the local place
where the science had its origin.

The Tower of Babel was a parallelogram, with sides of unequal length.
Herodotus thus describes it.--“The Temple of Jupiter Belus occupies the
other [square of the city], whose huge gates of brass may be seen. It
is a square building; in the midst rises a tower of the height of one
furlong, upon which resting as a base, seven other turrets are built in
regular succession. The ascent is on the outside, which, winding from
the ground, is continued to the highest tower: in the middle of the
whole structure there is a convenient resting place.”

Diodorus Siculus says, this tower was decayed in his time; but, in his
description of Babylon, he thus speaks of it--describing it as the act
of Semiramis, who flourished two thousand nine hundred and forty-four
years before Christ:--“In the middle of the city, she built a temple to
Jupiter-Belus; of which, since writers differ amongst themselves, and
the work is now wholly decayed through length of time, there is nothing
that can with certainty be related concerning it; yet it is apparent
it was of an exceeding great height; and that, by the advantage of it,
the Chaldean astrologers exactly observed the rising and setting of the
stars. The whole was built of brick, cemented with bitumen, with great
art and cost. Upon the top she placed three statues of beaten gold, of
Jupiter, Juno, and Rhea: that of Jupiter stood upright, in the posture
as if he was walking; it was forty feet in height, and weighed one
thousand Babylonish talents. The statue of Rhea was of the same weight,
sitting on a golden throne, having two lions standing on either side,
one at her knees, and near to them were two exceeding great serpents
of silver, weighing thirty talents each. Here, too, the image of Juno
stood upright, and weighed eight hundred talents, grasping a serpent by
the head in her right hand, and holding a sceptre adorned with precious
stones in her left. For all these deities there was placed a table
made of beaten gold, forty feet long and fifteen broad, weighing five
hundred talents, upon which stood two cups, weighing thirty talents,
and near to them as many censers, weighing three hundred talents: there
were likewise placed three drinking bowls of gold--the one to Jupiter
weighed two hundred talents, and the others six hundred each.”

We have been thus circumstantial in our description of Babylon,
for obvious reasons. First--that it was the first local situation
where, since the deluge, men had associated for civil purposes; and
secondly--because it was the original station where the astronomical
science was cultivated. From Chaldea, Astronomy travelled to Egypt,
where she was studied for many ages; she also went to Phœnicia, where
she was regarded with equal attention. But the peculiar occasion which
the Phœnician people had to improve their acquaintance with this
science, will appear, upon reflecting that these people occupied a
narrow and barren tract of land between the Mediterranean and Arabian
seas; therefore, they found it essentially necessary to improve their
situation by those means which Divine Providence had apparently marked
out for them to resort unto; we accordingly find them applying to
mercantile industry; as a commercial people, in this character, they
were the ready medium of communication between every part of the then
known world. In consequence, they had factories or mercantile stations
up the Mediterranean; but particularly on its European side, on the
shores of the Atlantic, and even in the British sea: we recognise their
occupying Marseilles, and others, on the coast of France; Cadiz, on
that of Spain; the Lizard Point, and other places, in Cornwall, where
they traded for tin in the British Isles. In brief, their commercial
spirit carried them to every part of the globe: by the by, admitting
that rational belief be allowed to Plato and Solon, we shall find that
they had, in the first ages, explored the Atlantic Ocean, and even
discovered America. A great variety of authorities may be adduced to
prove the assertion--that the Phœnicians made three descents on the
American coast; and others, who say that the inhabitants discovered
there by the Spaniards, gave the same names to the plants as had been
assigned them in Asia; that their religious rites were similar, and
general customs and manners the same,--we refer to Joseph Da Costa’s
“History of the Indies,” published in 1694.

This author was an eye-witness, and wrote from actual observation. The
Phœnicians, in the exercise of their mercantile functions, had the most
obvious necessity to cultivate the sideral science. We find that they
accordingly did so, and made various improvements and very important
discoveries by their exercise. From the northern hemisphere being
more known to them than it was to the Chaldeans, they discovered that
splendid and beautiful asterism, _Cynosuræ_, or the polar-star,--an
asterism of the most singular service, before the properties of the
magnet were discovered, and which star was sometimes called, from them,

From Phœnicia and Egypt the celestial science of astronomy was brought
into Greece, with which people the Phœnicians were intimate; for they,
by trade, having occasion to converse with the Greeks, and also from
uniting in one national resemblance, the three opposite characteristics
of soldiers, sailors, and men of science, the communications between
the two people were very frequent. At every period, from the first
establishment of the Grecian states, that highly eminent and
intellectual people collected from all others every particular they
could obtain in all matters having relation to sciences and arts; those
they cultivated with a success worthy of the motive which first induced
them to make these collections.--Loving Knowledge for herself, they
succeeded beyond all others in obtaining her favours.

The first Greek who appears on record to have cultivated the celestial
science with success, was Thales, born at Miletus, in Asia Minor, six
hundred and forty one years before Christ; he explained the causes of
eclipses, and predicted one. He also taught that the earth was round,
and divided into five zones; he discovered the solstices and equinoxes,
and likewise divided the year into three hundred and sixty-five
days. He had travelled into Egypt in search of knowledge, where he
ascertained the height of one of the pyramids, from its shade. He
looked upon water as the principle of all things. From him the sect
called the Ionic had their origin.

Anaximander, his pupil, followed him, and supported the opinions of his
great master; he was born before Christ six hundred and ten years; he
invented maps and dials, and is said to have constructed a sphere. His
ideas of the planets were, however, erroneous.

Anaximenes was a scholar of Anaximander, and born five hundred and
fifty-four years before Christ. He taught that air was the origin of
all things, and many erroneous notions; among others, that the earth
was a plane, and the heavens a solid concave sphere, with the stars
affixed to it like nails.

Anaxagoras of Clazomene, the pupil of, and successor to, Anaximenes,
born before Christ five hundred and sixty years. The doctrines he
supported are a strange association of important truths, mixed with
the most gross absurdities. He taught that the world was made by a
being of infinite power; that mind was the origin of motion; that the
upper regions, which he called ether, were filled with fire, that the
rapid revolution of this ether had raised large masses of stone from
the earth, which, being inflamed, formed the stars, which were kept
in their places, and prevented from falling by the velocity of their

His ideas of the solar orb were extremely erroneous; alleging,
according to different authors, various uncertain positions respecting
the materials of which that planet is composed: one says, _he_ said
it was a vast mass of fire; another states _his_ opinion, that it
was red-hot iron; and a third, that it was of stone. He taught that
the comets are an assemblage of planets; that winds are produced in
consequence of highly rarified air; that thunder and lightning are a
collision of clouds; earthquakes, by subterraneous air forcing its
passage upwards; that the moon is inhabited, &c.

This philosopher removed his school from Miletus to Athens, which was
thenceforth the grand seat of all learning. He had taught there for
thirty years, when he was prosecuted for his philosophical opinions,
particularly for his just ideas relative to the Deity, and condemned to
death. When sentence was pronounced, he said:--“It is long since Nature
condemned me to that.” However, according to the laws of Athens, he was
permitted an appeal to the people, in which his scholar, the immortal
Pericles, saved his life by his eloquence. His sentence of death
was changed into banishment. Whilst in prison he determined exactly
the proportion of the circumference of the circle to its diameter,
denominated “squaring the circle.” He died at Lampsacus. Archelaus, his
scholar, was the preceptor of the divine Socrates.

Pythagoras was another scholar of Thales. The place of his nativity is
uncertain; but having settled in the island of Samos, he is generally
reckoned of that place. He travelled in search of knowledge through
Phœnicia, Chaldea, Egypt, and India; however, meeting with little
encouragement on his return to Samos, he passed over to Italy, in the
time of Tarquin the Proud, and opened a school at Croto, a city in the
Gulf of Tarentum, where he had a number of students, and gained much
reputation. His pupils were obliged to listen in silence for at least
two years; if talkative, longer; sometimes, for five years, before
they were permitted to ask him any questions; for which time they were
_mathematicoi_, because they were set to study geometry, dialling,
music, and other high sciences, called by the Greeks _mathemata_. But
the name of _mathematici_ was commonly applied to those who cultivated
the stellary science, and who predicted the fortunes of men, by
observing the stars under which they were born.

This luminary of science first assumed the appellation of
_philosopher_; before him, those whose pursuits have now that title,
were called sages or wise men; he was the founder of the sect called
the Italic. He was so much honoured whilst living, and his memory
honoured when dead, by the Romans, that they attributed to him the
learning of Numa, who lived much earlier. About the year of the city
411, the Delphian oracle having directed the Romans to erect statues to
the bravest and wisest of the Greeks, they conferred that honour upon
Alcibiades and Pythagoras.

He taught publicly that the earth is the centre of the universe; but
to his scholars he gave his real opinions; similar to those afterwards
adopted by Copernicus, that the earth and all the planets moved round
the sun, as their co-centre, and which doctrine he is presumed to have
derived from either the Chaldeans or Indians. He thought that the earth
is round, and everywhere inhabited. Hence, he admitted that we might
have antipodes, which name is said to have been invented by Plato.

Pythagoras was distinguished for his skill in music, which he first
reduced to certain firm principles, and likewise for his discoveries
in geometry. He first proved, that in a right-angled triangle, the
square of the hypothenuse, or side subtending the right angle, is
equal to the two other sides; also that of all plain figures having
equal circumference, the circle is largest; and of all solids having
equal surfaces, the sphere is the largest. Pythagoras likewise taught
that all things were made of fire. That the Deity animated the
universe, as the soul does the body; which doctrine, with that of
the metempsychosis, or transmigration, he likewise taught; and which
thoughts were adopted by Plato, and are most beautifully expressed by
Virgil; that the sun, the moon, the planets, and fixed stars, are all
actuated by some divinity, and move each in a transparent solid sphere
in the order following:--next to the Earth, the Moon, then Mercury,
Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn; the sphere of the fixed stars
last of all; that those move with a sound inconceivably beautiful,
which ears cannot comprehend. Those eight spheres he imagined to be
analogous to the eight notes in music.

Empedocles, the chief scholar of Pythagoras, entertained the same
sentiments with his teacher, concerning astronomy. He is said to have
thrown himself into the crater of Mount Etna, to make himself pass for
a god; or, perhaps, which may approach nearer the truth, because he
could not discover the cause of the eruption: or else in his endeavours
to discover the cause. One of his iron sandals being thrown up by the
volcano, revealed the mode in which he had perished.

Philolaus, also a scholar of Pythagoras, first taught publicly the
diurnal motion of the earth upon its axis, and its annual motion round
the sun; which first suggested to Copernicus the idea of that system
which he established.

Meteon, born at Leuconæ, a village near Athens, first introduced into
Europe the Lunar Cycle, consisting of nineteen solar years, or nineteen
lunar years, and seven intercalary months. It had been first adopted by
the Chaldeans. Meteon published it at the Olympic games, where it was
received with so great applause that it was then universally adopted
through the Grecian States, and their colonies, and got the name of the
Cycle, or Golden Number, to denote its excellence, which name it still

It was also called the Great Year; which name was likewise applied to
various spaces of time by different authors; by Virgil, to the solar
year, to distinguish it from the monthly revolution of the moon; by
Cicero and others, to the revolution of six hundred years, or three
thousand six hundred years; called also several ages, when all the
stars shall come to the same position, with respect to one another,
as they were in at a certain time before; called likewise _Annus
Mundanus_, or _Vertens_.

The lunar cycle begun four hundred and thirty-two years before the
commencement of our era, and according to it, the Greek calendars,
which determined the celebration of their annual feasts, &c. were
adjusted. Meteon is said to have derived his knowledge of this subject
from Chaldea.

The opinions of the subsequently registered astronomer, Xonophanes,
founder of the Eleatic school, are so truly monstrous, that after
the light which had appeared, he must have travelled with his eyes
shut; or else the rage for novelty alike affected the scientific of
Greece, as it did their _literati_; choosing to travel a long way
for new thoughts, when they might have found much better at hand.
Xonophanes, among other whimsical opinions, maintained that the stars
were extinguished every morning, and illuminated every evening; that
the sun is an inflamed cloud; that eclipses happen by the extinction
of the sun, which is afterwards lighted up; that the moon is ten times
larger than the earth; that there are many suns and moons to illumine
different climates.

The Eleatic school was chiefly famous for the study of logic, or the
art of ratiocination, first invented by Zeno. Those of this sect paid
but little attention to science, or the study of Nature. Philosophy
was anciently divided into three parts, natural, moral, and the art of
reasoning. Xonophanes was succeeded by Parmenides, his scholar, who,
in addition to his master’s absurdities, taught that the earth was
habitable in only the two temperate zones; that the earth was suspended
in the middle of the universe, in a fluid lighter than air; that all
bodies left to themselves light on its surface. This bore a slight
resemblance to the Newtonian doctrine of attraction.

Democritus, of Abdera, a scholar of Leucippus, who flourished four
hundred and fifty-six years before Christ, was the first publisher
of the Atomic Cosmogony, invented by Mochus, the Phœnician, said to
have been received by his master Leucippus. Both admitted plurality
of worlds. Democritus was the first who taught that the milky way is
occasioned by the confused light of an infinite number of stars; which
doctrine is still maintained by the best informed of philosophers. He
also extended that idea to comets; the number of which Seneca says the
Greek philosophers did not know; and that Democritus suspected there
were more planets than we could see. This was also the opinion of many
others, the truth of which has been verified in the discoveries of
Pallas, Juno, Vesta, and the _Georgium Sidus_.

Democritus is considered as the parent of experimental philosophy; the
greatest part of his time was devoted to it; and he is said to have
made many discoveries. He, like Meteon, and Newton, maintained the
absurd idea of the existence of a vacuum, which was denied by Thales
and Descartes. Democritus also maintained that the sea was constantly
diminishing. He declared that he would prefer the discovery of one of
the causes of the works of Nature, to the possession of the Persian
monarchy. Often laughing at the follies of mankind, he was thought by
the vulgar to be out of his mind; but Hippocrates, being sent to cure
him, soon found him to be the wisest man of the age; and Seneca reckons
him the most acute and ingenious of the ancients, on account of his
many useful inventions; particularly his ingenious making of artificial
emeralds, tinging them of any colour; of softening ivory, dissolving
stones, &c.

Although the chief attention of Plato and Aristotle was directed to
other grand objects, yet they much contributed to the improvement of
astronomy. Notwithstanding the most famous in this respect was Eudoxus,
the scholar of Plato, who was famous for his skill in astrology,
natural and judicial, or the art of foretelling future events by
the relative situations of the stars, of their various influences,
an art which prevailed for many ages among the ancients, and is yet
assiduously cultivated by the modern Arabians and other orientals,
although in a great measure exploded in European nations. By the
former or which divisions in this science are foretold the changes of
seasons, rain, wind, thunder, cold, heat, famine, diseases, &c., from a
knowledge of the causes that are believed to act upon the earth and its
atmosphere; whilst the latter foretold the characters, fortunes, &c.,
of men, from the stellary disposition at the moment of their respective

The philosopher, Eudoxus, spent much of his time on the top of a high
mountain, to observe the motion of the stars. He regulated the Greek
year as Cæsar did the Roman. Had the ancient Grecian astronomers been
equally attached to experiment with Democritus, they might have arrived
at more certain conclusions; but they were content with speculative
theory, and spoke rather from conjecture than observation; whence both
Strabio and Polybius treated as fabulous the since recognised assertion
of Pythius, a famous navigator to the north, who had sailed to a
country supposed to be Iceland, where he said the sun, in the middle of
summer, never set.

The most important improvements in astronomy were made in the school
of Alexandria, founded by Ptolemy Philadelphus; and which seminary
flourished for nine hundred and twenty-three years, till the invasion
of the Saracen army, under the command of Amrou. Those astronomers
were chiefly Greeks, or of Grecian extraction--the most learned men
being invited here by the liberality of the Ptolemies. The first
who distinguished themselves were Timocarus and Aristillus, prior to
the foundation of the library, which was founded three hundred years
before Christ. Those two men endeavoured to determine the places of the
different stars, and thus to trace the course of the planets. The next
and most eminent man was Aristarchus, about two hundred and sixty-four
years before Christ; who taught, that the sun was about nineteen times
further from the earth than the moon (which is not the twentieth part
of its real distance), although the philosophers of the Pythagorean
school did not consider it above three times, and perhaps only one
and a half further distant. Aristarchus also taught, that the moon
was fifty-six diameters of our earth from this globe, which opinion
comes near to the truth: he believed it to be scarcely one-third of
its real size. He was widely erroneous in his conception of the sun’s
dimensions. He also, in conformity to the doctrines of Pythagorus and
Philolaus, supposed the sun to be placed in the centre, and that the
earth moved round it; on which account he was accused of impiety, as
disturbing the repose of the Vesta and the Lares. This opinion was not,
however, retained by his successors in the Alexandrian school. Contrary
to the doctrine of the Greek philosophers, he taught that the stars
were at different distances, and that the orbit of the earth round the
sun was an insensible point, in consequence of the immense distance
of the stars. The only work of Aristarchus which remains, is on the
magnitude and distance of the sun and moon.

Very nearly contemporary with Aristarchus was Euclid, the celebrated
geometrician of Alexandria; Manetho, an astrologer and historian; and
Aratus and Cleanthus, disciples of Zeno, the stoic philosopher; all
of whom contributed to the enlargement of astronomical knowledge; but
particularly the two first named.

Eratosthenes, born at Cyrene, succeeded Aristarchus, being invited by
Ptolemy Euergetes. This professor is said to be the inventor of the
Armillary sphere, an instrument or machine composed of moveable sides,
representing the equator, the two colures, with the meridian; all of
which turned round on an axis directed to the two poles of the world,
each of which circles were anciently called armilla, and the whole
machine, astrolabus. All instruments which could be contrived for
the promotion of this science, were furnished at the public expense,
and placed within the observatory of Alexandria. Assisted by these
instruments, Eratosthenes first undertook to measure the obliquity of
the ecliptics, or rather the double of that obliquity, that is, the
distance from the tropics, which he made to be about 47 degrees; the
obliquity, or half of this distance, 23½ degrees. This grand attempt
was to ascertain the exact distance of a degree of the meridian, and
thus to determine the circumference of the earth; which he accomplished
with wonderful exactness, considering the period at which he lived;
and he performed this by the same method since adopted by the moderns
who have succeeded him. He is also said to have discovered the true
distance of the sun from the earth.

The great Archimedes lived contemporary with Eratosthenes, that
eminent geometrician of Syracuse, whose inventive genius in mechanics
had constructed engines which protracted the fall of that capital,
with its Island Sicily, to the almost omnipotent power of Rome for a
considerable period.

The most illustrious astronomer which had as yet appeared at Alexandria
was Hipparchus, who flourished between one hundred and sixty and one
hundred and twenty-five years before Christ. He first brought this
science into a tangible elementary form, rendering it systematic. He
discovered, or was the first who observed the difference between the
autumnal and the vernal equinox; the former being seven days longer
than the latter, which proceeds from the eccentricity of the earth’s
orbit, first discovered from observing the inequality of the solar
motion. He framed tables for what is called equation of time, or to
ascertain the difference between the shade on a well constructed dial
and a perfectly regulated clock. He made great progress in explaining
the motions and phases of the moon; however, he was not so successful
with respect to the planets.

His greatest work was his ascertaining the number of the stars, marking
their distances, and arriving at the means by which their precise
places on the hemisphere of Alexandria could be known. He marked one
thousand six hundred stars, in seventy-two signs, into which the
heavens were divided. Pliny says this was a labour which must have been
difficult even to a god. The appearance of a new star induced him to
set about and accomplish this work, which he did in a catalogue for the
benefit of future observers.

Hipparchus does not mention comets, whence it has been conjectured he
had never seen any; it has also been suggested, that he considered
them with meteors, which are not objects of astronomical observation.
He divided the heavens into forty-nine constellations, viz., twelve in
the ecliptic, twenty-one in the north, and sixteen in the south. To one
of these he gave the name of Berenice’s Hair, in honour of the wife of
Ptolemy Soter, who had consecrated her hair, which was very beautiful,
to Venus Urania, if her husband should return from a war in Asia
victorious; it being hung up in the temple of the goddess, soon after
disappeared, and is said to have been carried off by the gods.

Hipparchus likewise constructed a sphere, or celestial globe, on which
all the stars visible at Alexandria were depicted; and thought to have
been similar to the Faranese globe at Rome, still extant. In his
observations on the stars, he discovered that, when viewed from the
same spot, their distance always appeared the same from each other;
but he discovered the distance of the moon to be different in various
parts of the heavens; for instance, in the horizon and zenith. This
he conceived to be owing to the extent of the globe; he, therefore,
contrived a method of reducing appearances of this kind, to what they
would be if viewed from the centre of the earth, which is called a
parallax; and the discovery of it was of the greatest importance to
astronomy. He took this idea from observing that a tree, in the middle
of a plain, appeared in different parts of the horizon, when viewed
from different situations; so does a star appear in the various points
of the heavens, when viewed in different parts of the globe. Hipparchus
was the first who connected geography with astronomy, and this fixed
both the sciences on certain principles.

After the overthrow of the Roman empire, the first encourager of
learning was Charles the Great, or Charlemagne; but little could be
done in his time; after his death the former ignorance prevailed.
Beda, or Bede, from his piety and modesty termed _venerabilis_, and
his scholar, Alcinius, both Englishmen, greatly excelled in general
literature; among other qualifications they were eminent in the
astronomy of the preceding period. The first step towards the revival
of knowledge, or the translation of the Astronomical Elements of
Alfergan, the Arab, by order of Frederick II., chosen Emperor of
Germany in 1212. About the same time Alphonso X., King of Castile,
assembled from all parts the most famous astronomers, who at his
desire, composed what are called the Alphonsine Tables, founded on the
hypothesis of Ptolemy.

About the same period John Sacrobosco, of Holywood, a native of
Halifax, in Yorkshire, who was educated at Oxford, and taught
mathematics and philosophy at Paris, made an abridgment of the
amalgamist of Ptolemy, and of the commentaries of the Arabs, which was
long famous as an elementary book under the title of “De Sphira Mundi.”
He died at Paris, in the year 1235. In the same year, Roger Bacon, an
English Franciscan friar, made astonishing discoveries in science for
the time he lived. He perceived the error in the Kalendar of Julius
Cæsar, and proposed a plan, for the correction of it, to Pope Clement
IV. in 1267. He is presumed from his writings to have known the use
of optical glasses, and the composition and effects of gunpowder.
He believed in planetary influence on men’s fortunes, and the
transmutation of metals. On account of his vast knowledge in astronomy,
mathematics, and chemistry, he was called Doctor _Mirabilis_; but, for
the same reason, he was suspected of magic. Under this pretext, whilst
at Paris, he was put in prison by order of the Pope’s legate; and
after a long and severe confinement, he was at last, by the interest
of several noble persons, liberated, returned to England, and died at
Oxford in 1292, in the seventy-eighth year of his age.

In the fifteenth century two events happened which changed the face of
the sciences; the invention of printing, about 1440, and the taking
of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. The learned men of that city
having escaped from the cruelty of the victors, fled into Italy, and
again introduced the taste for classical literature; which was greatly
promoted by the munificence of the Emperor Frederick III., Pope
Nicholas V., and particularly of Cosmo de Medici, who justly merited
the title of Father of his Country, and Patron of the Muses.

The restoration of astronomy began in Germany. The first who
distinguished himself, was George Purbach, born at Purbach, on the
confines of Austria and Bavaria, in 1423, who was cut off in the
flower of his age--only thirty-eight years old. He was succeeded by
a scholar more skilful than himself, John Muller, born at Konigsberg,
in 1436, who taught mathematics and astronomy with great reputation at
Vienna. In February, 1471, appeared a comet, on which he published his
observations. Being called to Rome by Pope Sextus IV., to assist in
correcting the Kalender, he was cut off by the plague, in 1476. Bernard
Waltherus, a rich citizen of Nuremberg, his friend and associate,
succeeded him, who is said to have first made use of clocks in his
astronomical observations, in 1484, and to have been the first of the
moderns who perceived the effects of the refraction of light.

Fracastorius, born at Verona, in 1483, was a celebrated astronomer, and
an eminent poet and good philosopher; he made considerable discoveries
in this science, and with all his abilities may be considered as the
precursor of the celebrated Copernicus.

