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A short time before I left France a person came to me from London with plans and drawings for an iron bridge of one arch over the river Thames at London, of six hundred feet span, and sixty feet of height from the cord line. The subject was then before a committee of the House of Commons, but I know not the proceedings thereon.
As this new construction of an arch for bridges, and the principles on which it is founded, originated in America, as the documents I have produced sufficiently prove, and is becoming an object of importance to the world, and to no part of it more than our own, on account of its numerous rivers, and as no experiment has been made in America to bring it into practice, further than on the models I have executed myself, and at my own expence, I beg leave to submit a proposal to Congress on the subject, which is,
To erect an experiment rib of about four hundred feet span, to be the segment of a circle of at least one thousand feet diameter, and to let it remain exposed to public view, that the method of constructing such arches may be generally known.
It is an advantage peculiar to the construction of iron bridges, that the success of an arch of given extent and height, can be ascertained without being at the expense of building the bridge: which is, by the method I propose, that of erecting an experiment rib on the ground where advantage can be taken of two hills for butments.
I began in this manner with the rib of ninety feet span, and five feet of height, being a segment of a circle of four hundred and ten feet diameter. The undertakers of the Sunderland bridge began in the same manner. They contracted with the iron-founders for a single rib, and finding it to answer, had five more manufactured like it, and erected it into a bridge consisting of six ribs, the experiment rib being one. But the Sunderland bridge does not carry the principle much further into practice than had been done by the rib of ninety feet span and five feet in height, being as before said, a segment of a circle of four hundred and ten feet diameter. The Sunderland bridge being three hundred and six feet span and thirty-four feet of height, gives the diameter of the circle of which it is a segment, to be four hundred and forty-four feet, within a few inches, which is but a larger segment of a circle of thirty-four feet more diameter.
The construction of those bridges does not come within the line of any established practice of business. The stone architect can derive but little from the theory or practice of his art that enters into the construction of an iron bridge; and the iron-founder, though he may be expert in moulding and casting the parts, when the models are given him, would be at a loss to proportion them unless he was acquainted with all the lines and properties belonging to a circle.
If it should appear to Congress that the construction of iron bridges will be of utility to the country, and they should direct that an experiment rib be made for that purpose, I will furnish the proportions for the several parts of the work, and give my attendance to superintend the erection of it freely.
But, in any case, I have to request that this memoir may be put on the journals of Congress as an evidence hereafter, that this new construction of bridges originated in America.
Federal City, Jan. 3, 1803.
N. B. The two models mentioned in the memoir, will, I expect, arrive at Philadelphia by the next packet from the Federal city, and will remain for some time in Mr. Peale's Museum.
ADDRESS FROM BORDENTOWN.
At an adjourned Meeting of the Republicans of Bordenfown, and its neighbourhood, held at the house of Thomas Lawrence, Colonel Joseph Kirkbride in the chair,
Resolved, That the following Address, signed by the Chairman, be published in the True American, printed by Wilson and Blackwell, of Trenton, and that the patriotic Printers in other parts be requested to republish it:—
To Our Fellow-citizens.
Federalism and falsehood, like cursing and swearing, are become so united, that to think of one is to remember both.
The following electioneering hand-hill, drawn up by a Federal committee of the county of Rensselaer, State of New York, was sent by post from thence to this place, but by whom, or for what purpose, is not known, as it was enclosed in a blank cover.
The aforesaid meeting of the Federal committee was held for the purpose of nominating and recommending candidates for the election then ensuing; but when the election came on, it unfortunately happened, for lying, like a stumbling horse, will lay his rider in the dust, that none of the candidates recommended by the meeting were elected. The Republican ticket overrun the Federal ticket more than two to one.
The introductory paragraphs in the hand,bill (as will be seen by the reading) are hypocritical, inserted to deceive at first sight, and make the unwary believe it is a Republican hand-hill recommending Republican candidates. Those paragraphs speak the pure language of democracy and Republican Government. The right of the people to elect their law-givers is spoken of as the boast of Americans. It is thus the apostate leaders of the faction counterfeit the principles of democracy to work its overthrow. The language of their pen in the former part, but their hand-hill address is not the language of their hearts; nor is it the language of their lips on any other occasion than to deceive at an election. They have long tried the foul language of abuse without success, and they are now trying what hypocrisy will do. But let the hand-hill speaks for itself.
To the Independent Electors of the county of Rensselaer.
"Fellow-Citizens! "The following candidates for senators from the eastern district, and for Members of Assembly for the county of Rensselaer, are recommended to your confidence and support at the ensuing election, by the united voice of your committees collected from each of the towns in the county, viz.
Moses Vail, of the county of Rensselaer,
FOR MEMBERS OF ASSEMBLY.
John D. Dickinson, of the town of Troy,
"Among the privileges, fellow-citizens, which belong to freemen, perhaps there is no one more dear to them, than that of selecting from among themselves the persons who shall make the laws by which they are to be governed. From this source arises a consolation, which is the boast of Americans, that in elective Governments like ours, the people are their own law-givers. To the exercise of this privilege, equally interesting to ourselves and important to society, we shall in a few days be called.
"It becomes us, then, fellow-citizens, when about to enter upon a duty so essential to the welfare of the community, to divest ourselves of all unwarrantable prejudices; and while with one hand we offer the names of our candidates, to be able, with the other on our hearts, to appeal to Him who knows our secret intentions, to witness the rectitude of our conduct.
"Under the full weight of these impressions, the candidates whose names we here take the liberty of offering for your support, have been selected; and without wishing to draw any invidious comparisons between them and those of our political opponents, we feel justified in saying, that they are men whose patriotism and fidelity entitle them to the confidence of their countrymen. Their principles are truly Republican. Not of that kind of modern Republicanism which consists in a heterogeneous mass of Jacohinism and democracy; but that which the constitution of our country recognizes; that which the immortal Washington in his life practised, and by his invaluable legacy transmitted to the world.
In these our candidates, we do not promise advocates of unrestrained liberty; neither can we engage that the people shall be entirely released from the burthen of supporting the Government which protects them. These are promises incompatible with rational liberty. They are empty sounds, calculated to ensnare and deceive: therefore we leave the full and exclusive use of them with our adversaries, to whom they of right belong. To the siren sound of delusive and false promises are they in a great measure indebted for the power they now hold.
We have been told that the administration of the Federal Government, by Washington and Adams, was tyrannical and corrupt; that a system of profusion and extravagance was pursuing, which must ruin the nation. We have been called upon by all that was dear to us, to look to Jefferson for relief, and have been promised every thing which could allure the credulous, or delude the unwary. But what have we realised? What, alas! but disappoiutment? Pause and reflect. Instead of a system of equal taxation for the support of Government, we now see the lordly Virginian rolling over his plantation in his gilded coach, in the free use of all the luxuries of life, but exempt from taxes; while we are obliged to pay a duty on the necessaries of life, amounting to nearly one,third part of their value. Instead of an American, whose integrity has stood the test of the severest scrutiny, we behold, with the keys of our treasury in his hand, a foreigner, famous only for having instigated an insurrection in Pennsylvania. Instead of a navy sufficient to protect our commerce against the lawless depredations of pirates and marauders, we have seen our vessels sacrificed under the hammer of the auctioneer for less than half their value; and our commerce unprotected, and a prey to the pusillanimous and detestable Spaniards.
But startle not at these things, fellow-citizens—We could