Nicholas Copernicus, the restorer of the Pythagorean philosophy, and
the modern discoverer of the rational and true system of astronomy,
as now universally received, under the title of his name, was born at
Thorn, a city of Royal Prussia, 19th February, 1473. Having learnt the
Latin and Greek Languages in his father’s house, he was sent to Cracow,
to be instructed in philosophy and physic, where he was honoured with
the degree of doctor; showing a greater predilection for mathematics
than medicine. His uncle by his mother’s side was a bishop, who gave
him a canonry upon his return from Italy, whither he had gone to
study astronomy, under Dominic Maria, at Bologna, and had afterwards
taught mathematics with success at Rome. In the repose and solitude of
an ecclesiastical life, he bent his chief attention to the study of
astronomy. Dissatisfied with the system of Ptolemy, which had prevailed
fourteen centuries, he laboured to form a juster one. What led him to
discover the mistakes of Ptolemy was his observations on the motions
of Venus; he is said to have derived his first notion on this subject
from various passages in the classics, which mention the opinions of
Pythagoras and his followers, as, indeed, he himself acknowledges in
his address to Pope Paul III. He established the rotation of the earth
round its axis, and its motion round the sun; but to explain certain
irregularities in the motion of the planets, he retained the epicicles
and eccentrics of Ptolemy. His work was first printed at Nuremberg, in
1543, a short time before his death.

The doctrines of Copernicus were not at first generally adopted. The
most eminent professors in Europe adhered to the old opinions.

Among the astronomers of this period, the Landgrave of Hesse deserves
particular praise, who erected a magnificent observatory at the top
of the Castle of Cassel, and made many observations himself, in
conjunction with Christopher Rothman and Justus Burge, concerning the
place of the sun, of the planets, and of the stars.

But the person who enriched astronomy with the greatest number of facts
of any modern who had yet appeared, was Tycho Brahe, a Dane of noble
extraction, born in 1546, designed by his parents for the study of the
law; but attracted by an eclipse of the sun in 1560, at Copenhagen,
whither he had been sent to learn philosophy, he was struck with
astonishment in observing that the phenomenon happened at the very
moment it had been predicted.

He admired the art of predicting eclipses, and wished to acquire it. At
first, for want of proper instruments, he fell into several mistakes,
which, however, he afterwards corrected. Having early perceived his
future improvements must depend on instruments, he caused some to be
constructed larger than usual, and thus rendered more exact. On the
11th November, 1572, he perceived a new star in Cassiopeia, which
continued without changing its place till spring 1574, equal in
splendour to Jupiter or Venus. It last it changed colours and entirely
disappeared. Nothing similar to this had been observed since the days
of Hipparchus.

Tycho, in imitation of that illustrious astronomer, conceived a design
of forming a catalogue of the stars. To promote his views, the King of
Denmark ordered a castle to be built in Hueun, an island between Seonia
and Zealand, which Tycho called Uranibourg, “the city of heaven,” and
where he placed the finest collection of instruments that had ever
yet appeared; most of them invented or else improved by himself. He
composed a catalogue of seven hundred and seventy-seven stars, with
greater exactness than had ever been done before; and constructed
tables for finding the place of the most remarkable stars at any
given time. He was the first who determined the effect of refraction,
whereby we see the sun or any star above the horizon, before it is
so in reality; as we see the bottom of a vessel when filled with
water, standing at a distance, which we could not see when empty. He
made several other improvements and important discoveries, which he
published in a work entitled “Progymnasmata.” The labours of Tycho
attracted the attention of Europe; the learned went to consult him, and
the noble to see him. James VI. of Scotland, when he went to espouse
the sister of Frederic, King of Denmark, paid Tycho a visit, with all
his retinue, and wrote some Latin verses in his praise.

But these honours were of short continuance. After the death of his
protector, King Frederic, the pension assigned him was withdrawn, and
he was compelled to exile himself from his native country. Having hired
a ship, he transported his furniture, books, and instruments to a small
place in Hamburgh, in 1597. The Emperor Rodolphus invited him into his
dominions, settled a large pension upon him, gave him a castle near
Prague, to prosecute his discoveries, and appointed him Longomatus,
a native of Jutland, and the celebrated Kepler, to assist him. But
Tycho was not happy in his new situation; he died 14th October, 1601,
repeating several times, “I have not lived in vain.”

Kepler was one of the greatest philosophers that ever lived, and ought
to be considered as the discoverer of the _true_ system of the world.
He was born in Germany, at Wiel, near Wirtemberg, 27th December,
1571. He early imbibed the principles of Copernicus. After the death
of Tycho, he was employed to finish the tables which he had begun to
compose from his observations. Kepler took twenty years to finish them.
He dedicated them to the emperor, under the title of the “Rodolphine

Kepler united optics with astronomy, and thus made the most important
discoveries. He was the first who discovered that the _planets move
not in a circle, but in an ellipse_; and that altogether they move
sometimes faster and sometimes slower, yet that they describe equal
areas in equal times; that is, that the spaces through which they
move in different parts of their orbit, are of equal times, though
of unequal length; yet when two straight lines are drawn from the
extremity of either space to the centre of the sun, they form triangles
which include equal areas. He likewise demonstrated that the squares of
the periodical times of the revolution of the planets round the sun,
are in proportion to the cubes of their distance from him; a theorem
of the greatest use in astronomical calculations: for having the
periodical times of two planets given, and if the distance of one of
them be known, by the rule of proportion, the distance of the other can
be ascertained.

Kepler is said to have used logarithms in framing his “Rodolphine
Tables.” This great man died in poverty, 15th November, 1631, at
Ratisbon, whither he had gone to solicit the arrears of his pension,
which had been very ill paid: he left nothing to his wife and children
but the remembrance of his virtues.

Contemporary with Kepler was Galileo, born at Pisa, in Italy, in 1564;
illustrious for his improvements in mechanics, for his application
of the effects of gravity, and for the invention, or at least, the
improvement of telescopes.

The use of spectacles, or reading glasses (convex for long-sighted; and
concave for short-sighted persons,) had been invented by one Spina, a
monk at Pisa, in 1290; or, as some say, by our countryman Roger Bacon.
The use of telescopes or glasses for viewing objects at a distance,
was invented by Zachary Janssen, a spectacle-maker, at Middleburg, or
rather, as it is said, from the accidental discovery of a child. The
honour of this invention is also claimed by others. It is certain that
Galileo first improved them so as to answer astronomical purposes.
He also first made use of the single pendulum for measuring time in
making his observations; to which he was led, by considering one day
the vibrations of a lamp suspended from the vaulted roof of a church.
He likewise discovered the gravity of the atmosphere from the rising of
water in a pump, by the action of a piston, which led the way to the
invention of the barometer, by his scholar Toricelli.

The use of telescopes opened, in a manner, a new world to Galileo.
He observed with astonishment the increased magnitude and splendour
of the planets and their satellites, formerly invisible: which
afforded additional proofs of the veracity of the Copernican system,
particularly the satellites of Jupiter, and the phasis of Venus. He
discovered an innumerable multitude of fixed stars, which the naked eye
could not discern, and what greatly excited his wonder, without the
least increase in their size or brightness.

About the same time, John Napier, of Merchiston, in Scotland, invented
what are called “Logarithms,” first published at Edinburgh in 1614,
afterwards improved by Mr. Briggs, Professor of Geometry, at Oxford,
in which, by a very ingenious contrivance, addition is made to answer
for multiplication, and subtraction for division; an invention of the
greatest utility in astronomical calculations.

Galileo was not afflicted with poverty, but with persecution. At
seventy years of age he was called before the Holy Inquisition, for
supporting opinions contrary to Scripture,--and was obliged, on the
11th of June, 1633, formally to abjure them, to avoid being burnt as
a heretic. The system of Copernicus had yet gained but few converts;
and the bulk of professions and learned men in Europe, attached to
the philosophy of Aristotle, supported the old doctrine. Galileo was
condemned to prison, and confined to the small city of Arcem, with its
territory, where he consoled himself by the study of astronomy. He
contrived a method of discovering the longitude by the satellites of
Jupiter, which, however, has not been productive of all the advantages
he expected. He died in prison, or rather in exile, in 1642.

Although there were a great number of astronomers contemporary with
Kepler and Galileo, none made any conspicuous figure. John Bayer,
of Augsburg, introduced the Jewish method of marking the stars with
letters of the Greek and Latin alphabets; this the Jews use because
their law does not permit the use of figures, the produce of fancy.

In 1732, astronomers were very attentive to observe the transit of
Venus over the disc of the sun, which Kepler had predicted, as a
confirmation of the system of Copernicus. Mercury was observed by
Gassendi in France, and some others; but the transit of Venus did not
then take place for their inspection.

The transit of Venus was first seen by Jeremiah Horrox, of Hoole,
an obscure village, fifteen miles north of Liverpool, on the 24th of
November, 1639, and at the same time by his friend, William Crabtree,
at Manchester. Horrox was born in 1619, and died in 1641, in the
twenty-third year of his age. He wrote an account of his observations,
which were published after his death, under the title of “Venus in Sole
visa,” by Hevelius.

The Copernican system was first publicly defended in England, by Dr.
Wilkins, in 1660; in France, by Gassendi, the son of a peasant in
Provence, who published many valuable works on Philosophy. He was born
in 1592, and died in 1655. He was violently opposed by Morin, a famous

Descartes, descended from a noble family, the son of a counsellor of
Brittany, in France, born at Haye, in Tourraine, 31st of March, 1596,
early distinguished himself by his knowledge in algebra and geometry.
He attacked and overturned the philosophy of Aristotle, in his own
country. He attempted to establish certain principles, which, though
founded in theory, he took for granted, by which he accounted for all
appearances. Like Mochus and Democritus, he imagined all space to be
filled with corpuscules, or atoms, in continual agitation, and denied
the possibility of a vacuum. He explained everything by supposing
vortices, or motions round a centre, according to the opinions of
Democritus, and thus discovered the centrifugal force in the circular
motion of the planets. But the system of Descartes not being founded on
facts or experiments, did not subsist long: although at first it had
many followers. His astronomical opinions were much the same with those
of Copernicus.

Although the lively notions of Descartes led him into error, yet his
exalted views greatly contributed to the improvement of science. Men
were led to observation and experiments, in order to overturn his
system, and astronomy was cultivated by persons of ability; viz.,
Bouillard, at Paris; Ward, at Oxford, 1653; and by Helvelius, at
Dantzic, 1643, who constructed a fine observatory, and collected a
great many facts by his long assiduous observation, for fifty years,
during which he made many discoveries concerning the planets, fixed
stars, and particularly comets. Colbert, in the name of Louis XIV.,
sent him a sum of money and a pension. Hevelius published a catalogue
of fixed stars, entitled, “Firmamentum Sobieskianum,” dedicated to
John Sobieski, King of Poland, at that time justly famous for having
raised the siege of Vienna, when attacked by the Turks, 1683. In honour
of whom Helvelius formed a new constellation between Antinonus and
Serpenterius, called _Sobieski’s Shield_.

But the most distinguished astronomer of that time was Christian
Huygens, son to the secretary of the Prince of Orange, born at the
Hague, 14th of April, 1629, and educated at Leyden, under Schooten, the
commentator on Descartes,--famous for the application of pendulums to
clocks and springs to watches, for the improvement of telescopes and
microscopes, and for the great discoveries he made, in consequence of
these improvements in astronomy.

The establishment of academies, or societies, at this time, contributed
greatly to the advancement of science.

The Royal Society, in London, was begun in 1659, but did not assume a
regular form till 1662. Its transactions were first published in 1665.
The Academy of Sciences, at Paris, was founded in 1686, by Louis XIV.,
who invited to it Rœmer, from Denmark, Huygens and Cassini from Italy.

Cassini was born at Perinaldo, in the county of Nice, on the 8th of
June, 1625, and was appointed first professor in the Royal Observatory
at Paris, where he prosecuted his discoveries till his death, in 1712,
and was succeeded by his son. He was assisted by Picard, Auzoul, and La

By the direction of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, a voyage was
undertaken by Riecher and Meurisse, at the king’s expense, to the
island of Caienne, in South America, almost under the equator, in 1672,
to ascertain several philosophical facts;--the refraction of light,
the parallax of Mars, and of the Sun, the distance of the tropics, the
variation in the motion of the pendulum, &c.

The parallax of the sun is the angle under which an observer at the
sun would see the earth: this Cassini fixed at 9½ seconds, and the
angle under which we see the sun, at 16 minutes and 6 seconds, or 966
seconds; hence he concluded that these semi-diameters, are as 9½ to
966, or as 10 to 1932. So that, according to Cassini, the semi-diameter
of the earth is one hundred times less than that of the sun; and
consequently the sun is a million times larger than the earth.

The parallax of the sun has since, from the transit of Venus, 6th of
June, 1761, and 3rd of June, 1769, been discovered to be but about 8
seconds, consequently his comparative bulk to that of the earth, and
his distance from it, to be proportionably greater. The method of
finding the distance of the earth from the sun, and consequently of the
other planets, was first proposed by Dr. Halley, who had never seen,
and was morally certain he would never see, this appearance.

Meurisse died during the voyage. Riecher returned in 1676. His answer
to the parallax of Mars was not satisfactory. Cassini calculated it at
15 seconds.

The distance of the tropics was found to be 46 degrees, 57 minutes, 4
seconds. The chief advantage resulting from the voyage was ascertaining
the vibration of the pendulum. In 1669, Placard remarked that clocks
went slower in summer than in winter, owing to, as since ascertained,
that it is the property of heat to dilate bodies, which consequently
lengthens the pendulum; that cold produces an opposite effect. Riecher
found that the pendulum made forty-eight vibrations less at Caienne
than at Paris; that it went two minutes and twenty seconds a day
slower; hence, to adjust, he was obliged to shorten the pendulum.

The same fact was confirmed by Halley, while at St. Helena, 1676. But
an additional reason for this variation is presumed to exist, from the
machinery being further removed from the central axis of the earth; the
gravitating principle is presumed to be diminished at the equator more
than it is when nearer the poles.

About this time the French Jesuit missionaries, having got admission
into China, contributed greatly to the improvement of their astronomy.
Father Schaal, one of their number, on account of his merit, and
particularly for his skill in astronomy, was so highly honoured by
the court of China, that the emperor, upon his death-bed, made him
preceptor to his son and successor. Schaal reformed the Kalendar, a
matter of great importance to that country. It was further improved
by Verbiest, who succeeded Schaal, about 1670. The most eminent
astronomers in England during this period were Flamstead, Halley, and

Sir Isaac Newton was born at Woolstrope, in Lincoln, December 25, 1642;
after due preparation he was admitted in the University of Cambridge.
The rapidity of his progress in mathematical knowledge was truly
astonishing. At the age of twenty-four, he had laid the foundation of
the most important mathematical discoveries. He is the first who gave
a rational and complete account of the laws which regulate planetary
motion, on the principles of attraction and gravitation. Newton was as
remarkable for a modest diffidence of his own abilities, as for the
superiority of his genius. In 1704, he published his “Optics;” in 1711,
his “Fluxions;” and in 1728, his “Chronology.” He received in his life
time the honour due to his singular merit. In 1703, he was elected
President of the Royal Society. In 1705, he received the honour of
knighthood by Queen Anne.--He was twice member of parliament. In 1669,
he was made master of the mint, which, with the presidency of the Royal
Society, he held till his death, in 1726. He was buried in Westminster
Abbey, where there is an appropriate monument to his memory.

The system of Newton had an eminent supporter and able annotator in
the very eminent Scottish professor, Colin Mac Laurin, who was born
in the month of February, 1698. In 1719, he travelled to London,
where he was introduced to the illustrious Newton, whose notice and
friendship he obtained, and ever after reckoned as the greatest honour
and happiness of his life. In 1734, Dr. Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne,
published his treatise, called “The Analyst,” in which he attempted
to charge mathematicians with infidelity in matters of religion. This
work was the occasion of Mac Laurin’s elaborate “Treatise on Fluxions,”
published at Edinburgh, in 1742, which is reckoned the most ample
treatise on that branch of novel mathematics which has yet appeared. So
very eminent was Mac Laurin’s skill in mathematics, and the principles
of anatomical science, and he possessed such excellent instruments for
these purposes, that a new theory never appeared, nor did anything
transpire in the scientific world, which was uncommon, but his friends
constantly resorted to him for explanation and experiment, and their
laudable curiosity was sure to be satisfactorily gratified.

One of the greatest names in the modern history of astronomical
discovery is that of the late Sir William Herschel; and, much to his
praise, he was self-instructed in the science in which he earned his
high reputation. Herschel was born at Hanover, in 1736, and was the
son of a musician in humble circumstances. Brought up to his father’s
profession, at the age of fourteen he was placed in the band of the
Hanoverian Guards. A detachment of this regiment having been ordered
to England in the year 1757, he and his father accompanied it; but
the latter returned to Germany in a few months, and left his son to
try his fortune in London. For a long time he had many difficulties
to contend with, and he passed several years principally in giving
lessons in music in the different towns in the North of England. At
last, in 1765, through the interest of a gentleman to whom his merits
had become known, he obtained the situation of organist at Halifax; and
next year, having gone to fulfil a short engagement at Bath, he gave
so much satisfaction by his performances, that he was appointed to the
same office in the Octagon Chapel of that city, upon which he went to
reside there. The place which he now held was of some value; and from
the opportunities which he enjoyed of adding to its emoluments, by
engagements at the rooms and private concerts, as well as by taking
pupils, he had had the prospect of deriving a good income from his
profession, if he had made that his only or his chief object.

During his residence at Bath, although greatly occupied with
professional engagements, the time he devoted to his mathematical
studies was surprising. Often, we are told, after a fatiguing day’s
work of fourteen or sixteen hours among his pupils, he would, on
returning home at night, repair for relaxation to what many would
deem these severer exercises. In this manner, in the course of time,
he attained a competent knowledge of geometry, and found himself in a
condition to proceed to the study of the different branches of physical
science which depend upon the mathematics. Among the first of the
latter that attracted his attention, were the kindred departments of
astronomy and optics. Having applied himself to these sciences, he
became desirous of beholding with his own eyes those wonders of the
heavens of which he had read so much, and for that purpose he borrowed
from an acquaintance a two-feet Gregorian telescope. This instrument
interested him so greatly, that he determined to procure one of his
own, and commissioned a friend in London to purchase one for him, of a
somewhat larger size. But he found the price was beyond what he could
afford. To make up for this disappointment, he resolved to construct a
telescope for himself; and after encountering innumerable difficulties
in the progress of his task, he at last succeeded, in the year 1774, in
completing a five-feet Newtonian reflector. This was the commencement
of a long and brilliant course of triumphs in the same walk of art, and
also in that of astronomical discovery. Herschel now became so much
more ardently attached to his philosophical pursuits, that, regardless
of the sacrifice of emolument he was making, he begun gradually to
limit his professional engagements, and the number of his pupils.

Meanwhile he continued to employ his leisure in the fabrication of
still more powerful instruments than the one he had first constructed;
and in no long time he produced telescopes of seven, ten, and even
twenty feet focal distance. In fashioning the mirrors for these
instruments, his perseverance was indefatigable. For his seven-feet
reflector, we have been informed that he actually finished and made
trial of no fewer than two hundred mirrors before he found one that
satisfied him. When he sat down to prepare a mirror, his practice
was to work at it for twelve or fourteen hours, without quitting his
occupation for a moment. He would not even take his hand from what he
was about, to help himself to food; and the little he ate on such
occasions was put into his mouth by his sister. He gave the mirror a
proper shape, more by a certain natural tact than by rule; and when his
hand was once in, as the phrase is, he was afraid that the perfection
of the finish might be impaired by the least intermission of his

It was on the 13th of March, 1781, that Herschel made the discovery to
which he owes, perhaps, most of his reputation. He had been engaged
for nearly a year and a half in making a survey of the heavens, when,
on the evening of the day that has been mentioned, having turned his
reflector (an excellent seven feet reflector of his own constructing)
to a particular part of the sky, he observed among the other stars one
which seemed to shine with a more steady radiance than those around it;
and on account of that and other peculiarities in its appearance, which
excited his suspicions, he determined to observe it more narrowly. On
reverting to it after some hours, he was a good deal surprised to find
that it had perceptibly changed its place--a fact which the next day
became more indisputable. At first he was somewhat in doubt whether
or not it was the same star which he had seen on these different
occasions; but, after continuing his observations for a few days
longer, all uncertainty upon that head vanished. He now communicated
what he had observed to the astronomer royal, who concluded the
luminary could be nothing else than a new comet. Continued observation
of it, however, for a few months, dissipated this error; and it became
evident that it was in reality a hitherto undiscovered planet. This new
world so unexpectedly found to form a part of the system to which our
own belongs, received from Herschel, the name of the _Georgium Sidus_,
or Georgian Star, in honour of the King of England; but by continental
astronomers it has been more generally called either _Herschel_, after
its discoverer, or _Uranus_. Subsequent observations, made chiefly by
Herschel himself, have ascertained many particulars regarding it, some
of which are well calculated to fill us with astonishment at the powers
of the sublime science which can wing its way so far into the immensity
of space, and bring us back information so precise and various. In
the first place, the diameter of this new globe has been found to be
nearly four and a half times larger than that of our own. Its size
altogether is about eighty times that of our earth. Its year is as long
as eighty-three of ours.

Its distance from the sun is nearly eighteen hundred millions of miles,
or more than nineteen times that of the earth. Its density, as compared
with that of the earth, is nearly as twenty-two to one hundred; so
that its entire weight is more than eighteen times that of our planet.
Finally the force of gravitation near its surface is such, that falling
bodies descend only through fourteen feet during the first second,
instead of thirty-two feet as with us. Herschel afterwards discovered
no fewer than six satellites, or moons, belonging to his new planet.

The announcement of the discovery of the Georgium Sidus at once made
Herschel’s name universally known. In the course of a few months the
king bestowed on him a pension of three hundred pounds a year, that
he might be able entirely to relinquish his engagements at Bath; and
upon this he came to reside at Slough, near Windsor. He now devoted
himself entirely to science; and the construction of telescopes, and
observations of the heavens, continued to form the occupations of the
remainder of his life. Astronomy is indebted to him for many other most
interesting discoveries besides the celebrated one of which we have
just given an account, as well as a variety of speculations of the most
ingenious, original, and profound character. But of these we cannot
here attempt any detail. He also introduced some important improvements
into the construction of the reflecting telescope--beside continuing
to fabricate that instrument of dimensions greatly exceeding any that
had been formerly attempted, with the powers surpassing in nearly a
corresponding degree, what had ever been before obtained. The largest
telescope which he ever made, was his famous one of forty feet long,
which he erected at Slough for the king. It was begun about the end
of the year 1785, and on the 28th of August, 1789, the enormous tube
was poised on the complicated but ingeniously contrived mechanism by
which its movements were to be regulated, and ready for use. On the
same day a new satellite of Saturn was detected by it, being the sixth
which had been observed attendant upon that planet. A seventh was
afterwards discovered by means of the same instrument. This telescope
has been taken down and replaced by another of only half the length,
constructed by Mr. J. Herschel, the distinguished son of the subject
of our present sketch. Herschel himself eventually became convinced
that no telescope could surpass, in magnifying power, one of from
twenty to twenty-five feet in length. The French astronomer, Lalande,
states that he was informed by George III. himself, that it was at his
desire that Herschel was induced to make the telescope at Slough of the
extraordinary length he did, his own wish being that it should not be
more than thirty feet long.

So extraordinary was the ardour of this great astronomer in the study
of his favourite science, that for many years it has been asserted,
he never was in bed at any hour during which the stars were visible.
And he made almost all his observations, whatever was the season of
the year, not under cover, but in his garden, in the open air--and
generally without an attendant. There was much that was peculiar to
himself, not only in the process by which he fabricated his telescopes,
but also in his manner of using them. One of the attendants in the
king’s observatory at Richmond, who had formerly been a workman in
Ramsden’s establishment, was forcibly reminded, on seeing Herschel
take an observation, of a remark which his old master had made.
Having just completed one of his best telescopes, Ramsden, addressing
himself to his workman, said, “This, I believe, is the highest degree
of perfection we opticians by profession will ever arrive at; if any
improvement of importance shall ever after this be introduced in the
making of telescopes, it will be by some one who has not been taught by

Some years before his death, the degree of LL.D. was conferred upon
Herschel by the University of Oxford; and in 1816, the Prince Regent
bestowed upon him the Hanoverian and Guelphic Order of Knighthood. He
died on the 23rd of August, 1822, when he was within a few months of
having completed his eighty-fourth year.

We have been thus particular in the enumeration of particulars in the
lives of those great men, who have cultivated this sublime science,
for the purpose of availing ourselves of a suggestion furnished by Dr.
Priestly, who observed, “That we could only see Newton in two points of
his career: at the bottom of the ladder, and at the top; having left no
account of his progress, it appeared as though he had broken the steps
by which he had ascended, that none should follow.”

From the facts collected by the many eminent men whose names have
ornamented our pages, we are enabled to state the following particulars
concerning that part of the universe denominated the Solar system.

The _Sun_, a luminous body diffusing light and heat; whose diameter
is computed at 890,000 miles; diurnal rotation on axis 25 days 6
hours; performs his annual revolution in orbit in 365 days 6 hours;
progressive equatorial motion in orbit per hour, 3818 miles.

_Mercury_, whose diameter is 3,000 miles, revolves in an orbit
36,481,448 miles from that of the sun. He performs his annual period
round that planet in 87 days 23 hours; his hourly equatorial motion in
orbit is 109,699 miles.

_Venus_,--her diameter is 9,330 miles; revolves in an orbit 68,891,486
miles distant from the sun; performs her annual revolution in 224 days
17 hours; diurnal rotation on axis 24 days 8 hours: hourly equatorial
motion in orbit 80,295 miles.

The _Earth_,--its diameter 7970 miles; distance of orbit from the sun
95,173,000 miles; revolves on its axis once in 24 hours; performs her
annual period round the sun in the same time the sun completes his
revolution; hourly equatorial and progressive motion in orbit 80,295

The _Moon_ is a satellite to the earth; her diameter is 2180 miles; her
diurnal rotation on axis is performed in 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes;
she performs her annual revolution round the sun in precisely the same
time as does the earth, her superior planet; her motion in orbit per
hour is 22,290 miles.

_Mars_,--his diameter is 5400 miles; distance from the sun, 145,014,148
miles; annual period round the sun 671 days, 17 hours; diurnal rotation
on axis 19 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes; hourly motion in orbit 55,287

_Jupiter_,--his diameter 94,000 miles; distance from the sun
494,990,976 miles; annual period in 11 years, 314 days, 18 hours;
diurnal rotation on axis 9 hours, 56 minutes; hourly motion in orbit
29,803 miles.

_Saturn_,--his diameter 78,000 miles; distance from the sun 907,956,130
miles; annual revolution in orbit 22 years, 167 days, 6 hours; hourly
motion in orbit 22,101 miles.

It should be observed that Jupiter has four moons, or satellites, with
a large and very luminous belt at a great distance from his surface.
Saturn also has seven moons, with a very luminous ring about 21,000
miles broad, from its uppermost to its undermost edge; and about the
same distance from its surface.

_Georgium Sidus_,--the distance of the orbit from the sun,
1,758,000,000 miles; annual revolution 28 years, 289 days; diameter
56,726 miles; has two satellites, or moons.

About 1801, 2, and 4, there were discovered three other small planets
in the system of the sun, called _Vesta_, _Juno_, and _Pallas_.

The fixed stars composing the _Zodiacal Signs_, are divided into twelve
constellations, one to each month; which asterisms were discovered by
Flamstead to consist of the following number of stars to each:

_Aries_, the Ram, 66; _Taurus_, the Bull, 141; _Gemini_, the Twins, 85;
_Cancer_, the Crab, 83; _Leo_, the Lion, 95; _Virgo_, the Virgin, 110;
_Libra_, the Scales, 51; _Scorpio_, the Scorpion, 44; _Sagitarius_, the
Archer, 69; _Capricornus_, the Goat, 51; _Aquarius_, the Water-Carrier,
108; _Pisces_, the Fishes, 113.

A comparative idea of the extent of the works of Omnipotence may be
perhaps collected, on our being informed, that the sphere where the
fixed stars appear, is presumed to be placed far beyond the most remote
planetary orbit; and that some of them are supposed to serve as suns to
illumine other systems, or worlds, to us unknown.


The sacred records inform us that the ark of Noah was the first ship,
and produced by the invention of the great Architect of Nature himself;
and “though some men have so believed,” says the learned and ingenious
Sir Walter Raleigh, in his “History of the World,” “yet it is certain
the world was planted before the flood, which could not be performed
without some transporting vessels. It is true, and the success has
proved that there was not any so capacious, nor any so strong, as to
defend themselves against so violent and so continued a pouring down of
rain, as the ark of which Noah was the builder, from the invention of
God himself. Of what fashion or fabric soever were the rest, with all
men they perished according to the ordinance of God.” And it appears
extremely probable that those testimonials, whereof Ovid speaks of
former existence, were remains of ships wrecked at the general flood.

There can be no question that the Syrians were the first maritime power
in the world, as well in point of time as importance;--but of what
species of construction their vessels were, we are not informed. Their
merchants trading to the Eastern Indies, as they did for Solomon; to
Ophir, whence they brought gold; and also to this country for tin, and
their having made three distinct descents upon America, will enable us
to maintain this our opinion. After them the Greeks, a people living
chiefly on the shores of the Hellespont and Ægean seas, with many
islands in the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Archipelagion Seas, besides
their possessions in Asia Minor, and their commerce with the European
Continent, obtained the next power by sea. We read indeed, that Minos,
the famous Cretan sovereign and legislator, who lived two descents
before the Trojan war, sent out shipping to free the Grecian seas of
pirates; which shows, as Sir Walter Raleigh ingeniously infers, that
there had been trade and war upon the waters before his time also.

The next in point of time and importance on record was the highly
renowned expedition of the Argonauts for the golden fleece to Colchis,
a country of Asia, on the Euxine sea. Immediately after this was the
colonization of Cyrene, in Africa, by Battus, one of the companions
of Jason, in his Colchian expedition. Shortly afterwards, the Grecian
states united against Phrygian treachery and the abuse of Grecian
hospitality; forming another most memorable epoch in the history of the
world. We are informed the Grecian Neptune, or as mythology styles him
a God of the Saturnian family, for the great service he did his father,
Saturn, or Noah, against the Titans, had the seas given to him. History
informs us that the first inventor of rowing vessels was a citizen
of Corinth; and likewise that the first naval war was between the
Samians and Corcyrians. The history of Ithicus, translated into Latin
by St. Jerome, affirms that Griphon, the Scythian, was the inventor
of long-boats; and Strabo also gives the honour of the invention of
the anchor to another Scythian, the famous Anacharsis, whilst Greece
herself by her historians, ascribes its invention to Eupolemus. Also,
it is said, that Icarus invented the sail, and others, various other
pieces of the component parts of ships and boats. The specification of
such other imperfect memoirs, many of fabulous appearance, may be of no
great importance.

It appears certain that among the four sons of Javan, the son of
Japhet, the grandson, and other the posterity of Noah, who peopled
the “Isles of the Gentiles,” the Grecian Islands must long before the
days of Minos have used those seas, from the insular nature of their
inhabitants. And it certainly does not appear extravagant to us, to
presume that this people were among the first who navigated the seas.
Mankind in various parts of the world, being stimulated by the same
necessities, urged by the same wants, and possessing the same means,
might probably produce similar inventions to each other. Most, indeed,
had occasion to navigate lakes, and cross rivers. They accordingly
constructed such machines as would answer their purpose of passage or
migration. So were rafts and canoes, formed of canes, osiers, twigs,
&c., where they grew, which they fashioned like boats, and then
covered with skins of various animals; others formed rafts of wood;
whilst some others fashioned canoes, having hollowed out trees for that
purpose. One way or other, each people thus possessed a marine, proper
for their purpose it is true, but in various degrees of excellence.
This was the case with Greeks as well as barbarians of all nations;
all these people, excepting the immediate descendants of Noah, might,
perhaps, lay a feasible claim to the honour of the original invention
of these articles; and, having never seen such, they virtually have
each a good title to the distinction. Indeed, many of them might have
taken the idea for such invention from the policy of certain animals,
and the nature of others; to instance the sagacity of the beaver and
his raft, and the little nautilus with his swelling sail: hence they
might have adopted from that animal, and that piscatory insect, the
idea of a raft, and also of a vessel with a sail.

In latter days we find the Teutonic Saxons first came to this country,
according to Mr. Turner, the Anglo-Saxon historian, in vessels they
called _cyules-kells_ by Sir Walter Raleigh. Marine vessels have borne
a variety of names, as well as of numerous figures, from the gondola of
the Venetian to the canoe of the Esquimaux,--the British man-of-war to
the ponderous bonaventure in which the Doge annually espouses the sea.

All those nations, too, through whose hands the maritime power has
passed, from time to time, as they have been instructed by experience,
or taught by necessity, might repeatedly have made additions and
improvements in naval architecture: some calculated for mercantile
utility, while others have only attended to warlike strength, and some
to answer both purposes, like our Indiamen. But now, the British navy,
being supplied with the best materials, and having as ingenious workmen
as any, with the addition of the warlike children of the soil, may
openly defy all nations, and proudly claim the sovereignty of the seas
where her flag has been flying ’midst the battle and the breeze for so
many years.

But the most important improvement in Navigation--propelling vessels
by steam--has been left to our own times. The steam-engine was first
applied to small vessels for the coasting or river trade; but it has
now increased to vessels of the largest size,--in fact, the most
part of the British navy are steamships. In former times before the
introduction of this valuable auxiliary, the passage between England
and America was tedious and uncertain, sometimes taking months, but
rarely less than from four to six weeks, according to the state of
the weather; but now the case is altered. There are a regular line of
steamships, one of which leaves Liverpool every week, and the voyage
is performed with almost positive certainty in from twelve to fourteen
days, independent of the rude Boreas, or the boisterous Atlantic.
These vessels are of the largest size and handsomely fitted up for the
accommodation of passengers.


A light-house, in marine architecture, is a building, or watch-tower,
erected on the sea-shore, to serve as a land-mark to mariners, on a low
coast, by day, and, in any situation, to inform them of their approach
to land in the night;--being of most essential utility in causing them
to take soundings, avoid shoals, rocks, &c.; or else it is a building
erected on a rock in the sea, which, from its situation, would be
extremely dangerous to vessels, were not some intimation given of the
existence of a rock, where it is locally situated. Of this latter
description is the celebrated Eddystone light-house, off Plymouth.

Although this species of architecture is not likely to have been
so general in extreme antiquity, because it could not have been
essentially necessary to any except to those nations who, from the
proximity of their situation to the coast, or other circumstances,
pursued maritime concerns; or to those whose connexions rendered the
encouragement of the marine of other nations important.

The oldest building of this description, which we believe to be upon
record, is the famous Pharos erected on the Egyptian coast, which,
being very low land, and exposed entirely to the almost constant west
winds coming up the Mediterranean from the vast Atlantic, must, of
necessity, have made the port of modern Alexandria, anciently called
Dalmietta, very dangerous. It was originally erected by Ptolemy
Philadelphus, for the encouragement and convenience of the Phœnicians,
who were accounted the foreign factors of that empire; as the Egyptians
possessed an unconquerable aversion to the sea, and therefore they
never obtained its sovereignty: whilst the former people were the first
who obtained the supremacy of that sea.

The island upon which Pharos stood, in the time of Homer, in his simple
geography and estimation, was said to be one day’s sail from the
Delta; whereas, since the foundation of Alexandria, it was only a mile
in distance, and was even joined to the mainland by a mole, having a
bridge at each end; or according to some authors, in the middle. The
tower was, if report be true, justly entitled to the appellation it
obtained--one of the seven wonders of the world; and it is reported,
that the light from it has been seen at the distance of a hundred
miles; which, assuredly, appears improbable, because the convexity of
the earth, we think, would not permit. Its height must have been, at
least, 2,400 feet, or 800 yards from the base.

We are enabled to furnish the following particulars of this famous
structure. It was built by order of that patron of learning and the
arts, Ptolemy Philadelphus, by that eminent architect, Sostrates, who
constructed many of the public buildings in Alexandria. It is said
to have cost Ptolemy eight hundred talents! Respecting its mode of
construction, it was raised several stories one above another; each
was decorated with columns, balustrades, and galleries of the finest
marble and most exquisite workmanship; and some have even said that
the architect had furnished the galleries with large mirrors, by which
shipping could be seen at a great distance. However, respecting this
edifice, once so famous, that its very name, Pharos, was considered
as a common term for all other constructions for the same purpose, it
is now said, from Saracenic ignorance and brutality, aided, perhaps,
by the assistance of the common leveller, Time, that nothing now
remains of this once elegant edifice, but an unsightly tower rising
out of a heap of ruins, the whole being accommodated to the inequality
of the ground on which it stands, and being, at present, no higher
than that which it should command. Such as it is, there is now a
light, we understand, usually maintained. There is also an island,
which was called Pharos, in the Adriatic sea, on the coast of Italy,
opposite Brundusium, for the same reason: likewise the celebrated
colossal statue of Apollo, at Rhodes, answered the same purpose, and
occasionally had the same appellation, as had a river of Asia, in the
environs of Cilicia and the Euphrates. This last consideration brings
us to the etymology of the word, as Ozanum says, “Pharos originally
signified a strait, as the Pharos of Messina.” Of every description of
light-houses yet known, there is none more famous than that called
Eddystone, with a description of which we shall conclude this article.

Mr. Winstanley’s light-house was begun upon the Eddystone rock in
1696, and was more than four years in building, from the numerous
interruptions of the wind and the element he had to contend with, the
violence whereof is truly alarming, occasioned by that rock being
exposed to every wind which comes up the vast Atlantic, and that
tumultuous sea, the Bay of Biscay. These obstacles were considerably
increased by the shape of the rock itself, having a regular slope
to S.W., and from the very deep sea in its vicinity, it, therefore,
receives the uncontrolled fury of those seas: meeting with no other
object whereon to break their vehement force, the effect is so great
at high water with a S.W. wind, which continues for many days, though
a calm may have succeeded, the violent action of the waters has not
ceased, but break frightfully on Eddystone. An engraving of Mr.
Winstanley’s light-house was published at the period of its erection,
from which it appears to have been a stone tower of twelve sides,
rising forty-four feet above the highest point of the rock, which, in
the dimensions on which it was built, twenty-four feet in diameter, was
ten feet lower on one side than it was upon the other; at the top was
a balustrade and platform; upon this were erected eight pillars, which
supported a dome of the same dimensions as the tower; from the top of
which arose an octagon tower, of a diameter of fifteen feet, and seven
in height. On the summit was placed the lantern, ten feet in diameter,
and twelve in height: it had a gallery surrounding it, which gave
access to the windows. The whole was surrounded by fencible iron-work.
The entry was by a solid stone door at the bottom; the whole building
was of the same material, except the aperture for the staircase. At the
bottom was a room twelve feet high for a store-room; the next story
was of the same height, which was the stateroom; and the third was of
a similar height, which was the kitchen. Those compartments occupied
the whole height to the platform. The dome above this contained the
lodging-room; the octagon above it, the look-out.

The reason why it occupied so much time in building was, because
the men could only work in the summer months. The first summer was
occupied in making holes in the rock, and fastening irons to hold the
future work. The second year was spent in erecting a solid pillar,
of fourteen feet diameter, and one hundred and twelve feet high, for
the future support of the building. The third year, it was augmented
in diameter and increased in height. This building was eventually
finished, within the time above-mentioned, at an enormous expense. It
stood the opposition of the elements. The violence of the sea was so
great, that Mr. Winstanley said it has been seen to rise upwards of
one hundred feet above the vane, whilst the sides of the building were
covered with surf as with a sheet, so that the whole house and lantern
were occasionally under water. This edifice withstood the conflict of
elements till 1703, when the architect, being at Plymouth, and desirous
of visiting it, for the purpose of inspecting some repairs, went to
it, but returned no more; for a storm arose, which left not a relic
of it standing, except the iron work, which had been fixed in the
rock. The Corporation of the Trinity House had then to erect another,
for which purpose they employed a Mr. John Rudyard, who was a silk
mercer, on Ludgate-hill. Mr. Rudyard’s mechanical ingenuity was said
to have qualified him well for the undertaking. It appears that he
erected a house made chiefly of wood, which presented many traits of
his genius. It was a conical frustrum, one hundred and fifty-six feet
in diameter at the base; its altitude sixty-two feet. At the top of
the building was a balcony, railed round; in the centre of its area
was the lantern. This building was made quite plain, excepting the
well for the staircase, which was solid for thirty-two feet. In the
centre a strong mast was erected. The building was admirably fixed to
the rock, from the very peculiar manner of making the holes to hold
iron cramps, they being made for the internal cavity to diverge on
each side, by an extreme of one inch at the depth of sixteen inches.
The cavity was first filled with tallow; the hot iron then dipped
in the same substance, put in the rock, and eventually filled with
pewter, which displaced the tallow, being heavier, the grease serving
to protect the iron from the corrosive acidity of the salt water. In
1708, it was finished so far as to receive a temporary light. It stood
forty-four years, and showed that it was liable to destruction from the
very perishable nature of its materials. However, on the 2nd December,
1755, the upper part of it taking fire, burnt downwards to its entire
consumption. The concern had been leased to a Captain Lovell; but at a
later period his possessions were distributed among a number of people,
when the care of rebuilding it was entrusted to Mr. Robert Weston, to
whom Mr. John Smeaton was recommended by the President of the Royal
Society, who appears to have been well qualified for the undertaking.
He accordingly furnished a plan for, and superintended the building
which now stands. Mr. Smeaton’s conjecture was quite different to that
of the late projector; he conceived that nothing could withstand the
action of the wind and water so well, and at the same time, prevent
such accidents as the past, as could a building whose gravity should
secure its most sure protection, He accordingly constructed his of
the most massy stones, all dovetailed into each other, formed of
Cornish-moor and Portland stone; all the joints breach each other, as
the masons term it, or on each joint occurs the central stone of the
next course. There are fourteen courses of these stones first laid in
this manner, of a great thickness each course. On the 12th June, 1757,
the first stone was laid in its place, each stone being pierced when
it was laid, a strong oak pin was driven through to pin it fast to its
place: the dovetails not fitting so close to each other, because it was
necessary to leave some space for the cement, this pin was calculated
to secure the stone till this could be applied and had fixed; the
cement used was composed of Watchet lime and _puzzolana_, or Dutch
terras, being made at the moment by mixing up in a pail, with water;
this mixture was poured upon the work, and run into every cavity and
crevice; this, however, was sometimes not exempt from the injury of the
sea; whenever it was injured, the defect was supplied by having some
oakum cut fine, and mixed with this cement, introduced into the joints;
then they were secured with a coat of plaster of Paris, _pro tempore_,
and this was never known to fail, if the work stood for one tide. In
this manner the platform was erected, all of the most solid materials,
and substantial workmanship.

On the 30th of September, 1758, the work having been continued from
the 11th of the preceding May, had arrived at the store-room floor;
here an iron chain was let into the stone, as follows: the recess being
made and the chain being well oiled before insertion, the groove which
received it was divided into four separate dams by clay; two kettles
were used, to hold a sufficiency of melted lead, eleven hundred weight;
whilst the lead was in a state of fusion, two men with ladles filled
one quarter of the groove; as soon as it set, they removed one of the
clay dams, and then filled the next quarter, pouring the liquid on the
middle of the first quarter, it melted together into the second; the
dam at the opposite end was now filled, and then the fourth; by this
means the lead was associated into one solid mass. The centring for
the floor was next set up, the outward stones being first set, and
then the inner ones. Thus the base floor was finished. The men could
work no longer than till the 7th of October that year. The winter was
spent in preparing the iron, copper, and glass work for the lantern;
and the spring in unsuccessful endeavours to discover the moorings
for the vessel which attended the works, for the occasional retreat
of the workmen. On the 5th of July the work was resumed: the stones
for building had been hitherto raised from the boats by what are
called shears, formed of two poles, with the lowermost ends extended
to a sufficient width, whilst the upper ends met in a point; here was
fastened tackle, pulleys, &c., to raise them to a sufficient height to
be swung over the building; this course was now of necessity altered;
a block with pulleys being suspended from the top, projected to a
sufficient distance, supported by beams. After the base had been formed
as described, a different mode of operation was necessary to complete
the superstructure; the work being now advanced so high as to be out of
the constant wash of the sea. Instead of grooves being formed to fasten
the stones together, they were fixed by means of iron clamps and lead.
The stones to complete the superstructure were landed, and first drawn
up by machinery, called a _jack_, through the well, in the interior of
the building, being a cavity for the staircase. The work now proceeded
more rapidly, so that by the 26th of August, the stairs and all the
masonry were finished: the iron frame for the lantern was next screwed
together in its place, and the lantern soon completed. It should have
been noticed, that after the first entry was closed, the shears were
supported by a tackle called a _guy_, attached to the top of the
shears, and hooked so far on the outside of the building; the stone
being drawn up by a windlass, the guy was drawn in to swing the stone
over the building. The balcony rails and the stone basement for the
lantern having been completed, on the 17th of September the cupola was
set up by a particular kind of shears constructed purposely, the guy in
different places being fastened to booms projecting from the several
windows of the upper rooms; the next day the ball was screwed on,
and on the 11th of October, an electrical conductor was fixed, which
finished the edifice. A light was then exhibited, which has continued
to warn the mariner ever since. An ably constructed cornice throws the
spray from off the building, so that it is often seen at Plymouth with
the appearance of a white sheet, throwing itself to double the height
of the building, which from low water mark to the apex of the ball is
one hundred feet.

We have been thus minute, because this pharos is considered to be the
best constructed of all our lighthouses.


Electricity was a property but imperfectly understood by the ancients;
indeed, it has been said, they were entirely unacquainted with it. But
we propose, shortly, to show the extent to which we are informed their
sphere of knowledge extended. This much cannot be denied, that they
were acquainted with the electrical properties of amber, of which fact
we are informed by Pliny.

Even before Pliny, however, as early as the days of Thalis, who lived
near six hundred years anterior to the Roman historian, the Miletine
philosophers ascribed the attractive power of the magnet and of amber
to animation by a vital principle. Our word “electricity” appears to
be derived from the name the Latins gave to amber, _electrum_. It is
also evident that they were acquainted with the shock of the torpedo;
although they were ignorant, as are the moderns, of the concealed cause
of this effect.

It has been asserted that the ancients knew how to collect the
electrical fire in the atmosphere; and it is also said, that it was
in an experiment of this nature that Tullus Hostilius lost his life.
Etymologists have carried us still farther back, and assert that it
was from the electrical property in the heavens that Jove obtained his
surname of Jupiter _Eliaus_. This, however, may be only conjectural.

The first discoveries made of sufficient importance to demand the
appellation of “scientific” in the science of electricity, were
effected by Dr. W. Gilbert, the result of which he gave the world, in
the year 1660, in a book then published, entitled “De Magneto,” and
Dr. Gilbert was followed in his pursuits by that celebrated scientific
character, the honourable and illustrious Boyle, and other men eminent
for that species of information.

This science was successfully cultivated in the last century by many
eminent philosophers, among whom we may mention Hawkesbee, Grey,
Muschenbrook, Doctors Franklin and Priestly, Bishop Watson, Mr.
Cavendish, and several other members of the Royal Society of England;
whilst those worthy of the true philosophic character in France did not
neglect its cultivation.

Many fatal accidents have resulted from experiments made by people
ignorant of the science. On the 6th of August, 1753, at Petersburg,
Professor Richmann lost his life by endeavouring to draw the electric
fluid into his house.

Electricity, like many others of the arcana of nature, still retains
almost as deeply shaded from human view as when its existence was first
made known. Nature appears to have certain secret operations, which
are not yet, perhaps, to be revealed.


This is the most surprising invention of modern times, and of the
greatest importance to a commercial people; by means of it intelligence
is conveyed from one end of the kingdom to another, in the twinkling
of an eye. A company was fully organised for the carrying out this
invention, which commenced its operations in 1848, and established a
system of no ordinary complication and extent. Their wires stretch
from Glasgow on the north, to Dorchester, on the south, from the east
coast, at Yarmouth, to the west, at Liverpool. These have brought
upwards of one hundred and fifty towns into instant communication
with each other. The wires set up for the use of the public alone are
upwards of nine thousand eight hundred miles in length, and extend over
a distance of two thousand and sixty miles, and, exclusive of those
running underground, and through tunnels or rivers, are stretched on
no fewer than sixty-one thousand eight hundred posts, varying from
sixteen to thirty feet in height, and of an average square of eight
inches, with an expensive apparatus of insulators and winders attached
to each. As the most trifling derangement of the wires or apparatus
will stop the communication, it is obvious that the utmost care and
watchfulness is requisite to prevent and detect accidents. Accordingly,
the whole distance is divided into districts, each district having
a superintendent, and under him several inspectors, and a staff of
workmen, batterymen, and mechanics, more or less numerous, according to
the extent over which he presides.--When we consider these things, in
conjunction with the central staff of engineers, secretaries, &c., at
the head-establishment in London, a maximum charge of one penny per
mile cannot be considered an exorbitant demand for the accommodation
afforded to the public in keeping open so many receiving stations,
and the maintenance of the expensive establishments. The telegraphic
system is designed for important and urgent messages, and it may be
safely averred that not one despatch in a hundred has been as yet
forwarded by it, which has not been by many times worth more than the
sum paid by the sender. A commercial house in Liverpool will scarcely
grudge 8s. 6d. for a communication by which a necessary payment may be
made, an important order given, or a profitable operation facilitated
in London; and the message from Glasgow, which traverses a distance
of five hundred and twenty miles in an instant, to summon a son from
the metropolis, it may be, to the bedside of a dying parent, cannot
be judged exorbitant at a charge of 14s., considerably less than one
halfpenny per mile.

Messrs. Wilmer and Smith, of Liverpool, publishers of the “European
Times,” have arranged the most admirable code of signals in the world;
and by the use of forty-eight letters are capable of transmitting
intelligence equal to half a column of an ordinary newspaper. The
telegraphic company disapprove of this species of short-hand, and,
therefore, charge for the forty-eight letters 13s. This Messrs. Wilmer
and Smith consider excessive, as they have forwarded similar messages
by telegraph, four thousand miles in America, for 8s., and from
Philadelphia to New York for 1s. These gentlemen, therefore, consider
they have cause to find fault with the company in reference to charges
for communications in cipher.


The Steam-Engine is one of the most important of human discoveries, and
is certainly one of those which afford the greatest portion of ease
and advantage to the human species, as well in the operation of its
cause, as in its ultimate effects. The most powerful of machines had
its origin from the single idea of one individual of our own nation. It
has been, from time to time, improved by different individuals, also
natives of Britain, the precise period of which improvements can be
traced, and their effects fortunately ascertained.

Although we should observe, that the first principle of this mechanical
power was discovered by some of the ancient nations, many ages before
that which gave the origin to the present practised invention, but
from the state of information, it is conceived, to answer no purpose
of utility. It may be said to have occurred in a small machine which
the ancients called an _Æolipila_ (the bull of Æolus) consisting of
a hollow ball of metal, with a slender neck, or pipe, also of metal,
having a small orifice entering into the ball, by means of a screw;
this pipe being taken out, the ball being filled with water, and the
pipe again screwed in, the ball is heated--there issues from the
orifice, when sufficiently hot, a vapour, with great violence and
noise; care was required that this should not be by accident stopped,
if it were, the machine would infallibly burst, and perhaps, to the
danger of the lives of all in its vicinity, so immense is its power.

Another way of introducing the water was first to heat the ball
when empty, and then suddenly to immerse it in water. Descartes,
in particular, has used this instrument to account for the natural
generation of winds. Chauvin thinks it might be employed instead of
bellows, to blow a fire. It would admirably serve to fumigate a room,
being filled with perfume instead of common water. It is said to have
been applied to clear chimneys of their soot, a practice still alleged
to be common in Italy. Dr. Plott, in his “History of Staffordshire,”
records this singular custom, where the Æolipila is used to blow the
fire. “The lord of the mannor of Essington is bound by his tenure to
drive a goose, every New Year’s day, three times round the hall of the
Lord of Hilton, while Jack of Hilton, a brazen Æolipila, blows the
fire.” The last circumstance we shall mention of this instrument, has
relation to an antique one, discovered whilst digging the Basingstoke
canal, representing a grotesque metallic figure, in which the blast
proceeded from the mouth. This figure is now in the possession of the
Society of Antiquaries of London. In this instrument, the uncommon
elastic force of steam was recognised before the suggestion of the
Marquis of Worcester, which follows:

“In 1655, or subsequent thereto, the Marquis of Worcester published
the earliest account of the application of this power for the
purposes of utility, and suggested it as applicable to raising water.
‘Sixty-eight. An admirable and most forcible way to drive up water by
fire; not by drawing or sucking it upwards, for that would be what
the philosopher calleth it, _intra spherum actroctatis_, which is,
but at such a distance. But this way has no bounder, if the vessel be
strong enough; for I have taken a whole piece of cannon, whereof the
end was burst, stopping and screwing up the broken end, as also the
touch-hole; and making a constant fire under it, within twenty-four
hours it burst and made a great crack: so that having a way to make
my vessels, so that they are strengthened by the force within them,
and the one to fill after the other, I have seen the water run like a
constant fountain stream, forty feet high; one vessel of cold water
being consumed, another begins to force and refill with cold water,
and so successively; the fire being tended and kept constant, which
the self-same person may likewise abundantly perform, in the interim
between the necessity of turning the cocks.’”

The marquis’s ingenuity did not, it appears, meet with that attention
which it deserved, from those to whom his communication was addressed.
In the article of steam it has been since very much improved, and
is acted upon for the most useful of purposes; also his ideas for
short-hand telegraphs, floating baths, escutcheons for locks, moulds
for candles, and a mode to disengage horses from a carriage, after they
have taken fright; which, with several others, proclaim the originality
and ingenuity of the mind of this nobleman--an honour which very few of
the British nobility aspire to.

Since his time, another design upon the same principle has been
projected by Captain Thomas Savery, a commissioner of sick and
wounded, who in the year 1691 obtained a patent for “a new invention
for raising water, and occasioning motion to all sorts of mill-work,
by the impellant force of fire.” This patent bears date the 25th of
July, sixteenth of William III., A. D. 1698. The patent states that the
invention will be of great use for drawing of mines, serving towns with
water, and working all sorts of mills. “Mr. Savery, June 14th, 1699,
entertained the Royal Society with showing a model of his engine for
raising water by help of fire, which he set to work before them; the
experiment succeeded according to expectation.”

The above memoir is accompanied with a copperplate figure, with
references by way of description; from whence it appears, that the
engine then shown by Captain Savery was for raising water, not only by
the expansive force of steam, like the Marquis of Worcester’s, but also
by the condensation of steam, the water being raised by the pressure
of a rarified atmosphere to a given height, by the expansive force of
steam, in the same manner as the Marquis proposed. This action was
performed alternately in two receivers, so that while the vacuum formed
in one was drawing up water from the well, the pressure of steam in
the other was forcing up water into the reservoir; but both receivers
being supplied by one suction-pipe and one forcing-pipe, the engine
could be made to keep a continual stream, so as to suffer very little
interruption. This engine of Captain Savery’s displays much ingenuity,
and is almost as perfect in its contrivance as the same engine has been
made since his time. We regret, that without a figure we cannot supply
a perfect description of it.

However, it appears that it was necessary to have two boilers, or
vessels of copper, one large and the other smaller: those boilers have
a gauge-pipe inserted into the smaller boiler, within about eight
inches of its bottom, and about the centre of the side of the larger
boiler; the small boiler must be quite full of water, and the larger
one only about two-thirds full. The fire is then to be lighted beneath
the larger boiler, to make the water boil, by which means the steam
being confined, will be greatly compressed, and will, therefore, on
opening a way for it to issue out (which is done by pushing the handle
of a regulator from the operator), rush with great violence through a
steam-pipe into a receiver, driving out all the air before it, sending
it up into a force-pipe through a clack, as may be perceived from its
noise; when the air is expelled, the receiver will be very much heated
by the steam. When it is thoroughly emptied of atmospheric air, and
grown very hot, which may be both seen and felt, then the handle of
the regulator is to be drawn towards the operator, by which means the
first steam-pipe will be stopped, so that no more steam can rise into
the first receiver, by which means a second receiver will be filled
in like manner. Whilst this is doing, some cold water must be poured
on the first receiver, by which means the steam in it will be cooled,
and thereby condensed into smaller room: consequently the pressure
in the valve, or cock, at the bottom of the receiver--there being
nothing to counterbalance the atmospheric pressure at the surface of
the receiver in the inner part of the sucking-pipe, it will be pressed
up into the receiver, driving up before it the valve at the bottom,
which afterwards falling again, prevents the descent of the water that
way. Then the first receiver being, at the same time, emptied of its
air, push the handle of the regulator, and the steam which rises from
the boiler will act upon the surface of the water contained in the
first receiver, where the force or pressure on it still increasing its
elasticity, till it exceeds the weight of a column of water in another
receiving-pipe, then it will necessarily drive up through the passage
into the force-pipe, and eventually discharge itself at the top of the

After the same manner, though alternately, is the first receiver
filled and emptied of water, and by this means a regular stream kept
continually running out of the top of a force-pipe, and so the water is
raised very often from the bottom of a mine, to the place where it is
meant to be discharged.

It should be added, that after the machine begins to work, and the
water has risen into and filled the force-pipe, it fills also a
little cistern, and by that means fills another pipe, called the
condensing-pipe, which may be turned either way, over any of the
receivers, when either is thoroughly heated by, the steam, to condense
it within, thereby producing a vacuum, which absorbs the water out
of the well into the receiver, on the principle of a syphon. Also a
little above the cistern goes another pipe to convey the water from the
force-pipe into the lesser boiler, for the purpose of replenishing
the great boiler, when the water in it begins to be almost consumed.
Whenever there is occasion for this, the cock is to be turned which
communicates between the force-pipe and the lesser boiler, to close
it effectually; at the same time having put a little fire beneath the
small boiler, which will grow hot; its own steam, which has no vent to
escape, pressing on its surface, will force the water up another pipe,
through an aperture in the great boiler, and so long will it run, till
the surface of the water gets so low as to be beneath the bottom of the
pipe of communication--then the steam and water running together, will
cause the valve (called a clack) to strike, which will intimate to the
operator that it has discharged itself into the greater boiler, and
carried in as much water as is then necessary; after which, by turning
a cock, as much fresh water is let in as may be necessary; and then, by
turning another cock, new fresh water is let out of a recipient into
the less boiler as before; and thus the engine is supplied without fear
of decay, or any delay in the operations; and proper attention in the
workmen is only necessary to prevent disorder in a machine so expensive
and complicated.

Also, to know when the great boiler wants replenishing, turn the
gauge-cock; if water comes out, it does not need a supply; but if steam
alone, then the want of water is certain. The like with the cock with
which the lesser boiler is prepared for the same purpose, when the
same state will be marked by like results. In working this engine,
very little skill, and less labour is required: _Attention_ is the
chief requisite; it is only to be injured by want of due care, extreme
stupidity, or wilful neglect.

The engine described above, does not differ essentially from that first
designed by the inventor, Captain Savery; the chief alteration which
now occurs, is only in some few slight particulars. For example, the
original engine had only one boiler, and there was no ready means for
supplying it with water, to remedy the waste occasioned by evaporation
of steam, without stopping the action of the engine, whenever the
boiler was emptied to such a degree as to risk burning the vessel.
After it was replenished the machine had to remain idle till the steam
was raised, thus causing an immense loss of time; which is remedied by
the application of a second boiler.

The description of the engine formerly mentioned is transcribed from
Mr. Savery’s publication, “The Miner’s Friend,” and which had a
subsidiary boiler, with water of a boiling heat, always ready to supply
the large boiler; and the power of steam raised in it is employed to
force the water into the larger boiler, to replace the waste occasioned
by evaporation from that boiler; by this means the transposition of
the feeding water is not only speedily performed, but being itself of
a boiling heat, it is instantly ready to produce steam for carrying
on the work. There is also one more grand improvement in the modern
machine: the first engine was worked by four separate cocks, which the
operator was compelled to turn separately at every change of stroke;
if he turned them wrong, he was not only liable to damage the engine,
but he prevented its effect, and, at the same time, lost a part of
the operation: whereas, in the improved engine, the communications
are made by a double sliding valve, or, as it has since been termed,
regulator; that is, a brass plate, shaped like a fan, and moving on a
centre within the boiler, so as to slide horizontally in contact with
the under surface of the cover of the boiler, to which it is accurately
fitted by grinding, and thus, at pleasure, opens or shuts the orifices,
or entries, to the steam pipes of the two receivers alternately. This
regulator acts with less friction than a cock of equal bore, and, by
the motion of a single handle backwards, at once opens the proper steam
pipe from one receiver, and closes that which belongs to the other
receiver. Captain Savery, in his publication before noticed, describes
the uses to which this machine may be applied, besides those before
described, viz.--1, to serve water for turning all sorts of mills; 2,
for supplying palaces, noblemen and gentlemen’s houses with water, and
affording the means for extinguishing fires therein, by the water so
raised; 3, the supplying cities and towns with water; 4, draining fens
and marshes; 5, for ships; 6, for draining mines of water; and 7, for
preventing damps in mines.

Dr. Desaguliers, we conceive, ungenerously attacked Captain Savery’s
reputation, by alleging that this was not an original invention, and
that he was indebted for the first idea to the previously mentioned
plan of the Marquis of Worcester. Dr. Rees, with a generous liberality
worthy his great critical discrimination, scientific skill, and
general erudition, has, we think, ably defended the captain’s
character, by proving his ideas to have originated with himself; we
have only an opportunity to notice the most prominent features in this
justification, where Dr. Rees thus expresses himself. “We know that the
Marquis of Worcester gave no hint concerning the _contractibility or
condensation of steam, upon which all the merit of the modern engine
depends_. The Marquis of Worcester’s engine was actuated wholly by the
elastic power of steam, which he either found out, or proved by the
bursting of cannon in part filled with water; and not the least hint
that steam so expanded, is capable of being so far contracted in an
instant, as to leave the space it occupied in a vessel, and occasion,
in a great measure, a vacuum.”

Subsequent to the Marquis of Worcester’s, and Captain Savery’s original
ideas, and also, subsequent to the perfection the captain had brought
his machine to, M. Amonton, a native of France, invented a machine
which he called a fire-wheel; but it does not appear that it was ever
brought to that perfection to be conducive to real utility, although
it was certainly very ingenious.

Also, M. Papin, a native of Germany, made some pretensions to what
he alleged was an invention of his own, only it happened to appear,
unfortunately for his claim, that he was in London, and present at the
time when Captain Savery exhibited the model of his steam-engine to the
Royal Society. He made some unsuccessful experiments, by order of his
patron, the Landgrave of Hesse, which sufficiently proved that, if he
was the inventor, he did not understand the nature of his own machine.

Not long after Savery had invented his engine, Thomas Newcomen, an
ironmonger, and John Calley, a glazier, began to direct their attention
to the employment of steam as a mechanic power. Their first engine
was constructed about the year 1711. This machine still acted on the
principle of condensing the steam by means of cold water, and the
pressure of the atmosphere on the piston. It was found of great value
in pumping water from deep mines; but the mode of its construction, the
great waste of fuel, the continued cooling and heating of the cylinder,
and the limited capacities of the atmosphere in impelling the piston
downward, all tended to circumscribe its utility.

The steam-engine was in this state, when it happily attracted the
attention of Mr. Watt, to whom the merit and honour is due, of having
first rendered this invention available as a mechanical agent. We
cannot illustrate the improvements of this ingenious individual better
than by giving a short biographical sketch of him to whom the world is
so much indebted.

James Watt was born at Greenock, an extensive seaport in the west of
Scotland, on the 19th of January, 1736. His father was a merchant, and
also one of the magistrates of that town. He received the rudiments of
his education in his native place; but his health being then extremely
delicate, as it continued to be to the end of his life, his attendance
at school was not always very regular. He amply made up, however, for
what he lost in this way, by the diligence with which he pursued his
studies at home, where, without any assistance, he succeeded, at a
very early age, in making considerable proficiency in various branches
of knowledge. Even at this time it is said his favourite study was
mechanical science, to a love of which he was probably in some degree
led by the example of his grandfather and his uncle, both of whom had
been teachers of mathematics, and had left a considerable reputation
for learning and ability in that department. Young Watt, however, was
not indebted to any instruction of theirs for his own acquirements in
science, the former having died two years before, and the latter one
year after he was born. At the age of eighteen he was sent to London,
to be apprenticed to a maker of mathematical instruments; but in
little more than a year the state of his health forced him to return
to Scotland; and he never received any further instruction in his
profession. A year or two after this, however, a visit which he paid
to some relations in Glasgow, suggested to him the plan of attempting
to establish himself in that city, in the line for which he had been
educated. In 1757, he accordingly removed thither, and was immediately
appointed mathematical instrument maker to the College. In this
situation he remained for some years, during which, notwithstanding
almost constant ill health, he continued both to prosecute his
profession, and to labour in the general cultivation of his mind,
with extraordinary ardour and perseverance. Here also he enjoyed the
intimacy and friendship of several distinguished persons, who were then
members of the University, especially of the celebrated Dr. Black, the
discoverer of the principle of latent heat, and Dr. Robison, so well
known by his treatises on mechanical science, who was then a student,
and about the same age as himself. Honourable, however as his present
appointment was, and important as were many of the advantages to
which it introduced him, he probably did not find it a very lucrative
one; and therefore, in 1763, when about to marry, he removed from his
apartments in the University, to a house in the city, and entered upon
the profession of a general engineer.

For this his genius and scientific attainments most admirably
qualified him. Accordingly he soon acquired a high reputation, and
was extensively employed in making surveys and estimates for canals,
harbours, bridges, and other public works. His advice and assistance
were sought for in almost all the important improvements of this
description, which were now undertaken or proposed in his native
country. But another pursuit, in which he had been for some time
privately engaged, was destined ere long to withdraw him from this line
of exertion, and to occupy his whole mind with an object still more
worthy of its extraordinary powers.

While yet residing in the College, his attention had been directed to
the employment of steam as a mechanical agent, by some speculations of
his friend Mr. Robison, with regard to the practicability of applying
it to the movement of wheel-carriages; and he had also himself made
some experiments with Papin’s digester, with the view of ascertaining
its expansive force. He had not prosecuted the inquiry, however, so
far as to have arrived at any determinate result, when the winter
of 1763-4, a small model of Newcomen’s engine was sent him by the
Professor of Natural Philosophy, to be repaired, and fitted for
exhibition in the class. The examination of this model set Watt upon
thinking anew, and with more interest than ever, on the powers of
steam. Struck with the radical imperfections of the atmospheric engine,
he began to turn in his mind the possibility of employing steam in
mechanics, in some new manner which should enable it to work with
much more powerful effect. This idea having got possession of him,
he engaged in an extensive course of experiments, for the purpose of
ascertaining as many facts as possible with regard to the properties
of steam; and the pains he took in this investigation were rewarded
with several valuable discoveries. The rapidity with which water
evaporates he found, for instance, depended simply upon the quantity
of heat which was made to enter it; and this again, on the extent of
the surface exposed to the fire. He also ascertained the quantity of
coals necessary for the evaporation of any given quantity of water,
the heat at which water boils, under various pressures, and many other
particulars of a similar kind, which had never before been accurately

Thus prepared by a complete knowledge of the properties of the agent
with which he had to work, he next took into consideration, with a view
to their amendment, what he deemed the two great defects of Newcomen’s
engine. The first of these was the necessity arising from the method
employed to concentrate the steam, of cooling the cylinder, before
every stroke of the piston, by the water injected into it. On this
account, a much more powerful application of heat than would otherwise
have been requisite was demanded for the purpose of again heating that
vessel when it was to be refilled with steam. In fact, Watt ascertained
that there was thus occasioned, in the feeding of the machine, a waste
of not less than three-fourths of the whole fuel employed. If the
cylinder, instead of being thus cooled for every stroke of the piston,
could be permanently hot, a fourth part of the heat which had hitherto
been applied would be found sufficient to produce steam enough to fill
it. How then was this desideratum to be obtained? Savery, the first who
really constructed a working engine, and whose arrangements, as we have
already remarked, all showed a very superior ingenuity, employed the
method of throwing cold water over the outside of the vessel containing
the steam--a perfectly manageable process, but at the same time a very
wasteful one; inasmuch as every time it was repeated, it cooled not
only the steam, but the vessel also, which, therefore, had again to
be heated, by a large expenditure of fuel, before the steam could be
produced. Newcomen’s method of injecting the water into the cylinder
was a considerable improvement on this; but it was still objectionable
on the same ground, though not to the same degree; it still cooled not
only the steam, on which it was desired to produce that effect, but
also the cylinder itself, which, as the vessel in which more steam was
to be immediately manufactured, it was so important to keep hot. It
was also a very serious objection to this last mentioned plan, that
the injected water, itself, from the heat of the place into which it
was thrown, was very apt to be partly converted into steam; and the
more cold water was used, the more considerable did this creation of
new steam become. In fact, in the last of Newcomen’s engines, the
rarefaction of the vacuum was so greatly improved from this cause,
that the resistance experienced by the piston in its descent was found
to amount to about a fourth part of the whole atmospheric pressure by
which it was carried down, or, in other words, the working power of the
machine was thereby diminished one-fourth.

After reflecting for some time upon all this, it at last occurred
to Watt to consider whether it might not be possible, instead of
continuing to condense the steam in the cylinder, to contrive that
method of drawing it off, to undergo that operation in some other
vessel. This fortunate idea having presented itself to his mind, it was
not long before his ingenuity suggested to him the means of realising
it. In the course of one or two days, according to his own account, he
had all the necessary apparatus arranged in his mind. The plan which
he devised was, indeed, an extremely simple one, and on that account
the more beautiful. He proposed to establish a communication by an
open pipe, between the cylinder and another vessel, the consequence of
which evidently would be, that when the steam was admitted into the
former, it would flow into the other to fill it also. If, then, the
portion in this latter vessel only should be subjected to a condensing
process, by being brought into contact with cold water, or any other
convenient means, what would follow? Why, a vacuum would be produced
here--into that, as a vent, more steam would immediately rush from the
cylinder--that likewise would be condensed--and so the process would
go on till all the steam had left the cylinder, and a perfect vacuum
had been effected in that vessel, without so much as a drop of cold
water having touched or entered it. The separate vessel alone, or the
condenser, as Watt called it, would be cooled by the water used to
condense the steam--and that, instead of being an evil, manifestly
tended to promote and quicken the condensation. When Watt reduced his
views to the test of experiment, he found the result to answer his most
sanguine expectations. The cylinder, although emptied of its steam
for every stroke of the piston as before, was now constantly kept at
the same temperature with the steam (or 212 deg. Fahrenheit); and
the consequence was, that one-fourth of the fuel formerly required,
sufficed to feed the engine. But besides this most important saving in
the expense of maintaining the engine, its power was greatly increased
by the most perfect vacuum produced in the new construction, in which
the condensing water, being no longer admitted within the cylinder,
could not, as before, create new steam there while displacing the old.

Such, then, was the remedy by which the genius of this great inventor
effectually cured the first and most serious defect of the old
apparatus. In carrying his ideas into execution, he encountered, as
was to be expected, many difficulties, arising principally from the
impossibility of realising theoretical perfection of structure with
such materials as human art is obliged to work with; but his ingenuity
and perseverance overcame every obstacle. One of the things which cost
him the greatest trouble was, how to fit the piston so exactly to the
cylinder, as, without affecting the freedom of its motion, to prevent
the passage of the air between the two. In the old engine this end had
been obtained by covering the piston with a small quantity of water,
the dripping down of which into the space below, where it merely mixed
with the stream introduced to effect the condensation, was of little or
no consequence. But in the new construction, the superiority of which
consisted in keeping this receptacle for the steam always both hot and
dry, such an effusion of moisture, although in very small quantities,
would have occasioned material inconvenience. The air alone, besides,
which in the old engine followed the piston in its descent, acted with
considerable effect in cooling the lower part of the cylinder. His
attempts to overcome this difficulty, while they succeeded in that
object, conducted Watt also to another improvement, which effected the
complete removal of what we have called the second radical imperfection
of Newcomen’s engine, namely, its non-employment for a moving power, of
the expansive force of steam. The effectual way it occurred to him of
preventing any air from escaping into the part of the cylinder below
the piston, would be to dispense with the use of that element above
the piston, and to substitute there likewise the same contrivance as
below, of alternate steam and a vacuum. This was, of course, to be
accomplished by merely opening communications from the upper part of
the cylinder to the boiler on the one hand, and the condenser on the
other, and forming it at the same time into an air-tight chamber, by
means of a cover, with only a hole in it to admit the rod or shank
of the piston, which might, besides, without impeding its freedom of
action, be padded with hemp, the more completely to exclude the air.
It was so contrived accordingly, by a proper arrangement of the cocks
and the machinery connected with them; that, while there was a vacuum
in one end of the cylinder, there should be an admission of steam
into the other; and the steam so admitted now served, not only by its
susceptibility of sudden condensation to create the vacuum, but also,
by its expansive force, to impel the piston.

These were the great improvements which Watt introduced in what may be
called the principle of the steam-engine, or, in other words, in the
manner of using and applying the steam. They constitute, therefore, the
grounds of his claim to be regarded as the true author of the conquest
that has been obtained by man over this powerful element. But original
and comprehensive as were the views out of which these fundamental
inventions arose, the exquisite and inexhaustible ingenuity which the
engine, as finally perfected by him, displays in every part of its
subordinate mechanism, is calculated to strike us perhaps with scarcely
less admiration. It forms undoubtedly the best exemplification that
has ever been afforded of the number and diversity of services which a
piece of machinery may be made to render to itself, by means solely of
the various application of its first moving power, when that has once
been called into action. Of these contrivances, however, we can only
notice one or two, by way of specimen. Perhaps the most singular is
that called the _governor_. This consists of an upright spindle, which
is kept constantly turning, by being connected with a certain part of
the machinery, and from which two balls are suspended, in opposite
directions, by rods, attached by joints, somewhat in the manner of
the legs of a pair of tongs. As long as the motion of the engine is
uniform, that of the spindle is so likewise, and the balls continue
steadily revolving at the same distance from each other. But as soon
as any alteration in the action of the piston takes place, the balls,
if it has become more rapid, fly further apart under the influence of
the increased centrifugal force which actuates them; or approach nearer
to each other in the opposite circumstances. This alone would have
served to indicate the state of matters to the eye; but Watt was not
to be so satisfied. He connected the rods with a valve in the tube by
which the steam is admitted to the cylinder from the boiler, in such a
way, that as they retreat from each other, they gradually narrow the
opening which is so guarded, or enlarge it as they tend to collapse;
thus diminishing the supply of steam when the engine is going too fast,
and when it is not going fast enough, enabling it to regain its proper
speed by allowing it an increase of aliment.

Again the constant supply of a sufficiency of water to the boiler is
secured by an equally simple provision, namely, by a _float_ resting on
the surface of the water which, as soon as it is carried down by the
consumption of the water to a certain point opens a valve and admits
more. And so on through all the different parts of the apparatus,
the various wonders of which cannot be better summed up than in the
forcible and graphic language of a recent writer:--“In the present
perfect state of the engine it appears a thing almost endowed with
intelligence. It regulates, with perfect accuracy and uniformity, the
_number of its strokes_ in a given time, _counting_, or _recording_
them moreover, to tell how much work it has done, as a clock records
the beats of its pendulum; it regulates the _quantity of steam_
admitted to work; the _briskness of the fire_; the _supply of water_
to the boiler; the _supply of coals_ to the fire; it _opens and shuts
its valves_ with absolute precision as to time and manner; it _oils
its joints_; it _takes out any air_ which may accidentally enter into
parts which should be vacuous; and when any thing goes wrong, which it
cannot of itself rectify, it _warns its attendants_ by ringing a bell;
yet, with all these talents and qualities, and even when exerting the
power of six hundred horses, it is obedient to the hand of a child;
its aliment is coal, wood, charcoal, or other combustible--it consumes
none when idle--it never tires, and wants no sleep; it is not subject
to malady when originally well made, and only refuses to work when worn
out with age; it is equally active in all climates, and will do work of
any kind; it is a water-pumper, a miner, a sailor, a cotton-spinner,
a weaver, a blacksmith, a miller, &c., &c.; and a small engine, in
the character of a _steam pony_, may be seen dragging after it on a
rail-road a hundred tons of merchandise, or a regiment of soldiers,
with greater speed than that of the fleetest coaches. It is the king of
machines, and a permanent realisation of the _Genii_ of Eastern fable,
whose supernatural powers were occasionally at the command of man.”

In addition to those difficulties which his unrivalled mechanical
ingenuity enabled him to surmount, Watt, notwithstanding the merit
of his inventions, had to contend for some time with others of a
different nature, in his attempts to reduce them to practice. He had
no pecuniary resources of his own, and was at first without any friend
willing to run the risk of the outlay necessary for an experiment
on a sufficiently large scale. At last he applied to Dr. Roebuck,
an ingenious and spirited speculator, who had just established the
Carron iron-works, not far from Glasgow, and held also at the same
time a lease of the extensive coal-works at Kinneal, the property of
the Duke of Hamilton. Dr. Roebuck agreed to advance the requisite
funds, on having two-thirds of the profits made over to him; and
upon this Mr. Watt took out his first patent in the beginning of the
year 1769. An engine with a cylinder of eighteen inches diameter was
soon after erected at Kinneal; and although, as a first experiment,
it was necessarily, in some respects, of defective construction, its
working completely demonstrated the value of Watt’s improvements. But
Dr. Roebuck, whose undertakings were very numerous and various, in
no long time after forming this connexion, found himself involved in
such pecuniary difficulties, as to put it out of his power to make any
further advances in prosecution of its object. On this Watt applied
himself for some years almost entirely to the ordinary work of his
profession as a civil engineer; but at last, about the year 1774,
when all hopes of any farther assistance from Dr. Roebuck were at an
end, he resolved to close with a proposal which had been made to him
through his friend, Dr. Small, of Birmingham, that he should remove
to that town, and enter into partnership with the eminent hardware
manufacturer, Mr. Boulton, whose extensive establishments at Soho
had already become famous over Europe, and procured for England an
unrivalled reputation for the arts there carried on. Accordingly an
arrangement having been made with Dr. Roebuck, by which his share of
the patent was transferred to Mr. Boulton, the firm of Boulton and Watt
commenced the business of making steam-engines, in the year 1775.

Mr. Watt now obtained from parliament an extension of his patent for
twenty-five years, in consideration of the acknowledged national
importance of his inventions. The first thing which he and his partner
did was to erect an engine at Soho, which they invited all persons
interested in such machines to inspect. They then proposed to erect
similar machines wherever required, on the very liberal principle of
receiving, as payment for each, only one-third of the saving in fuel
which it should effect, as compared with one of the old construction.

But the draining of mines was only one of the many applications of the
steam-power now at his command, which Watt contemplated, and in course
of time accomplished. During the whole twenty-five years, indeed, over
which his renewed patent extended, the perfecting of his invention was
his chief occupation, and notwithstanding a delicate state of health,
and the depressing affliction of severe headaches, to which he was
extremely subject, he continued throughout this period to persevere
with unwearied diligence in adding new improvements to the mechanism of
the engine, and devising the means of applying it to new purposes of
usefulness. He devoted, in particular, the exertions of many years, to
the contriving of the best methods of making the action of the piston
communicate a rotary motion in various circumstances, and between the
years 1781 and 1785, he took out four different patents for inventions
having this in his view.

It is gratifying to reflect, that even while he was yet alive, Watt
received from the most illustrious contemporaries, the honours due to
his genius. In 1785, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society; the
degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon him by the University of
Glasgow, in 1806; and in 1808, he was elected a member of the French
Institute. He died on the 25th of August, 1819, in the 84th year of his

The beneficial results arising from the ingenuity of Watt have been
surprising. The steam-engine has already gone far to revolutionise the
whole domain of human industry; and almost every year is adding to its
power and its conquests. In our manufactures, our arts, our commerce,
our social accommodations, it is constantly achieving what, little
more than half a century ago, would have been accounted miraculous and
impossible. “The trunk of an elephant,” it has been finely and truly
said, “that can pick up a pin, or rend an oak, is as nothing to it. It
can engrave a seal, and crush masses of obdurate metal like wax before
it--draw out, without breaking, a thread as fine as gossamer, and lift
a ship of war, like a bauble, in the air. It can embroider muslins,
and forge anchors; cut steel into ribbands, and impel loaded vessels
against the fury of the winds and waves.”

Another application of it is perhaps destined to be productive of still
greater changes on the condition of society, than have resulted from
many of its previous achievements,--we refer to railroads. The first
great experiment was the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which was
opened, we believe, in 1831, and practically demonstrated, with what
hitherto almost undreamt of rapidity travelling by land may be carried
on through the aid of steam. Carriages, under the impetus communicated
by this the most potent, and at the same time the most perfectly
controllable of all our mechanical agencies, can be drawn forward at
the flying speed of thirty and thirty-five miles an hour. When so much
has been already done, it would be rash to conclude that even this is
to be our ultimate limit of attainment. In navigation, the resistance
of the water, which increases rapidly as the force opposed to it
increases, very soon set bounds to the rate at which even the power of
steam can impel a vessel forward. But on land, the thin medium of the
air presents no such insurmountable obstacles to a force making its
way through it; and a rapidity of movement may perhaps be eventually
attained here, which is to us even as yet inconceivable. But even when
the rate of land travelling already shown to be quite practicable shall
have become universal, in what a new state of society shall we find
ourselves! A nation will then, indeed, become a community; and all the
benefits of the highest civilization will be diffused equally over the
land, like the light of heaven. This invention, in short, when fully
consummated, will confer upon man as much new power and enjoyment as if
he were actually endowed with wings.

The commerce of the kingdom has also greatly benefited by the
introduction of this valuable auxiliary, as will be seen from the
following extract from the “Working Man’s Companion:”--

“The establishment of steam-boats between England and Ireland has
greatly contributed to the prosperity of both countries. How have
steam boats done this? They have greatly increased the trade of both
countries. On the examination of Mr. Williams, before a Committee
of the House of Commons, he stated that ‘before steam-boats were
established, there was little trade in the smaller articles of farming
production, such as poultry and eggs. The first trading steam-boat
from Liverpool to Dublin, was set up in 1824; there are now (1832)
forty such boats between England and Ireland. The sailing vessels were
from one week to two or three weeks on the passage; the voyage from
Liverpool to Dublin is now performed in fourteen hours. Reckoning ten
mile, for an hour, Dublin and Liverpool are one hundred and forty miles
apart; with the old vessels taking twelve days as the average time of
the voyage, they were separated as completely as they would be by a
distance of two thousand eight hundred and eighty miles. What is the
consequence? Traders may now have, from any of the manufacturing towns
in England, within two or three days, even the smallest quantity of any
description of goods;’ and thus ‘one of the effects has been to give a
productive employment of the capital of persons in secondary lines of
business, that formerly could not have been brought into action.’” Mr.
Williams adds, ‘I am a daily witness to the intercourse by means of the
small traders themselves between England and Ireland. Those persons
find their way into the interior of England, and purchase manufactured
goods themselves. They are, of course, enabled to sell them upon much
better terms in Ireland; and I anticipate that this will shortly lead
to the creation of shops and other establishments in the interior of
Ireland for the sale of a great variety of articles which are not now
to be had there.’

“And how do the small dealers in English manufactured goods find
purchasers in the rude districts of Ireland for our cloths and our
hardware? Because the little farmers have sent us their butter and eggs
and poultry, and have either taken our manufactures in exchange, or
have taken back our money to purchase our manufactures, which is the
same thing. Many millions of eggs, collected amongst the very poorest
classes, by the industry of the women and children, are annually sent
from Dublin to Liverpool. Mr. Williams has known fifty tons, or eight
hundred and eighty thousand eggs, shipped in one day, as well as ten
tons of poultry; and he says this is quite a new creation of property.
It is a creation of property that has a direct tendency to act upon the
condition of the poorest classes in Ireland; for the produce is laid
out in providing clothes for the females and children of the families
who engage in rearing poultry and collecting eggs. Thus the English
manufacturer is bettered, for he has a new market for his manufactures,
which he exchanges for cheap provisions; and the dealer in eggs and
poultry has a new impulse to this branch of industry, because it
enables him to give clothes to his wife and children. This exchange
of benefits--this advancement in the condition of both parties--this
creation of produce and of profitable labour--this increase of the
number of labourers--could not have taken place without machinery.
That machinery is the carriage which conveys the produce to the river,
and the steam-boat which makes a port in another country much nearer
for practical purposes, than the market town of a thinly peopled
district. A new machinery is added; the steam-carriage running on
the railroad, as one of the witnesses truly says, ‘is like carrying
Liverpool forty miles into the interior, and thus extending the circle
to which the supply will be applicable.’ The last invention perfects
all the inventions which have preceded it. The village and the city are
brought close together in effort, and yet retain all the advantages of
their local situation; the port and the manufactory are divided only
by two hours distance in time, while their distance in space affords
room for all the various occupations which contribute to the perfection
of either. The whole territory of Great Britain and Ireland is more
compact, more closely united, more accessible than was a single county
two centuries ago.”

The communication between England and Ireland has greatly increased
since the above remarks were written, in 1832. There are now upwards
of four hundred steam-boats sailing between Ireland and Great Britain,
and of late years the largest export from that unfortunate country
consists of her starving population, who, true enough, find their way
into the interior of England, but not with the intention of purchasing
manufactured goods, but of being employed in the manufacturing of them.
We believe that our mechanical readers, at least, will agree with
us, when we say that the benefit has not been reciprocal. England,
for her share, has been burthened with a pauper population, and her
sons deprived of their employment, by the immense immigration that
has of late years taken place. Poor rates are multiplied to an extent
hitherto unheard of, and our streets swarming with beggars--and those
of the most importunate class. So much was this the case, that in
1847 and 1848, Liverpool was inundated with paupers from the sister
country to such a degree, that her authorities were compelled to
petition government to put an end to the nuisance, and to grant
them assistance to prevent the death of so many thousands of their
fellow-men from dying for want; the poor-rates were so increased that
the ratepayers with justice complained. And we question much if ever
the English manufactures have been so much benefited by the commerce
as the foregoing quotation would lead us to believe. That we have been
supplied with enormous quantities of provisions we cannot deny; but
that the payment of these was taken back in our cloths and our hardware
is very questionable. That the money was taken back there can be little
doubt, not for the purpose, however, of buying clothes for the wives
and children of those families whose industry had supplied us with eggs
and poultry, but for supplying the insatiate wants of their profligate
landlords, who were squandering the subsistence of the needy peasantry
in another land. If any class of men have obtained benefit by means of
this increased and speedy communication between the two countries, it
assuredly is the absentee Irish landlord.


Corn Mills are of very ancient origin, and it may not be uninteresting
to our readers to learn something of the customs of our forefathers
with regard to them; to which we will subjoin such modern improvements
as the more advanced state of the arts have enabled the moderns to
achieve, and to excel the imperfect information of the ancients in
mechanical sciences.

In support of the antiquity of grinding corn, we may go as for back
as the days of the patriarch Abraham, who, we are informed in Genesis
xviii. 6, “hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready
quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the
hearth.” To this we may add, that it appears in a subsequent text,
Numbers xi. 8, that manna was ground like corn. The earliest instrument
for this purpose seems to have been the mortar, which was retained long
after the introduction of mills, properly so called: because they were
most probably at first very imperfect. In process of time the mortar
was made ridged, and the pestle notched at the bottom, by which means
the grain was rather grated than pounded.

A passage in Pliny, which has not as yet had a satisfactory
interpretation, renders this conjecture probable. In time a handle was
added to the top of the pestle, that it might be more easily driven
round in a circle, whence this machine at first was called _mortarium_,
by this means assuming the name of a hand-mill. Such a mill was so
called from rubbing backwards and forwards; and varied but little from
those used by our colour-grinders, apothecaries, potters, and other
artisans. From expressions in the sacred volume, we may rationally
infer that it was customary to have a mill of this sort in every
family. Moses having forbidden to take such instruments for a pledge;
for that, says he, “No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone
to pledge: for he taketh a man’s life.” It is observed by Michaelis, on
this passage, that a man could not then grind, consequently could not
bake the necessary daily bread for the family.

Grinding was then the employment of the women, particularly of female
slaves, as at present in those countries which are uncivilised: the
portion of strength required for the operation, therefore, could not
have been great; but afterwards the mills were driven by bondsmen,
whose necks were placed in a circular machine of wood, so that they
could not put their hands to their mouths or eat of the meal. This must
have been an interesting link between the hand and the horse-mill.

In course of time shafts were added to the mill, that it might be
driven by cattle, which were then blindfolded. The first cattle mills
were called _molae jumentaria_, which had, probably, only a heavy
pestle like the hand-mill; but it is conjectured, that it must have
been soon remarked, that the labour would be more easily accomplished,
if, instead of the pestle a large heavy cylinder was employed. A
competent judge has, however, believed that the first cattle mills
had not a spout or trough as ours have; at least those hand-mills
Tournefort saw at Nicaria, consisted only of two stones; but the meal
issued through an opening in the upper one, and fell upon a board or
table, on which the lower one rested.

The upper millstone they called _meta_, or _turbo_; and the lower one
_catillus_: the name of the first also signified a cone with a blunt
apex, whence it has been thought by some, that corn was first rubbed
into meal, by rolling one stone upon another, as painters now grind
colours with a muller. This is not improbable, as present practice
among barbarous people fully proves. It is also apparent that the upper
millstone was substituted for the pestle, which action may have lent it
a name, when they called it _meta_.

Professor Beckmann has followed Gori in his description of an antique
gem, engraved on red jasper, upon which appears “the naked figure of
a man, who in his left hand holds a sheaf of corn, and in the right
a machine that in all probability is a hand-mill. Gori considers the
figure as a representation of the god Eunostus, who was the god of
mills. The machine which Eunostus seems to exhibit, or to be surveying
himself, is, as far as one can distinguish, (for the stone is scarcely
half an inch in size), shaped like a chest, narrow at the top, and
wide at the bottom. It stands upon a table, and in the bottom there
is a perpendicular pipe, from which the meal, also represented by
the artist, appears to be issuing. Above, the chest or body of the
mill has either a top with an aperture, or perhaps a basket sunk into
it, from which the corn falls into the mill. On one side, nearly
about the middle of it, there projects a broken shank, which, without
overstraining the imagination, may be considered as a handle, or that
part of the mill which some call _mobile_. Though this figure is small,
and though it gives very little idea of the internal construction,
one may, however, conclude from it that the roller, whether it was of
wood or of iron, smooth or notched, did not stand perpendicularly,
like those of our coffee mills, but lay horizontally, which gives
us reason to conjecture a construction more ingenious than that of
the first invention. The axis of the handle had, perhaps, within the
body of the mill, a crown wheel, that turned a spindle, to the lower
end of the perpendicular axis of which the roller was fixed. Should
this be admitted, it must be allowed also, that the hand-mills of the
ancients had not so much a resemblance to the before-mentioned colour
mills as to the philosophical mills of our chemists; and Langelott,
consequently, will not be the real inventor of the latter. On the
other side, opposite to where the handle is, there arise from the mill
of Eunostus two shafts, which Gori considers as those of a besom and
shovel, two instruments used in grinding; but as the interior part
cannot be seen, it appears to me doubtful whether these may not be
parts of the mill itself.”

In the commencement of the last century, the remains of a pair of Roman
millstones were found at Adel, in Yorkshire. One of these stones,
twenty inches in breadth, is thicker in the middle than at the edge,
consequently one side is convex; the other was of the same size, but
as thick at the sides as the other was in the centre; the traces of
notching were discoverable.

Enough, may, perhaps, have been said concerning this original
invention; therefore this article will not be encumbered with
quotations of all those passages relative to mills, which are found
in ancient authors, as they would afford but little additional
information. Neither will mythological records be disturbed to inquire
to which deity or hero the invention was originally attributed; or to
ascertain the descent of Milantes, whom Stephanus distinguishes by that
honour, or how those millstones were constructed which are alleged to
have been built by Myletes, son of Lelex, King of Laconia; but we shall
proceed to the invention of Water-Mills.

These appear to have been introduced about the period of Mithridates,
contemporary with Cæsar and Cicero. Strabo, relating that there was a
water-mill near the residence of the Pontian king, that honour has been
ascribed to him; but so far is this remote from certainty, that nothing
can be inferred from thence, other than that water-mills at that period
were known in Asia. Pomponius Sabinus informs us, that the first
water-mill seen at Rome was erected on the banks of the Tiber, a little
before the time of Augustus; but of this there is no other proof than
his simple assertion: he having taken the greater part of his remarks
from the illustrations of Servius, he must have had a more perfect copy
of that author than any now remaining, and from these his information
might have come.

The most certain proof we have that Rome had water-mills in the time
of Augustus, is, that Vitruvius has told us so; but those mills were
not corn-mills, they were hydraulic engines, which he describes in
his works. From whence we learn that the ancients had wheels for
raising water, which were driven by being trod upon by men; the usual
employment for criminals, as may be learnt from Artemidorus. Also from
a pretty epigram of Antipater; “Cease your work, ye maids, ye who
laboured in the mill; sleep now, and let the birds sing to the ruddy
morning; for Ceres has commanded the water nymphs to perform your
task; these, obedient to her call, throw themselves on the wheel, force
round the axle-tree, and by these means the heavy mill.” Antipater
lived at the period of Cicero. Palladius, also, with equal clearness,
speaks of water-mills, which he advises to be built on estates where is
running water, in order to grind corn without men or cattle.

It likewise appears that the water-wheels to which Heliogabalus
directed some of his friends and parasites to be tied, cannot be
considered to be mills for the purpose of grinding corn; for these, as
well as the _haustra_ of Lucretius were probably like those machines
for raising water, which are spoken of by Vitruvius as _hydraulic_.

It is, however, on the authority of Pompinius Sabinus, before-cited,
that both wind and water mills were known to have been in Italy, and
even the latter in Rome, in the days of Augustus. However, about
twenty-three years after the death of Augustus, when Caligula seized
every horse from the mills, to convey effects he had in contemplation
to take from Rome, the public were much distressed for bread; whence
we must infer that water-mills must have been very rare. Even three
hundred years after Augustus, cattle mills were so common in that city,
that their number amounted to three hundred; mention of them, and of
the hand-mills, often occurs for a long time after. It is not their use
we inquire after, it is enough for us to know that they existed.

We now come to another period, when we are informed that _public mills_
were first introduced, which occurs in the year 398, mention being
made of them in that year, which also clearly shows that they were
then newly-established; which establishment was found necessary to be
protected by laws made in their favour. The orders for that purpose
were renewed more than once, and made more secure by Zeno, towards
the end of the fifth century. It may be properly remarked, that in the
whole code of Justinian, the least mention of wooden pales or posts is
not made, which occurs in all the new laws,--and which, it appears,
when there were several mills on the same stream, occasioned so many
disputes then, as well as in after times. The mills at Rome were
erected on those canals which conveyed water to the city; and because
these were employed in several arts, and for many purposes, it was
ordered that, by dividing the water, the mills should always be kept
going; but as they were driven by so small a quantity of water, they
probably executed very little work; and for this reason, but probably
on account of the great number of slaves, and the cheap rate at which
they were maintained, these noble machines were not so much used,
nor were so soon brought to perfection, as under other circumstances
they might have been. It appears, however, that after the abolition
of slavery, they were much improved, and more employed, and to this a
particular incident seems, in some degree, to have contributed.

When Vitiges, King of the Goths, besieged Belisarius in Rome, in the
year 536, and caused the fourteen large expensive aqueducts to be
stopped, the city was reduced to great distress; not from want of
water, in general, because it was secured against that inconvenience
by the Tiber; but by the loss of that water which the baths required,
and, above all, of that necessary to drive the mills, which were all
situated on these canals. Horses and cattle, which might have been
employed upon grinding, were not to be found; but Belisarius fell upon
the ingenious contrivance of placing boats upon the Tiber, on which
he erected mills that were driven by the current. This experiment was
attended with complete success; and as many mills of this kind as were
necessary were constructed. To destroy these, the besiegers threw into
the stream logs of wood, dead bodies, &c., which floated down the river
into the city; but the besieged, by making use of booms to stop them,
were enabled to drag them out before they could do any mischief. This
seems to have been the origin of _floating-mills_, no record of them
appearing previously. By these means the use of water-mills became very
much extended; for floating-mills can be constructed almost upon any
stream, without forming an artificial fall; they may be stationed at
the most convenient places, and they rise and fall of themselves with
the water.--They are, however, attended with these inconveniences: they
require to be strongly secured; they often block up the stream too
much, and move slowly; and they often stop when the water is too high,
or when it is frozen.

After this improvement, the use of water-mills was never laid aside
or forgotten, but was soon made known all over Europe; and passages
innumerable might be quoted, in every century, to prove their continued
use. The Roman, Salic, and other laws, constantly provided for the
security of these mills, and defined a punishment for such as destroyed
the sluices, or stole the mill-irons. It is said, however, that there
were water-mills in France and Germany a hundred years before these
laws had existence.

At Venice, and other places, there were erected mills which regulated
themselves by the motion of the waters, and which were regulated by
the flowing and ebbing of the tide, and which every six hours changed
the motion of the wheels. Of this species of mills, a new invention,
or, perhaps, rather an improved one, was made in London, called a
tide-mill, an engraving of which may be seen in “The Advancement of
Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce,” London, 1772.

Zanetti is said to have shown, by some old charters, that such mills
existed about the year 1044; but with still more certainty in 1078,
1079, and 1107.

It appears, however, that hand and cattle mills were in most places
retained, after the use of proper watermills, particularly in convents.
They were used, because the otherwise lazy monks found the exercise
they afforded beneficial to their health. Likewise the legends of
popish mythology are full of the miracles which have been wrought at
these mills.

A modern author of credit impeaches the veracity of Pomponius Sabinus
after he had previously quoted his authority, and likewise after he
had said that he bore a good character, in a popular work, by charging
him with improbability, nay, positive falsehood, and alleging that
the Romans had no wind-mills. It should be noticed, without venturing
to decide upon the point, that he has adduced no authority for such
allegation, and that he only concludes so, by inference, as upon
the authority of Vitruvius; that mechanist, he says, in enumerating
all moving forces, does not mention wind-mills. But, for the sake
of candour, was not the one as liable to err as the other? He also
says, that neither Seneca nor St. Chrysostom mention wind-mills; and
is unmercifully severe upon an old Bohemian annalist who speaks of
wind-mills so early as 718. But he is all along bringing his forces
to prove, that wind-mills had first existence in his own district,
Germany; that they were then invented; and, perhaps, because he is of
that country. It is somewhat remarkable that scarcely any invention of
any consequence has occurred since that of printing, but the honour has
been claimed by the natives of Germany.

Mabillon mentions a diploma of the year 1105, in which a convent in
France is allowed to erect water and wind-mills, _molendina ad ventum_.

Bartolomeo Verde proposed to the Venetians in 1332, to build a
wind-mill. When his plan had been examined, he had a piece of ground
assigned him, which he was to retain if his undertaking succeeded
within a specified time. In 1373, the city of Spires caused a wind-mill
to be erected, and sent to the Netherlands for a person acquainted
with the method of grinding by it. A wind-mill was also constructed at
Frankfort, in 1442; but it does not appear to have been ascertained
whether there were any there before.

About the twelfth century, in the pontificate of Gregory, when both
wind and water-mills became more general, a dispute arose whether mills
were titheable or not. The dispute existed for some time between the
persons possessed of mills and the clergy; when neither would yield. At
length, upon the matter being referred to the pope and sacred college,
the question was, (as might have been expected when interested persons
were made the arbitrators,) determined in favour of the claims of the

There was one inconvenience attending wind-mills, which might be
obviated in other mills: the mill was useless unless the wind was in
a particular direction. To remedy this, various modes were tried; at
first, the mill was fixed on a floating body in the water, which might
be turned to any wind. The next improvement consisted in turning the
body of the mill to meet the direction of the wind; this was effected
by two modes: first, the whole building is constructed in such a manner
as to turn on a pivot below; this method is said to have been invented
in Germany, and is called the German mode: second, the building is
formed so as to turn on the roof, with the shafts supporting the sails
only; this is called the Dutch mode, being invented by a Fleming about
the middle of the sixteenth century. This is the mode principally
adopted in England.

Although in the earliest ages of the world men might have been,
perhaps, satisfied with having their corn reduced to a mealable form
alone; yet after this had been with care effected, then they thought
of improving upon this conveniency, and separating the farinaceous
part from the bran and husks. This was certainly desirable; therefore
they bolted it in a sieve with a long handle attached to it, with
a hair, or fine lawn lining; this was common in this country till
within the last sixty or eighty years; but by degrees, opportunities
of improvement in the mechanism of mills suggested to some mechanic
the idea of constructing what is now called bolting mills, applied to
the mill for grinding, and wrought at the same time by appropriate

It appears that sieves of horse-hair were first used by the Gauls, then
those of linen by the Spaniards. The mode of applying a sieve in the
form of an extending bag to catch the meal as it fell from the stones,
and of causing it to be turned and shaken, was first made known in the
beginning of the sixteenth century.

The best bolting cloths are universally allowed to be manufactured
in England; they are made of wool of the longest and the best kind,
peculiarly prepared; being first well washed and spun to a fine and
equal thread; which, before it be scoured, must be scalded in hot water
to prevent its shrinking. The web must be then stiffened; it is in this
we possess an advantage which others cannot attain. Our bolting cloth
is stiffer, as well as much smoother, than any foreign manufacture. So
jealous are our German neighbours of this, that they have established
manufactories in several places at a great expense, and under very
peculiar regulations, for its fabrication. After all, they are
compelled to confess, that theirs will not wear above three weeks in
a flour manufactory, whereas ours will continue well three months in
equal exposure to friction and ordinary wear.

For some years past, the French have been extolled for a mode of
grinding, called _mouture economique_; that were we not aware such
had been practised in ancient Rome, it might be conceived to form an
important epoch in the miller’s art. This process, however, is not
new; it consists in first grinding the wheat not so fine as might be
required for ordinary purposes; afterwards putting the meal several
times through the mill, and sifting it with various sieves. It should
seem this method was practised in ancient Rome; for Pliny, who took
care to inform himself of most things, tells us, that in his time they
had, at least, five different kinds of flour, all procured from the
same corn. It appears, that the ancient Romans had advanced very far in
this art, as well as in that of baking, &c., from what may be collected
from its economical polity preserved by Pliny and others. Whence it may
be fairly inferred, they knew how to prepare from corn more kinds of
meal, and from meal more kinds of bread, than the moderns even now are
acquainted with.

Pliny reckons that bread should be one-third heavier than the meal
used for baking it: this proportion it appears, was known in Germany
nearly a century and a half ago, and discovered from experiments on
bread made at different times. German bakers, although they may have
been occasionally mistaken, have always undoubtedly given more bread
than meal. It appears that in latter periods, the art of grinding,
as well as baking, has declined very much in Italy; and their bread,
although produced from the finest grain in the world, is altogether bad
when manufactured by Italians. On this account, bakers from Germany
it seems, are generally employed in public baking-houses, as well at
Rome as in Venice. Bakers of that people are generally settled at those
places, where they have been in the habit of manufacturing that article
for the principal inhabitants, for upwards of three hundred years.

From Beckmann’s History, it would appear that the _mouture economique_
of the French has been known to the Germans for more than two hundred
years. Many were the attempts, repeatedly enforced, to deter the
experiments made, from time to time, by the French experimentalists,
to perfect this article previous to its being accomplished. In this,
the French suffered themselves to be taught by prejudice and directed
by ignorance. Numerous and judicious were the experiments made by
the scientific and philosophic of that people to produce the most in
quantity and best in quality from a definite quantity of grain, at
which the ignorant of their species suffered their prejudice to revolt,
and the powerful readily come into the mode of thinking of the vulgar,
to whom they lent their aid, to effect what Heaven in revelation had
commanded, viz: “Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye
your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and
turn again and rend you.” Mat. vii. 6.

It will, from the succeeding statement, that in using the language
which has just appeared, circumstances sanctioned us. The clergy of the
chapel royal, and parish church at Versailles, sent their wheat in the
beginning of last century to be ground at an adjacent mill: according
to custom, it was put through the mill only once, and the bran, which
yet contained much flour, was sold for fattening cattle. This miller
having, however, in process of time learnt the process of the _mouture
economique_, purchased the bran from these ecclesiastics, and found
that it yielded him as good flour as they had procured from the whole
wheat. The miller, at length, is presumed, in a qualm of conscience,
to have regretted cheating those holy men; he accordingly discovered
to them the secret, and gave them afterwards fourteen bushels of flour
from their wheat, instead of eight, which he had only furnished them
before. This voluntary discovery of the miller was made in 1760; and it
is probable the same discovery was made at the same time by others.

A baker, named Malisset, proposed to the lieutenant-general of the
French police to teach a method by which people could grind their
corn with more advantage; and experiments were accordingly made and
succeeded. A mealman of Senlis, named Buquet, having the inspection
of the mill belonging to the large hospital at Paris, made the same
proposal: the result of his experiments, made under the direction
of the magistrates, was printed. The investigation of this art was
now taken up by men of learning and science, who gave it a suitable
denomination; explained it, made experiments and calculations upon
it, and at the same time recommended it so much, that the _mouture
economique_ engaged the attention of all magistrates throughout
France. Its government sent Buquet to Lyons in 1764, to Bourdeaux in
1766, to Dijon in 1767, and to Mondidier in 1768. The benefit which
France derived from that trouble, shows that it was not taken in vain.
Previous to that period, a Paris _setier_ yielded from eighty to
ninety pounds of meal, and from one hundred and fifty to one hundred
and sixty pounds of bran; but the same quantity now yields one hundred
and eighty-five pounds, and according to the latest improvements, one
hundred and ninety-five pounds of meal. In the time of St. Louis,
from four to five _setiers_ were reckoned necessary for the annual
maintenance of a man; these were scarcely sufficient; as many were
allowed to the patients in hospitals; and such were the calculations
made in the sixteenth century. When the miller’s art was everywhere
improved, the four _setiers_ were reduced to three and a half, and from
the latest improvements, they do not exceed two.

From mills which only force the farinaceous parts from the husk,
thereby rounding the grain, the common denomination of _barley mills_
comes, from such mills being used in the manufacture of pearl barley.
In their construction, these mills differ but little from wheat-mills,
and the machinery for the former is generally added to the latter.
The grand specific distinction is, that the millstone is rough hewn
round its circumference, and in the stead of a lower stone, there is
generally a wooden case; the middle lined with a plate of iron, pierced
like a grater with holes, the sharp edge of which turns upwards. The
barley is thrown upon the stone, which, as it turns round, frees it
from the husk, and rounds it; after which, it is put into sieves and

So long as the policy of governments was blind to the interests of
men, and so long as the griping avarice of a few was permitted to lay
the free-born of their species under the most severe contributions,
so long were permitted to build mills only, who had obtained a regal
license for that purpose. But, thank heaven! that ray of light it has
lent generally to man, has, in some sort, illuminated even the minds
of ministers and their tyrannical masters, to curtail that spirit
which had cast the fetters of vassalage given by feudal tyranny to its
upstart dependants. Men were left, at length, to improve their property
according to their pleasure: since which period, more mills have been
erected for the convenience of the species. This privilege, it appears,
was not prohibited by the Roman laws; those irradiations of superior
intellect well appreciated human rights. It was not till the darkness
of the middle ages had obscured the mental hemisphere, that any person
was presumed to possess a superiority over others, and to abridge the
small portion of general happiness that the favoured of fortune might
add to his satiety. During those days of universal darkness, numberless
were the evils which men suffered, and among them the present object of
our consideration was not the least; frequently having to travel for
miles to a mill to procure the necessary manufacture of so essential
an article to human life as bread.

Let us not be decoyed, however, by the resentment produced by the
spirit of human oppression, beyond the bounds prescribed by reason, to
inveigh against such ordinance when public and general utility ever
was consulted; and certain public streams were by wise laws to be kept
free from individual encroachments with impunity. It is not against the
dictates of sober reason we declare hostility, but the gross abuse of

A time there was, when human baseness in princes and potentates, their
vassals doubtless aping the manners of their masters, claimed as their
right not only the common element of water, but also that of air! A
curious incident related by Jargow, and detailed by Professor Beckmann,
as follows, establishes the insolence of upstart men:--“In the end of
the fourteenth century, the monks of the celebrated but long since
destroyed monastery of Augustines, at Windshiem, in the province of
Overyssel, were desirous of erecting a wind-mill not far from Zwoll;
but a neighouring lord endeavoured to prevent them, declaring that the
wind in that quarter belonged to him. The monks, unwilling to give
up their point, had recourse to the Bishop of Utrecht, under whose
jurisdiction the province had continued since the tenth century. The
bishop, highly incensed against the pretender, who wished to usurp his
authority, affirmed, that the wind of the whole province belonged only
to him; and, in 1391, gave the convent express permission to build a
wind-mill wherever they thought proper.”

Without the convenience of human ingenuity heaven had sent the blessing
of life in vain; we have, under this impression, therefore, bestowed
much time on this article, from a conviction of its vital importance to
the necessities of human existence.


The invention of the plumb-line and saw, with other useful articles in
mechanics, and handicrafts, are usually ascribed to that great--that
universal genius--Dædalus: although others give the merit to one
Talus, the nephew of Dædalus, and say, that the discovery was made
under the following circumstances:--Talus, they tell us, having found
the jaw-bone of a snake, cut a piece of wood in two with the teeth;
thence, they say, he invented the saw; his maternal uncle and master,
they add, was so jealous of this invention, that he murdered the young
man; and the mode of the discovery of the murder is accounted for in
this manner:--some persons saw Dædalus covering up the grave of his
victim, and asked what he was doing? “Oh,” says he, “I am only burying
a snake.” How much credit may be due to this relation, we do not take
upon ourselves to determine. Pliny, as well as Seneca, were of the
former opinion; whilst Diodorus Siculus, and others, hold the latter.
The youth is named by some Perdix. However, it appears to rest between
these two, no other claimant appearing. Ovid says, it was not the jaw
of a snake, but the back-bone of a fish. The former, however, appears
to be the most rational opinion as to its origin, as it is conjectured
that the vertebræ would not be sufficiently strong, and the joints are
too far apart, as well as too large.

The Grecian saw is said to have been much the same as that instrument
which the moderns now use. This idea is corroborated by an ancient
painting discovered in Herculaneum; likewise from an antique
representation of this instrument, given by the celebrated Montfaucon.

The preceding observations, however, have relation to the subject of
this article only, inasmuch as they are introductory to what follows.

The most beneficial and ingenious improvement that has been made in
saws was the invention and introduction of machinery, called saw-mills,
which, in woody countries, as well as for delicate and fine veneers,
are of the greatest utility; in the former case, wood forms the chief
article of commerce where labourers are scarce; in the latter, it may
be cut nearly as thin as a sheet of paper. These saw-mills also finish
flooring deals, grooved, dovetailed, and planed on both sides, at the
rate of two deals, of twenty feet each, in a minute! They are commonly
worked in this country by means of steam-engines; in woody countries
they are generally erected on the banks of rivers, the water of which
propels the machinery.

It is said they were invented in Germany, as far back as the fourth
century, upon the smaller river Roer; for, although Ansonius speaks of
water-mills, for cutting stone, he says nothing of mills to cut timber.
The art of cutting marble with a saw is very ancient; Pliny thinks
it was invented in Caria; at least, he knew of no place or building,
incrusted with marble, older than the palace of King Mausolus, at
Helicarnassus. Vitruvius also names the circumstances, although he uses
different terms for expressions of the same sense. He commends the
beauty of its marble, whilst Pliny speaks of its different kinds: the
former viewed it as an architect, whilst the latter inspected it as a
naturalist. It also does appear, from other writers, that the harder
and precious kinds of stones were cut in the same manner; as Pliny
speaks of a building adorned with agate, cornelian, lapis-lazuli, and
amethysts. Yet there is no mention made of mills for cutting wood; or,
admitting they had been invented, it is probable they shared the fate
of many other useful inventions,--had been forgotten, or else some
considerable modern improvement had been made in their construction.

Since the period of the first invention, they have been erected in
various parts of Europe and America. There appears to have been one
erected in the vicinity of Augsburg, as early as 1337; at Erlinger, in

Upon the discovery of the island of Madeira, in 1420, the Infanta
Henry sent settlers there, and caused European fruits of every kind to
be carried there; and amongst other productions, saw-mills and other
machinery to cut the valuable timber found there into portable pieces,
which were afterwards transported to Portugal. In 1724, the city of
Breslau had a saw-mill which produced the yearly rent of three marks.
In 1490, the magistrates of Erfurt purchased a forest, and built a mill
of this description. In Norway, a country covered with wood, there
was one built in 1530. This mode of manufacture was called the new
art; and because the exportation of deals was by that means increased,
a royal impost was introduced by Christian III. in 1545, called the
deal-tythe. Soon after Henry Ranzau caused the first mill to be erected
at Holstein. In the year 1555, the Bishop of Ely, being ambassador from
the Princess Mary of England to the court of Rome, saw a saw-mill in
the neighbourhood of Lyons: the writer of his travels thought it worthy
of particular description:--“The saw-mill is driven by an upright
wheel; and the water that makes it go is gathered whole into a narrow
trough, which delivereth the same water to the wheels. This wheel
hath a piece of timber put to the axle-tree end, like the handle of a
brooch, and fastened to the end of the saw, which being turned with the
force of the water, hoisteth up and down the saw, that it continually
eateth in, and the handle of the same is kept in a rigall of wood from
swerving. Also the timber lieth as it were upon a ladder, which is
brought by little and little to the saw with another vice.” In the
sixteenth century, there was a grand improvement made in this machine
by having several saws affixed to one beam, by which timber could be
cut into several planks or boards, and of any thickness, at the same
time. There was one of these at Ratisbon, upon the Danube, in 1575.

In England saw-mills were at first received with as little
encouragement as printing met with in Turkey, and from the same motive.
When the attempt was made to introduce them it was said the sawyers
would be deprived of bread. For this reason it was found necessary
to abandon a saw-mill erected by a Dutchman, near London, in 1663.
However, in the year 1700, a gentleman of the name of Houghton laid
before the nation the advantages to be derived from them; but he
expressed his apprehension that it might cause a commotion among the
people. What he feared, actually came to pass; for, on the erection
of one by a wealthy timber merchant, by the desire of the society
for the promotion of arts, in 1767, to be propelled by the wind,
under the direction of James Stansfield, who had learnt the method
of constructing them in Holland and Norway, a foolish mob assembled
and pulled it to pieces. Many years previous to this there had been
a similar mill erected in Scotland. There is now hardly a town of
any importance in the kingdom but what has one or more saw-mills in


The fork is an article of every-day use amongst us, and on that account
little thought of; still the short space we intend to occupy with this
subject may, perhaps, convey a little information to many of our
readers unknown to them before, or, at least, unthought of.

There is not the least room to suppose the ancients were at all
acquainted with this little table utensil, now so necessary to our own
comfort and convenience, to say nothing of our ideas of cleanliness.
Pliny, who enumerated most things natural, physical, philosophical, and
economical, makes no mention of them; nor does it occur in any other
writer of antiquity; neither does Pollux speak of it in the very full
catalogue which he has given of things necessary for a table.

Neither the Greeks or Romans had any name in the least applicable to
its use, either direct or by inference, where it can be asserted that
such an instrument was intended. The ancients had, it is true, in
Greece, their _creagra_. In Rome, their _furca_, _fuscina_, _furcilla_,
&c.: the Grecian instrument somewhat resembled a rake of an ordinary
construction, and calculated for the purpose of taking meat out of a
boiling pot, constructed in the shape of a hook, or rather the bent
fingers of the hand.

With reference to the Roman names, the first two were undoubtedly
applied to instruments which approached nearer to our furnace and hay
forks.--The trident of Neptune is also called _fuscina_. The furcilla
was large enough to be employed as a weapon of defence. The present
Latin name for a fork, _fusinula_, is not to be found in any of the old
Latin writers.

It is the opinion, we understand, of a learned Italian writer, that
the ancient Romans used the instruments they called _ligulæ_, instead
of forks. Now those instruments had some distant resemblance to our
teaspoons. Hence we must conclude that they and our ancestors used no
forks, because, had they had anything answering the purpose, even in
effect, it must undoubtedly have had a name.

In the East, we understand it was, and still is, customary to dress
their victuals until they become so tender as to be easily pulled in
pieces. We are told by modern travellers, that if an animal be dressed
before it has lost its natural warmth, it becomes tender and very
savoury. This is the Oriental custom, and has been so from the most
remote antiquity.

Fortunately, all articles of food were cut up in small pieces before
they were served up at table; the necessity for which practice will
appear, when we remember they usually took their meals in a recumbent
posture upon beds. Originally, persons of rank kept an officer for the
purpose of cutting the meat, who used a knife, the only one placed
at table, which, in opulent families, had an ivory handle, and was
ornamented with silver.

The bread was never cut at table; it needed it not, being usually baked
thin, somewhat resembling the Passover cake of the Jews; this is not
understood, however, to have been universal.

The Chinese use no forks; however, to supply them, they have small
sticks of ivory, often of very fine workmanship, inlaid with silver and
gold, which each guest employs to pick up the bits of meat, it being
previously cut small. The invention of forks was not known till about
two centuries ago in Europe, where people eat the same as they do now
in Turkey.

In the New Testament we read of putting hands into the dish. Homer, as
well as Ovid, mention the same custom.

In the quotation from the sacred writings, we observe that the guests
had, it is presumed, no instrument to help themselves out of the common
dish which contained the repast; for, upon the question being put of
who was to betray the Saviour, the answer was given in the following
quotation, “It is one of the twelve that dippeth with me in the dish.”

In the passage cited from Homer, the phrase, according to the Latin
translation, implies the same sense. And had the Romans been apprised
of the utility of this instrument, or in fact of any substitute, there
could have been no occasion for the master of the amorous art to have
given his instructions to his pupils in nearly similar terms which we
now use to children.

Although Count Caylus and Grignon both assert that ancient forks have
been found, we still want further testimony. The former says, one
with two prongs was found among some rubbish in the Appian Way, which
he alleges to be of beautiful workmanship, terminating in the handle
with a carved stag’s foot. Notwithstanding the high reputation of that
author, this assertion is not credited. The latter says, he found some
in the ruins of a Roman town in Champagne; but he does not describe
them, otherwise than to observe that one was of copper or brass, and
the others of iron: and speaking of the latter, says, they appear to be
table-forks, but are very coarsely made.

The truth seems to be that table-forks were first used in Italy, as
appears from the book of Galeotus Martius, an Italian in the service
of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, who reigned from 1458 to 1490.
Martius relates that at that period forks were not used at table in
Hungary as in Italy; but that at meals each person laid hold of the
meat with his fingers, and on that account they were much stained with
saffron, usually put into sauces and soups. He praises the king for
eating without a fork, conversing at the same time, and never dirtying
his clothes.

In France, at the end of the sixteenth century, forks were quite
unknown even at the court of the monarch. Neither at that period were
they known in Sweden.

From the history of the travels of our countryman, Coryate, entitled
“Crudities,” first published in 1611, and afterwards in 1776, the
author says he first saw them in Italy, and he was also the first
person who used them in England. As his account of them is curious, we
may be excused giving an extract, slightly altering the orthography.

“Here I will mention a thing that might have been spoken of before in
discourse of the first Italian town. I observed a custom in all those
Italian cities and towns through which I passed, that is not used in
any other country I saw in my travels; neither do I think that any
other nation in Christendom doth use it, but only Italy. The Italian,
and also most strangers that are commorant in Italy, do always at
their meals, use a little fork when they cut their meat. For while
with their knife, which they hold in one hand, they cut the meat out
of the dish, they fasten the fork, which they hold in their other
hand, upon the same dish; so that whatsoever he be that, sitting in
the company of any others at meals, should unadvisedly touch the dish
of meat with his fingers, from which all at the table do cut, he will
give occasion of offence unto the company, as having transgressed
the laws of good manners, insomuch that for his error he shall be at
least brow-beaten if not reprehended in words. This form of feeding I
understand is generally used in all places of Italy; their fork being
for the most part made of iron or steel, and some of silver, but those
are used only by gentlemen. The reason of this their curiosity is,
because the Italian cannot by any means endure to have his dish touched
with fingers--seeing all men’s fingers are not alike clean. Hereupon
I myself thought good to imitate the Italian fashion by this forked
cutting of meat, not only while I was in Italy, but also in Germany,
and oftentime in England, since I came home, being once equipped for
that frequent using of my fork by a certain learned gentleman, a
familiar friend of mine, one Mr. Lawrence Whitaker, who in his merry
humour doubted not to call one at table _farsifer_, only for using a
fork at feeding, but for no other cause.”

In many parts of Spain, we understand that, _at present_,
drinking-glasses, spoons, and forks are rarities. It is also said,
that even in taverns in many countries, particularly in France, knives
are not placed on the table, because it is expected that each person
should have one of his own. This custom the modern French appear to
have derived from their ancestors the ancient Gauls. But, as no person
will eat any longer without forks, the landlords are obliged to furnish
these, together with plates and spoons.

Among the Highlanders in Scotland, Dr. Johnson asserts, that knives
have been introduced at table since the Revolution only. Before that
period the men were accustomed to cut their meat with a knife they
carry as a companion to their dirk. The men cut the meat into small
morsels for the women, who used their fingers to put it into their

The use of forks at table was first considered as a superfluous luxury,
and as such forbidden in convents, as appears from the records of the
congregation of St. Maur.


The science of music, or rather of harmony, is extremely
ancient--insomuch that, with respect to the latter, it is said to be
coeval with Nature herself. But as it has relation to the science
now in use, this, like most other arts, whose origin is very remote,
is involved in obscurity; and in proportion to the astonishment and
wonder excited by its uncommon powers, in a commensurate ratio does
mystery, fable, and obscurity envelope its original. However, always
remembering that it was from harmony,--

    --“from heavenly harmony, this universal frame began.”

Proceeding step by step, it had eventually attained in Greece a very
early perfection. Collins, who is justly entitled to the distinguished
station held by all pupils of nature and of the muses, who is
peculiarly eminent for a just poetical spirit, thus speaks of the
heavenly science in his Ode on the Passions--

   “Arise, as in that elder time,
    Warm, energetic, chaste, sublime;--
    Thy wonders in that god-like age
    Fill thy recording sisters’ page.--
    ’Tis said, and I believe the tale,
    Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
    Had more of strength, diviner rage
    Than all that charms this laggard age,
    Even all at once together found
    Cecilia’s mingled world of sound.”

It will be remembered, however, that the poet calculated as much upon
the infant simplicity of nature as upon the uncommon powers of harmony;
this consideration will certainly reconcile the apparent extravagance
of the thought.

So great were the early powers of verse and harmony, that at one period
the votaries of the muses were regarded as persons divinely inspired;
they were the priests of man, his legislators, and his prophets.
Insomuch was the possessor of the art, and the art itself reverenced,
that the responses of the most eminent oracles were received in
measured verse. Witness the response of the Delphian oracle received by
the Athenian deputation, when Greece inquired for her wisest men, as
given by Xenophon:--

   “Wise is Sophocles, more wise Euripides,
    But the wisest of all men is Socrates.”

Music eventually claimed the most unlimited control over the affections
of mankind, as could be proved by an infinity of instances; we shall
mention one only from a well authenticated fact, and finely illustrated
in that of Timotheus from “Alexander’s Feast,” by Dryden. We omit the
hyperbolic representation of the raising of the walls of Thebes by the
power of Amphion’s lute, and the apparently incredible relations of
the harmony of the harp of Orpheus, which are all personifications of
natural effects, and which we have neither room, time, nor opportunity
to explain in this place.

If its origin was as previously suggested by Collins, there is occasion
to believe the shepherd’s simple life afforded it first existence; in
the native and wild notes of the pastoral reed, may be discovered the
germ of a science as various as its effects are beautiful. We shall for
the present presume the simple Pandean pipe was the first effort of
the construction of musical instruments; its soft tone being analogous
to the dulcet harmony of the voice. We are led to suppose this from
the evidence of ancient statuary, where those pipes are frequently
discovered; and this will, perhaps, deduce its origin from the
invention of the shepherd god, or oldest Pan. Nevertheless, the lyre,
or harp, is alleged from records the most ancient, having at first but
three strings, analogous to the three seasons of the primeval year; the
treble typical of spring, the tenor resembling summer, and the bass
representing winter.

The invention of that instrument, and of music altogether, is claimed
in the pagan world by Amphion, a successor of Cadmus, the first king
of Thebes, in Bœtia, who is reported, by the music of his harp or lyre
to have built the walls of the city; Cadmus having erected the citadel

Flutes were first invented by Hyognis, the Phrygian, about the year
1506 before Christ, and first played on the flute the harmony, called
Phrygian, and other tunes of the mother of the gods, of Dionysius, of
Pan, and of the divinities of the country and the heroes. Terpander
also, who was the son of Derdineus, the Lesbian, directed the flute
players to reform the tunes of the ancients, and changed the old music,
about the year 645 before Christ, as we are informed by the Parian
Chronicle. The same Terpander, likewise, added three more strings to
the lyre.

When Timotheus, the Spartan musician, was banished his native country
for having increased his strings to the number of ten, he sought refuge
at the court of Macedon, and accompanied his patron, Alexander, into
Persia, when that prince conquered Darius.

From the sacred records of Judea, we may also infer the invention of
musical instruments at a date long prior to either of the periods above
mentioned, when they inform us in Genesis iv. 21, that Adah, one of the
wives of Lamech, had two sons, the name of one of whom was Jubal, who
is said to have been “the father of all such who handle the harp and
organ.” This infers the anterior invention of that instrument.

Music consists of effects produced by the operation of certain sounds
proceeding from the dulcet voice, or musical instruments, regulated by
certain time, and a succession of harmonious notes, natural, grave, or
flat, _i. e._, half a note below its proper tone; and acute or sharp,
_i. e._, half a note above its proper key; and of such modulation
of various tones, and of different value, and also of manifold
denominations: the natural tones consisting of eight notes, with the
addition of octaves, in various keys, with flats and sharps introduced
to afford variety from the skill of the master, at different periods,
to produce the most agreeable diversity in his composition; and
sometimes according to the subject or words to which his music is
adapted. Those musical notes, though proceeding from so small a number
of radicals, are analogous to the incalculable, the endless forms,
which orthography and rhetoric can afford to a well-informed orator, or
elegant author, to embellish any subject. Thus from the definite number
of twenty-four notes, varied in different degrees, by sharps, flats,
semi-tones, &c., are produced all that is so magical, enthusiastic,
and transporting in the empire of omnipotent music. Like as the
alphabetic characters may be varied into myriads of forms suitable
to every multifarious species of conversation or composition; in a
word, a few musical notes in the hands of a master may be made by his
skill to produce, from agreeable interchanges of time, harmony, &c.,
every variety of musical sentiment which can affect the human soul. A
stronger proof cannot be adduced than will be found in the before-cited
ode of “Alexander’s Feast,” by the truly poetic Dryden. In all which
harmony and melody form conspicuous characteristics.

And of harmony, according to the learned Mr. Mason. The sense in
which the ancient Greeks viewed harmony is as follows:--“They by that
term understood the succession of simple sounds according to their
scale, with respect to acuteness or gravity.” Whilst it appears that
by harmony, the moderns understand--“The succession of simple sounds,
according to the laws of counterpoints.” From the same authority--“By
melody, the ancients understood the succession of simple sounds,
according to the laws of rhythm and metre, or in other words, according
to time, measure, or cadence. Whereas, the moderns understand by the
same term what the ancients meant by harmony, rhythm and metre being
excluded.” “And the modern air is what the ancients understood by
melody.” Hence, from the preceding definitions, it appears that what
is now called harmony was unknown to the ancients; and they viewed
that term as we now see simple melody, when we speak of it as a thing
distinguished from simple modulated air, and that their term, melody,
was applied to what we now call air or song.

Should this be true, the long-contested difficulty, and that train of
endless disputes, which has existed among the learned and scientific
world so long, will instantly vanish. Should we suppose an ancient
flute-player used an improper tone or semi-tone, or had he transgressed
the mode or key in which he was playing, he committed an error in
harmony; yet his melody might have been perfect, with respect to the
laws of rhythm or metre; we should say of a modern musician, under
similar circumstances, that he played wrong notes, or was out of tune,
yet kept his _time_. Whoever made such a distinction would be allowed
to possess a good ear for music, though the moderns would be inclined
to call it an ear for melody or intonation. By the rules of musical
conversation, we should be justified when we call an instrument out of
tune inharmonious, although the intervals were nearly right.

By _harmonica_, the Greeks implied nothing more than that proportion of
sound to sound, which mathematicians call _ratio_, or which would be
understood in general musical conversation, by an agreeable succession
of musical notes;--as ancient harmony consisted of the succession of
simple sounds, so does modern harmony consist of the succession of

Whether the _diatonic_ scale be the effect of nature, or produced
by art, has occasioned disputation between many; but without losing
time or space, we are, we think, authorised, from general opinion, to
observe, that compositions formed on it, and on the plan recommended
by a lute organist, would produce sensations odiously disgusting to any
musical ear.

The diatonic is the most simple genera in music, consisting of tones
and major semi-tones; in the scale of which genus the smallest interval
is a conjoint degree, which changes its name and place, that is,
passing from one to another; a prominent air in this species of modern
music is “God save the Queen,” entirely diatonic, without modulation,
by the intervention of a single flat or sharp.

It may not be unacceptable to our readers to add a few particulars
of one of the greatest composers that ever existed; we allude to the
eminently illustrious GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL, a name dear to science,
and entitled to the grateful veneration of every amateur in this divine
art. He was born at Halle, in Upper Saxony, on the 24th of February
1684. Scarcely was he able to speak, before he articulated musical
sounds. His father was a professor of the healing art as a surgeon and
physician, then upwards of sixty, who intended his son for the study of
the law. Grieved at the child’s predeliction, he banished all musical
instruments from his house. But the spark which nature had kindled in
his bosom was not to be extinguished by the mistaken views of a blind
parent. The child by some means or other contrived to get a little
claverchord into a garret, where, applying himself after the family
had retired to rest, he discovered means to produce both melody and
harmony. Before he was seven years of age, the Duke of Weissenfells by
accident discovered his genius, and prevailed on his father to cherish
his inclination. He was accordingly placed with Zachan, organist of
the cathedral of Halle; when, from nine to twelve years of age, he
composed a church service every week. Losing his father whilst he was
in that city, he thought he could best support his mother by repairing
to Hamburgh, where he soon attracted general notice. This wonder of
the age was then only fourteen, when he composed “Almeria,” his
first opera. Having quitted Hamburgh, he travelled for six years in
Italy, where, at both Florence and Rome, he excited much attention:
at both which places he produced new operatic performances. In that
clime of the harmonious muse, he was introduced to, and cultivated
the friendship of, Dominico, Scarlatti, Gaspurini, and Zotti, with
other eminent scientific characters. He was particularly caressed and
patronised by Cardinal Ottoboni, in whose circle he became acquainted
with the elegant and natural Corelli. It was here he composed the
sonata “Il trionfo del tempo,” the original score of which is now in
the Royal Collection. After which he went to Naples, where he set
“Acis et Galatea,” in Italian, to music. Returning to Germany, he was
patronised by the Elector of Hanover, subsequently George the First. In
1710 he visited London, by permission of his patron, who had settled a
pension of £200 per annum on him. In London he produced the opera of
“Rinaldo,” universally admired--equal with all his other productions
that had preceded. He was compelled to leave, however reluctantly,
the British shore, consistent with his engagement to his patron the
Elector. He departed, not without exciting general regret, two years
after his first arrival in this country. He soon appeared here again,
however, and his return was welcomed like the rising of the genial
orb of day before the wrapt Ignicolist! But now seduced by the favour
which awaited him, he forgot to return. On the death of Queen Anne,
who had also settled an annual pension of £200 upon him--equal to what
he received from the Elector, his former patron--when that prince
ascended the throne, Handel was afraid to appear before his majesty,
till, by an ingenious contrivance of Baron Kilmarfyge, he was restored
to favour, Queen Anne’s bounty being doubled by the king; and the chief
nobility accepted an academy of music under Handel’s direction, which
flourished for ten years, till an unfortunate quarrel occurred between
him and Senesino, which dissolved the institution, and brought on a
contest ruinous to the fortune and the health of our musician.

He was particularly patronised by the Earl of Burlington, the Duke of
Chandos, and most of the distinguished nobility of Great Britain.

Having restored his health at the baths of Aix-la-Chapelle, he for the
future chose sacred subjects, which were performed at his theatre in
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Covent Garden, and Westminster Abbey. He died in
April, 1759, aged seventy-five, and was buried in Westminster Abbey,
where he was honoured with a public funeral, six peers supporting the
pall; the very reverend and truly learned translator of “Longimus,” Dr.
Pearce, the Dean, and then Bishop of Rochester, performed the funeral
service with a full choir.

He had been a great benefactor to numerous public charities. The funds
of the Foundling Hospital were improved through him with the amazing
sum of £10,299. The organ in its chapel, and the MS. score of his
“Messiah,” were a present and a donation to the foundation from him. He
left an amiable private as well as a good public character behind him.

His character as a composer is too well appreciated by the British
public to require any remarks from our feeble and inharmonious pen.


Besides metals, five other mediums are enumerated by ancient
writers, wherewith letters and public acts were sealed, viz., _terra
sigillaris_, cement, paste, common wax and sealing-wax. That the
terra sigillaris was used by the Egyptians, we have the evidence of
Herodotus, and which, by inference, is strengthened by that of Moses
who speaks of seal-rings or signets, whence we may safely infer, that
they had a medium of some sort, wherewith they sealed. This _lacuna_
Herodotus supplies, affirming it in direct terms, and assigning a name
to the substance they used for that purpose.

This circumstance was only rendered questionable by Pliny, who alleges
the Egyptians did not use those things.

Herodotus thus expresses himself: “The Egyptian priest bound to the
horns of cattle fit for sacrifice pieces of papyrus with sealing-earth,
on which they made an impression with the seal; and such cattle could
only be offered up as victims.”

Lucian speaks of a fortune-teller who ordered those who came to consult
him, to write down on a bit of paper the questions they wished to ask,
to fold it up, and seal it with clay, or any other substance of a like

Such earth appears to have been employed in sealing, by the Byzantyne
emperors; for we are told that, at the second Nicene Council, image
worship was defended by one saying, “No one believed that those who
received written orders from the Emperor, and venerated the seal,
worshipped on that account the sealing-earth, the paper, or the lead.”

Cicero relates that Verres, having seen in the hands of his servants
a letter written to his son from Agrimentum, and observing on it an
impression in sealing-earth, he was so pleased with it that he caused
the seal-ring with which it was made to be taken from the possessor.

Also, the same orator, in his defence of Flaccus, produced an
attestation sent from Asia, and proved its authenticity by its being
sealed with Asiatic sealing-earth; with which, he told the judges,
all public and private letters in Asia were sealed: and he showed on
the other hand, that the testimony brought by the accuser was false,
because it was sealed with _wax_, and for that reason could not have
come from Asia. The scholiast Servius relates, that a sybil received a
promise from Apollo, that she should live as long as she did not see
the earth of the island of the Erythræa, where she resided; that she
therefore quitted the place, and retired to Cumae, where she became old
and decrepid; but that having received a letter sealed with Erythræn
earth, when she saw the seal, she instantly expired.

No one, however, will suppose that this earth was used without
preparation, as was that to which is given the name of _creta_ chalk;
for, if it was of a natural kind, it must have been of that kind
called _potter’s clay_, as that clay is susceptible of receiving an
impression, and of retaining it subsequent to hardening by drying. It
is believed that the Romans, under the indefinite term _creta_, often
understood to be a kind of potter’s earth, which can be proved by many
passages in their numerous writers. Columella speaks of a species
of chalk of which wine-jars and dishes were made, of which kind it
is conjectured Virgil speaks when he calls it adhesive. The ancient
writers on agriculture give precisely the same name to marl, which was
employed to manure land: now, both chalk and marl, in their natural
state, are extremely inapplicable to the purpose for which we are led
to believe the _terra sigillaris_ was used; therefore, admitting the
Roman _creta_ was composed of them, those substances must naturally
have undergone some laborious process, in order to render them proper
for the purpose to which they were applied.

Notwithstanding none can feel a higher respect for Professor Beckmann,
to whom we are indebted for many of the preceding observations, than we
do, yet strongly as we are influenced with this impression, we cannot
help observing, consistent with that duty we owe to the public, that we
cannot divest ourselves of the opinion that he is only trifling with
the public feeling, perhaps for the ostentatious display of his own
learning: so many objections of so little weight are raised, that he
really appears to write for the purpose of raising new objections to
passages, which, in our comprehension, are extremely simple. We cannot
help applying to him a passage which occurs in a song of the Swan of
Twickenham, who sings:--

   “Gnawed his pen, then dashed it on the ground,
    Striking from thought to thought, a vast profound.
    Plunged for the sense, but found no bottom there,
    Yet wrote, and floundered on in mere despair.”

We would not be illiberal or capricious, nor do we presume to any extra
portion of intelligence; yet, we think we can in a few words discuss
the topic, and perhaps, satisfactorily, on which he has employed so
many pages. Those terms which have troubled the professor with learned
difficulties really appear to us susceptible of an easy interpretation,
and applicable to both or either of the senses in which they are
used, as are any words in the language of ancient Rome. Accordingly,
we find the term _creta_ implies either chalk, fuller’s clay, loam,
white paint, or Asiatic earth, termed creta Asiatica; and, in brief it
appears a mere generic name for any kind of earth, raised from below
the surface of the soil: this is its true sense. But there cannot be a
question, from what is known of the preparation of clay and earth for
_terra cotta_ and other plastic purposes, which undergo a variety of
washings, kneadings, &c., that similar preparations were requisite,
in order to bring it to so curious, so delicate a purpose as that to
which the terra sagillaris was applied. And _fosse_, in the sense used
by Varre, admits of nearly a similar description, it appearing as a
pronomen for the same thing; and indicates either peat, marl, loam,
chalk, or any earthy substance which may be raised from below the
terrestrial surface.

We have evidence every day in our fruit shops, that in certain
countries this kind of earth is yet employed for closing up jars of
dried fruits brought from Oporto, Smyrna, and other countries; as these
appear to be composed of white chalk of a texture somewhat similar to
common mortar. The warmth of the atmosphere, where it is used, soon
hardens and prevents the passage of air to the contents; the jars
themselves being oftentimes only dried in the sun.

Thus it appears that prepared earths were first used for the purpose
of sealing; their adhesive, or, as Virgil has it, their tenacious
qualities, being wonderfully improved for manual labour. Next, paste
was employed, prepared from dough.

To paste succeeded common wax, sometimes slightly tinctured with a
green tint, the effect of endeavouring to give it a blue colour, as
vegetable blues turn green by the process of heat employed in melting;
whilst mineral or earthy blues all sink to the bottom, from superior
gravity. This was the material employed in sealing public acts in
England, as early as the fifteenth century. We have an anecdote of the
Duke of Lancaster having no seal to ratify a deed between him and the
Duke of Burgoyne, but from what appears in the attestation, which, with
the instrument itself, according to the general custom of the day, runs
in rhyme thus:

   “I, John of Gaunt,
    Doe gyve and do graunt,
    To John of Burgoyne
    And the heire of his loyne
    Sutton and Putton
    Untill the world’s rotten.”

The attestation runs thus:

   “There being no seal within the roof,
    In sooth, I seal it wyth my tooth.”

A good example is this of the simple brevity of the time, and a severe
lecture upon the eternal repetitions of our modern lawyers, whereby the
limitations and special uses of deeds are made, perhaps, not according
to the necessities of the case, but are lengthened from selfish

The Great Charter, which gives an assurance of the rights of
Englishmen, is sealed with white wax; as may be seen in the British

The first arms used as a seal in England, were those of the tyrannical
subjugator of English rights, William, commonly called the Conqueror,
and they were brought from Normandy.

Although Fenn, in his collection of original Letters of the last half
of the fifteenth century, published in London, 1787, has given the size
and shape of the seals, he does not apprise us of what substance they
were composed. Respecting a letter of 1455, he says only, that “the
seal is of red wax,” by which, it is presumed, he means common wax; and
though, perhaps not equal in quality to such as is now used, yet it was
made of nearly similar materials. Tavernier, in his Travels, says, that
in Surat gum-lac is melted and formed into sticks, like sealing-wax.
Wecker also gives directions to make an impression with calcined gypsum
and a solution of gum or isinglass. Porta, likewise, knew that this
might be done, and, perhaps, to greater perfection with amalgam of

Among the records of the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, are some letters of
1563, sealed with red and black wax. In the family of the Rhingrave,
Philip Francis von Daun, the oldest letter sealed with wax, known in
Germany, is found, of the date of August 3, 1554; it was written from
London, by an agent of that family, of the name of Gerrard Herman. The
colour of the wax is dark red, and very shining.

The oldest recipe known in Germany for making sealing-wax, was found
by M. Von Murr, in a work by Samuel Zimmerman, citizen of Augsburg,
published in 1759. The copy in the library of the university of
Gottingen is signed by the author himself.--“To make hard sealing-wax,
called Spanish wax, with which, if letters be sealed, they cannot be
opened without breaking the seal; take beautiful clear resin, the
whitest you can procure, and melt it over a slow coal fire. When it is
properly melted, take it from the fire, and for every pound of resin,
add two ounces of cinnabar, pounded very fine, stirring it about. Then
let the whole cool, or pour it into cold water. Thus you will have
beautiful red sealing-wax.

“If you are desirous of having black wax, add lamp-black to it. With
smalt or azure, you may make blue: with white-lead, white; and with
orpiment, yellow.

“If, instead of resin, you melt purified turpentine in a glass vessel,
and give it any colour you choose, you will have a harder kind of
sealing-wax, and not so brittle as the former.”

It may be remarked, that in these recipes for the fabrication of
sealing-wax there is no mention of gum-lac, which is known at present
as a chief ingredient in the composition of this article.

Zimmerman’s sealing-wax approaches very near to the quality of that
known as _maltha_, whence we may conclude, that the manufacture of it
did not originally come from the East Indies. The most ancient mention
of sealing-wax occurs in a botanical work, treating of the history of
aromatics and simples, by Garcia ab Horto, published at Antwerp in
1563, where the author, speaking of gum-lac says, that those sticks
used for sealing letters are made of it; at which time sealing-wax was
common among the Portuguese, and has since been manufactured chiefly in

M. Spiess, principal keeper of the Records at Plessenberg, says,
respecting the antiquity of _Wafers_, in Germany, that the most
ancient use of them he has known, occurs in a letter written by D.
Krapf, at Spires, in 1624, to the government of Bayreuth.--The same
authority informs us that some years after, the Brandenburg factor at
Nuremberg sent such wafers to a bailiff, at Osternohe. During the whole
of the seventeenth century, wafers were not used in the Chancery at
Brandenburg, and only by private persons there.

Seals, it appears, from certain passages of Egyptian history, parallel
with, and perhaps anterior to the Israelitish ingress, were formed or
cut in emeralds, the native produce of that country. Other precious
stones, metals, steel, lead, and a variety of materials, but chiefly of
a hard and precious kind, have been always employed for that purpose.


The period when this semi-metallic substance was introduced, for
the purpose for which it is now applied, cannot with certainty be
ascertained, as no record is found of the transaction: by the common
expedient of inference, however, we certainly may conclude, it was in
very remote ages; for transcribers of MSS. upwards of one thousand
years ago, used a substance somewhat resembling it in effect.

But, perhaps, the antiquity of the use of black-lead pencils cannot
be so well determined from diplomatiques, as their frequency might
be proved from mineralogical writers. The first mention of this
discovery occurs in the works of Gesner, who, in his “Book of
Fossils,” published in 1565, says that the British people had pencils
for writing, with wooden-handles inclosing a piece of lead, which he
believed to be an artificial composition; and it was called _stimmi
Anglicanum_; which seems to import that it was a British production;
and we should consider, from the name of British antimony being given
to it, that it might have been Cumberland black-lead.

About thirty years afterwards, Cæsalpinus gave a more perfect account
of it:--he says it was a lead-coloured, shining stone, as smooth as
glass, and appeared as if rubbed over with oil; it gave to the fingers
an ash-grey tint, with a plumbeous brightness; and, he adds, pointed
pencils were made of it, for the use of painters and draughtsmen. A
closer description of the substance than this cannot be discovered.

Somewhere about three years afterwards, a still more perfect
description was furnished by Imperatis; who says, “It is much more
convenient for drawing than pen and ink, because the marks made with
it appear distinct upon a white ground, also, in consequence of
its brightness, show themselves on black, and can be preserved or
rubbed out at pleasure. This mineral is smooth, appears greasy to the
touch, and has a leaden-colour, which it communicates with a metallic
brightness. It can resist, for a long time, the strongest fire, and
even from it requires more hardness; it has, in consequence, been
thought to be a species of _talc_. This, in the arts to which it
is applied, is a property which greatly enhanceth its value, being
manufactured into crucibles, &c., with clay. These vessels are capable
of enduring the strongest heat of a chemical furnace.”

Sometimes this lead is foliaceous, and may be crumbled into small
pieces or scales; but frequently found denser and more strong. This
latter is what writing pencils should be made of; but the former being
more frequently found, and, also, coming from the refuse of the
workmen, is too often mixed up with some glutinous substance, and there
is every reason to suppose it to be enclosed in the groove in a plastic
state; these pencils are commonly hawked about our streets by pedlars
and Jews; of purchasing which people should be cautious, as they are,
in general, utterly worthless.

Robinson, in his Essay towards a natural History of Westmoreland and
Cumberland states, that, at first, the country people round Keswick
marked their sheep with black-lead. Afterwards, they discovered the
art of employing it in their earthenware, and also to preserve iron
from rust. The same writer says, the Dutch use it in dyeing, to render
black more durable; and that they buy it in large quantities for that
purpose. But their application of it for dyeing, we should consider as
highly questionable.

The mode of eradicating black-lead by means of an elastic gum, called
caoutchouc, or, Indian-rubber, was, we have been informed, first
discovered in England somewhere about sixty years ago.


The manufacture of glass we find was quite common in Ethiopia, Syria,
Assyria, and other Eastern countries, in the earliest ages of the
world, as Diodorus Siculus informs us, who says, the Ethiopians
enclosed in glass, the bodies of their parents and friends; we
doubt, however, that on this point, the historian was deceived. But
it really appears probable that soon after the art of making glass
was discovered, the idea of communicating to it some colours would
easily present itself. This probability appears increased, when it
is recollected that much care is requisite to render glass perfectly
colourless. As the various metallic particles with which stone and
sand abound, (these being the chief ingredients of which glass is
composed, and which gradually give tints in fusion,) will almost
unavoidably communicate some hue or other, therefore the perfection of
glass is to have it perfectly colourless.

But with respect to coloured glass; so frequently have people been
imposed upon by having coloured glass sold to them for valuable stones,
that some conscientious authors have very laudably and carefully
abstained from lending the benefit of instruction in its manufacture,
by publishing the method.

The Egyptian artists were so famous in the manufacture of glass, that
the Romans were content to receive this article from the glass-houses
in Alexandria, and did not interfere in endeavouring to procure the art
themselves, until the latter part of the empire.

We read that an Egyptian priest made a present to the Emperor Adrian
of several beautiful glass cups, which sparkled with many colours; and
such value did that august personage place upon these toys, that he
ordered them to be used only on high feasts and solemnities.

Strabo relates, that a glass manufacturer of Alexandria informed him
that an earth was found in Egypt, without which the valuable coloured
glass could not be made. It has been thought by some, the glass earth
here meant was a mineral alkali which was readily found in Egypt,
serving to make glass; but this author speaking expressly of coloured
glass, it has been suggested as probable, the alkali above named could
not have reference to what the artisan intended to imply, but that it
must be referred to some metallic earth or manganese.

One Democritus is named by Seneca, as having discovered an art of
making artificial emeralds; but it has been conjectured that what the
philosopher meant was the art of communicating colour to natural
rock crystal, or colouring glass already made, so as to resemble
stones, which is a process performed by cementation. Directions have
been furnished for this purpose by Porta, Neri, and others; but it is
discovered that the articles so coloured are liable to such accidents
in the process, that it is next to impossible to render things of any
size tolerably perfect, so as to bear cutting afterwards.

In the Museum Victorium at Rome, there are shown a chrysolite and an
emerald, both perfectly well executed, and thoroughly transparent,
without a blemish.

We have not from the ancients an account of what process they employed;
but it must be evident that nothing less than metallic calces could
have been used; and for this evident reason, that any other substance
could not have resisted the influence of the necessary heat. The last
century has, however, produced certain artists in northern European
nations, who have adopted a method of employing the precious metals, to
communicate a tincture to glass in the process of making, where iron,
&c. were originally only used; and their endeavours have been attended
with singular success.

By means of an amalgam of gold, or a solution in _aqua regia_, and
precipitated with a solution of tin, the metal then assuming the
appearance of a rich purple coloured powder; so prepared, it is mixed
with the best _frit_, and then called the precipitate or gold calx of
Cassius, the inventor of gold purple, or mineral purple.

This precipitate communicates a rich ruby coloured purple, so perfect
that it is impossible to discover the deception, without the substances
be tried by the usual means--cut with a diamond or a prepared file.

We have had in England some very eminent artists in the practice of
staining glass, and also for making artificial representations of
various precious stones.

Although the professed object of alchemy has now met with that
contempt it merited--because, notwithstanding the immense sums which
have been expended, the time lost, and unprofitable labour employed
in the unavailing search after what probably never will be found--yet
the labour lost and money expended has not been totally useless, since
it has served to open the seals which secured chemical science to the
modern world; and which is the chief, if not the sole advantage it can
claim over antiquity for superiority of information.

Painting on glass, but, perhaps, staining had been a more appropriate
expression, or, properly speaking, in enamel, with the preparations
for colouring in mosaic work, may, to a certain extent, be justly
considered as branches of the art of colouring glass; in all which
there is no colour more difficult to be attained than a beautiful red;
it now is, and ever has been, most difficult, consequently the dearest
colour. The presumed ignorance of ancient artists in preparing this
colour has afforded some reason, it is said, to suppose the ancients
knew of no other substance proper for that purpose but calx of iron,
or manganese. To this we may reply, many specimens are found which
show they were not so ignorant in that art, and that it is more than
probable the same jealousy which is found to exist in modern days among
artizans might prevent our sagacious predecessors from publishing the
secrets of their respective professions to the world. We contend, that
as the materials must then have had existence, which have been since so
successfully employed, pray what was the reason the ancients should not
avail themselves of their benefit? In all the higher speculations of
science and arts, where the great and superior energies of genius were
requisite, this perfection in the ancients far surpassed any exertions
which have been since achieved by the moderns. To instance one artist
and one art solely, we name the great Praxiteles, so famous in the art
of statuary, whose works were a model of perfection.


Without entering into the history of the lapidary’s art, we only
propose to speak of those things which ancient and modern authors have
said upon the art of engraving on glass, observing, that it was an art
anciently known to both the Greeks and Romans; although it appears
extremely probable, that from their expressed ignorance of many of
those properties which modern chemistry has discovered to belong to
matter, they were ignorant of the art of etching on glass.

From antique specimens still preserved, a doubt cannot for a moment
be suffered to exist on our minds, but that the art of engraving upon
glass was familiar to the Greek artists, who formed upon glass both
linear figures, and in relievo, by the same means as are now employed
for nearly the same purpose, if we can place any confidence in an able
and learned lapidary, Natter, who has established, that the ancients
employed the same kind of instruments for this purpose, or nearly such
as are now in use; abating, perhaps the use of diamonds, and the dust
of that precious material, for which it is conceived they used emery
powder, and the dust of glass.

From what is related by Pliny, it certainly appears that they used the
lapidary’s wheel, an instrument moving in a horizontal direction over
the work-table.

Some have thought that drinking cups and vessels may have been formed
from the glass whilst in a state of fusion, by means of this wheel; to
this they think those words of Martial refer, where he says, _calices
audaces_, having reference to the boldness of the artisan’s touch;
those vessels he was constructing often broke under the last touch he
bestowed upon his transparent labours, although, perhaps, of costly
value; these accidents must of necessity have rendered those articles
extremely expensive.

There are not wanting many who affirm the art of glass-cutting,
with the instruments necessary for that operation, to be of modern
invention. Those assign it to the ingenuity of Caspar Lehmann,
originally an engraver on iron and steel, and who, as Beckmann
informs us, made an attempt, which succeeded, in cutting crystal, and
afterwards glass in the same manner. This artist, we are told, was in
the service of Rodolphus, the second emperor of that name, who, in
the year 1609, besides giving him valuable presents, conferred on him
the title of lapidary and glass-cutter to his court, and gave him a
patent, allowing him the exclusive privilege of exercising this new
art. He worked at Prague, where he had an assistant of the name of
Zacharias Belzer; but George Schwanhard, one of his pupils, carried
on the business to a much larger extent. The last named was a son of
Hans Schwanhard, a joiner at Rothenburg, and was born in 1601; at the
age of seventeen he went to Prague, to learn the art of cutting glass
from Lehmann. His good behaviour won so much upon the affections of
his master, that on his death in the year 1622, he left him his heir.
Schwanhard succeeded in obtaining a continuation of the patent from
the emperor, and removed to Nuremburg, where he wrought for many of
the nobility of that district. This was, we believe, the occasion of
that city claiming the honour of being the birth-place of this new
art. In the year 1652, he worked at Prague, and also at Ratisbon, by
command of the Emperor Ferdinand III.; and he died in 1676. He left
two sons, who both followed the lucrative employment of their father.
Afterwards Nuremburg produced many expert masters in the art, who,
from the improvement in the tools, and also from discovering more
economical modes of using them, were enabled to execute the orders of
the public at a more moderate rate than had been previously charged
for some articles. Those latter masters likewise brought this art to a
much greater degree of perfection. Notwithstanding Zahn was of the same
country, and must have been apprised of the facts previously stated,
yet he mentions it as a very recent invention at Nuremberg, at the time
he published his “Oculus Artificial.” He also furnishes a plate, giving
at the same time a description of the various instruments employed.
However, that this invention is not purely _novel_, may be perceived
from those facts we have already submitted.

It should be stated that before this latter re-introduction, artists
used, with a diamond, to cut figures upon glass in almost every form,
as far as the representation by lines went. The history of diamonds has
been presented to the public by Mr. Mawe, in his observations on the
diamond districts of Brazil. It appears to be yet undetermined whether
the ancients used that stone for the purpose of cutting others; upon
this point Pliny appears to be satisfied that they did.

Solinus and Isidore both express themselves in a manner the reverse.
But although this may leave us in some doubt, it appears pretty clear
that they did not attempt to cut that valuable production with its
own dust, or to give it different faces, or render it more brilliant
by the same means. If this point was settled, there could be no great
difficulty in affirming or negativing the fact of their engraving upon
that stone. Thus doubts appear to increase on this head, for Mariette
denies that they did; Natter appears uncertain; and Klotz asserts
with confidence it was certain. His authority, to be sure, has been
considered not to be of much weight.

The proper question, however, appears to be, whether the Greeks and
Romans used diamonds for cutting and engraving other stones or glass.
Natter, in his work already noticed, thinks they were employed on some
antique engravings. His authority is deserving respect. But if they
were employed on other stones, the authority which at present directs
us, confidently alleges they did not employ them in cutting glass; but
he points out the mode in which that article was wont to be divided, in
the following terms: “They used for that purpose emery, sharp-pointed
instruments of the hardest steel, and a red-hot iron, by which they
directed the rents at their pleasure.”

The first mention which appears to occur of the use of the diamond for
this purpose, is recorded of Francis I. of France, who, fond of the
arts, sciences, and new inventions, wrote a couple of lines with a
diamond, on a pane of glass in the Castle of Chambord, to let Anne de
Pisseleu, Duchess of Estampes, know that he was jealous.

About 1652, festoons and other ornaments, cut with a diamond, were
made on Venetian glasses; then considered the best. Schwanhard was
a professed adept in that art; and since his time an artist of the
name of John Rost, of Augsburg, cut some drinking glasses, which were
purchased by the Emperor Charles VI., at an extravagant price.


An acid to dissolve siliceous earth was discovered as late as 1771, by
the celebrated chemist Scheele, in _sparry fluor_. It is conceived that
this cannot be of older date than that period; but it is alleged that
an acid was discovered as early as the year 1670, by Henry Schwanhard.
It being said that some aquafortis had dropped, by accident upon his
spectacles, the glass being corroded by it, he thence learned to
improve the liquid that he could etch figures and write upon glass. How
he prepared this liquid is a secret which has not been revealed. The
_Teutsche Akedemie_ says on this subject, that he, by the acuteness of
his genius, proved that which had been considered impossible could be
accomplished; and found out a corrosive so powerful that the hardest
crystal glass, which had hitherto withstood the force of the strongest
spirits, was obliged to yield to it, as well as metals and stones. By
these means he delineated and etched, on glass, figures of men, in
various situations, animals and plants, in a manner perfectly natural,
and brought them to the highest perfection.

The glass proposed to be etched is made perfectly clean and free from
grease; then the figure is covered with a varnish; then an edge of wax
being raised round the glass, the acid is poured in, and the whole
ground on the exterior of the figures appears rough, whilst the figure
is preserved in its original beauty of outline, bright and smooth. This
is the mode the inventor adopted.

Professor Beckmann says, he mentioned this ancient method of etching
upon glass, to an artist of the name of Klindworth, who possessed great
dexterity in such arts, and requested him to try it; he drew a tree
with oil varnish and colours on a plate of glass, applied the acid on
the plate in the usual manner; after it had been upon the plate for a
sufficient time, poured off, and the plate afterwards cleaned of the
varnish, a beautiful tree was left bright and smooth, with a rough
back-ground. It is conceived that many great improvements may yet be
made in this process.

It appears that no other acid than that produced by the sparry fluor
is capable of corroding every kind of glass, though Baume, in his
“Chemique Experimentale,” says, that many kinds of glass may be
corroded by the marine and vitriolic acids.

In this state of uncertainty was the public mind till the year
1725, when it was thought that a recipe, older than that previously
mentioned, might possibly be discovered. Accordingly, in that year, in
the month of January, the following is said to have been transmitted
to the publisher of the “Œkonomische Encyclopedie,” by Dr. John
George Weygand, of Goldingen, which is reported to have belonged to
Dr. Matthew Pauli, of Dresden, then deceased; with which the last
named gentleman had etched, on glass, arms, landscapes, and figures
of various kinds. We find, that in it, very strong acid of nitre was
used, which entirely disengages the acid of sparry fluor, though the
vitriolic acid has been commonly employed, and figures thus produced
will appear as if raised above the plane of the glass.

This sparry fluor is found abundantly in Derbyshire, as well as in the
mines of Germany. Theophrastus is the first who notices the effect of
sparry fluor, by observing that there are certain stones which, when
added to silver, copper, and iron ores, become fluid. It appears that
Cronstedt was the first systematic writer who gave it a name.

When _spiritus nitri per distillationem_ has passed into the recipient,
ply it with a strong fire, and when well dephlegmated, pour it, (as
it corrodes ordinary glass,) into a Waldenburg flask; then throw into
it a pulverised green Bohemian emerald, otherwise called _hesphorus_,
(which, when reduced to powder and heated, emits in the dark a green
light,) and place it in warm sand for twenty-four hours. Take a piece
of glass, well cleaned, and freed from all grease by means of a ley;
put a border of wax round it, about an inch in height, and cover it
equally all over with the above acid. The longer you let it stand,
so much the better; and at the end of some time the glass will be
corroded, and the figures which have been traced out with sulphur and
oil varnish will appear as if raised above the plane of the glass.


The Hydrometer is an instrument for admeasuring liquids; by it the
strength or specific gravity of different fluids is discovered, by
the depth to which it sinks in them. It has been chiefly used for
discovering the contents of different salt waters, without analysis,
and is now almost entirely used by persons connected with the
spirit-trade, to ascertain the different degrees of strength, and what
alloy they will bear; hence its utility to the manufacturer and the
excise-officer is apparent.

The laws respecting the comparative weight of different fluids, as well
as of solid bodies immersed in them, was first discovered by that great
geometrician Archimedes. It may be far from improbable that Archimedes
constructed that instrument himself; and if it should appear that he
did, it must have happened two hundred and twelve years before the
Christian era.

The most ancient mention of this instrument by its specific name,
occurs in the fifth century of our era, upon the following occasion.
The anecdote is very singular and affecting, and also evinces the
incapacity of humanity to act consistent and as it ought, when we
suffer ourselves to be directed by passions unworthy of the human

It is first discovered in those letters of Synesius to the philosophic
and beautiful Hypatia. We trust we may be excused the liberty we
propose to take in detailing this circumstance, which is comparatively
little known; and as its interest also recommends it, this furnishes an
additional motive.

Hypatia was the daughter of Theon, an eminent mathematician of
Alexandria, some of whose writings are still extant. By her father
she was instructed in the mathematics, and from other great men,
who at that period abounded in Alexandria, she learned the Platonic
and Aristotelian philosophy, and acquired such a knowledge of these
sciences, that she taught them publicly, with the greatest applause.
She was young and beautiful, had a personable figure, was sprightly
and agreeable in conversation, though, at the same time, modest; and
she possessed the most rigid virtue, which was proof against every
temptation. She conducted herself with so much propriety towards
her lovers, that they never could obtain more than the pleasure of
her company, and hearing her discourse; and with this, which they
considered as an honour, they were contented. Those who were so daring
as to desire further communion she dismissed; and even destroyed
the appetite of one of her admirers, who would not suffer her to
philosophise, by means of some strong preparation, which others appear
not to have since imitated.

She suffered so cruel a death, that had she been a Christian, and
suffered from Pagan error, her name would have been ranked among its
most honoured victims in the list of martyrology; but being a Pagan,
and suffering from the persecution of superstitious and anti-Christian
zeal, she is honoured among the foremost of martyrs to celestial

The name of the Christian patriarch, at that period in Alexandria, was
Cyrill, whose family had, for upwards of a hundred years before his
time, produced bishops, who had been much more serviceable to their own
family connections than they had ever been towards the propagation of
the Christian faith. The present was proud, litigious, and revengeful,
vindictive and intolerant to the last degree; his ignorance debasing
his own character as a man, and scandalising the religion of which he
was so unworthy a minister. He stupidly conceived himself sanctioned
in everything which his foolish and mistaken ideas might dictate to be
for the glory of God, and acted as a persecutor, prosecutor, judge, and
executioner: he had condemned Nestorias without hearing his defence.
As the city of Alexandria was then very flourishing on account of its
extended commerce, the emperor had there allowed greater toleration and
more peculiar privileges to all religions, than in any other place:
it consequently contained, among others, a great number of Jews, who
carried on a most extensive trade, as well as a great many Pagan
families. In the eyes of the bigot Cyrill this was wrong; he would have
the sheep-fold clean, and the Jews must be banished. The governor,
however, who was a man of prudence and sober discretion, much better
acquainted with the real interests of the city, opposed a measure he
saw replete with mischief, and even caused to be condemned to death a
Christian profligate, who had injured the Jews. This malefactor was, by
the express order of Cyrill, buried in the church as a martyr; and he
collected an army of five hundred lazy monks, who abused the governor
in the public streets, and excited an insurrection among the people
against the Jews, so that the debased race of Abraham was expelled from
the city where they had so long existed unmolested from the time of
Alexander the Great.

Cyrill, one day, whilst looking for objects of persecution, saw a
number of carriages, attended with servants, belonging to the first
families in the city, before a certain house. Inquiring what was the
cause of the assembly, he was informed that it was the habitation of
the lovely Hypatia, who, on account of her extensive learning and very
eminent talents, was visited by people of the first respectability.
This afforded to the malignant priest a sufficient object for the
exercise of his jealousy against the meritorious, the unoffending, the
beautiful Hypatia. He from that moment resolved upon her destruction.
Accordingly he lost no time in exciting his myrmidons, the monks and
priests, those who should have been the ministers of that religion
which they professed to teach, to destroy the fair philosopher.
They accordingly, with diabolical rage, and instigated by infernal
cruelty, took the earliest opportunity to seize her, hurried her to the
church--the temple of peace and good-will--which they violated by an
offence at which humanity must shudder; having torn the clothes from
her delicate form, they tore the flesh from her bones with potsherds,
then dragged her mangled body about the city, and afterwards burnt it.

This demoniacal tragedy took place in the year 415, and was perpetrated
by the professed servants of Him who came into world to save those
which were lost--to preach peace and good-will to all men. The
impressions which such an event made upon people of every persuasion
may be conceived; they admit not of description from a feeble pen: but
we may ask the question, was it such a transaction as was calculated to
make converts to the doctrines of Christianity?--whose avowed motive
and maxim is, in the words of Milton,

   “By winning words, to conquer willing hearts,
    And make persuasion do the work of fear.”

All historians are not agreed in some circumstances of the preceding
relation; but they generally unite in bestowing praise upon Hypatia,
whose memory was long honoured by her grateful and affectionate
scholars, among whom was Synesius, of a noble Pagan family, who had
cultivated philosophy and the mathematics with the utmost ardour,
and who had been one of her most intimate friends and followers. On
account of his learning and virtues, many eminent talents, and open
disposition, the inhabitants of Ptolemais were desirous he should be
bishop, having been previously employed on many public and important
concerns with success. After modestly desiring, for a long period,
that they would fix their choice upon a more worthy object, they still
persisting, he assented, upon condition that he was not to believe
in the resurrection, to which he could not at that time bring his
internal conviction: he suffered himself to be baptised, and became
their bishop; he was confirmed by the orthodox patriarch Theophilus,
the predecessor of Cyrill, to whose jurisdiction Ptolemais belonged:
he afterwards renounced his error respecting the resurrection. This
learned man evinced his gratitude to Hypatia, by the honourable mention
which he made of her in some of his writings, still preserved.

In his fifteenth letter to her, he tells Hypatia, that he was so
unfortunate, or found himself so ill, that he wished to use an
hydroscopium (the Greek for hydrometer), and he requests that
she would cause one to be constructed for him. He says, “It is a
cylindrical tube, of the size of a reed or pipe; a line is drawn upon
it lengthways, which is intersected by others, and these point out the
weight of water. At the end of the tube is a cone, the base of which
is joined to that of the tube, so that they have both only one base.
This part of the instrument is called _baryllion_. If it be placed in
water, it remains in a perpendicular direction, so that one can readily
discover by it the weight of the fluid.”

Petau, who published the works of Synesius, in the year 1640,
acknowledges that he did not understand this passage. An old scoliast,
he says, who had added some illegible words, thought it was a
water-clock; but the ellepsydra was not immersed in water, but filled
with it. He therefore thought that it might allude to the chorobates,
which Vitruvius describes as an instrument employed in levelling; but
it appears that Synesius, who complained of ill health, could have no
occasion for such an instrument. Besides, no part of that instrument he
describes, has any resemblance to the one described by Synesius.

From the works of Fermat, an excellent mathematician, and a very
learned man, well acquainted with antiquities and the works of the
ancients, we give the following explanation concerning the hydroscopium
of Archimedes, as this article would be incomplete without it:--

“It is impossible,” says he, “that the _hydroscopium_ could be the
level or _chorobates_ of Vitruvius, for the lines on the latter were
perpendicular to the horizon, whereas the lines on the former were
parallel to it. The hydroscopium was undoubtedly a hydrometer of the
simplest construction. The tube may be made of copper, and open at the
top; but at the other end, which, when used, is the lowest, it must
terminate with a cone, the base of which is added to that of the tube.
Lengthwise, along the tube, are drawn two lines, which are intersected
by others, and the more numerous these divisions are, the instrument
will be so much the more correct.--When placed in water it sinks to a
certain depth, which will be marked by the cross-lines, and which will
be greater, according to the lightness of the water.” A figure which is
added, might have been dispensed with. When a common friend of Fermat
and Petau showed it to the latter, he considered it to be so just,
and explanatory of the real meaning of Synesius, that he wished to be
allowed the opportunity of introducing it in a new edition of the works
of Synesius.


J. S. Pratt, Stokesley, Yorkshire.

Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not

Many typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Text uses both “Guttenberg” and “Guttenburg”, “Helvelius” and
“Hevelius”; both versions retained.

Page 18: “documentary” was printed as “documentry”; changed here.

Page 33: “transcendant” was printed that way.

Page 33: The opening quotation mark preceding “A complete Course of
Lithography” was added by Transcriber. Other punctuation and spelling
within that title has not been changed, but some of it differs from
what was printed in the English translation of the cited book.

Page 54: The period after “Deity” in “offensive to the Deity. that the
great majority” probably should be a semi-colon.

Pages 63 and 249: A question mark is followed by a lower-case word.

Page 109: “Chardiu” was printed that way.

Page 139: “It last it changed colours” should begin with “At”.

Page 171: “the bull of Æolus” probably is a misprint for “ball”.

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