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the Commercial and Agricultural Magazine for Norember r8oo, was given a description of the Transit, then a ship with five masts; and it is there said, "Mr. Gower had frequently remarked, that when a sail is braced up to the wind, the leeleech is struck with greater force by the wind than the weatherleech: if, therefore, the quantity of Ice-leeches could be augmented, the multiplied pressure of the wind would undoubtedly accelerate a vessel." For this purpose, the writer recommends numerous divisions of sails as producing more lee-leeches; and he remarks that "little more will Remain to be done than to learn by experience how far the dividing of the canvas may be carried on to advantage: that is to say, how many masts are admissible in a given length of keel."
Convenience, ease of management, and safety, are reasons frequently urging a preference of a number of small sails to one large sail: but here the question is the effect on the rate of sailing. In the first place, we consider one large sail as susceptible of greater pressure from the wind, than the same area, of canvas divided in a number of small sails. Suppose that, instead of a large top-sail or course, a number of small sails were spred to occupy the same space: they would correspond with so many slits in the larger sail, through which the wind would escape, to the diminution of pressure. In looking at the drawing representing the Transit under weigh, the small masts and narrow sails give the idea of boys being set to do the work of men. Allowing equal weight, though more in number, they cannot be supposed to have equal power. — Again; it is ▼ery questionable whether an increase of the quantity of leeleeches would be productive of advantage. The pressure of the wind on the lee-leech of a sail gives an impulse more sideways than forwards; whereas the action of the wind on the weather-part of the sail (and especially of a square sail, a good proportion of which is to windward of the mast,) is an impulse nearly in the direction of the keel.
Mr. Gower enumerates, among the recommendations of small masts and many sails, the easy reduction of sail, and the riding light at anchor: the first is doubtless a very material consideration in merchant vessels, which must be managed with a small number of hands; and the other is of consequence in all vessels. An advantage is likewise mentioned in the shape of the 1 ransit's hull, (independently of the length,) which is worth noticing:
'The Transit's cargoes have been constantly discharged in the highest cegree oj perfection This good property arises partly from her easy motion at sea, which occasions so little distress to the hull, and partly from the Jailing out of the sides which causes all the leak■age water to drain down the planking of the bottom, into the angle below, without Wetting her skin or ceiling, where three feet of water may rest without injury to the cargo. A stranger to the vessel, on going down into her empty hold; and observing the general dryness of her skin, would scarcely believe it possible that the vessel had performed so many voyages as she has done.'
In the next section, Mr. G. has given the description of a log invented by himself for measuring a ship's rate of sailing. We have a double reason for regretting the disappointments of those Who take real pains in projects intended For public benefit -, and as Mr. Gowtr has exercised much ingenuity, bestowed much labour, and incurred considerable expence, in the invention of his new log, we are truly concerned that we cannot give it our unqualified approbation. The moving power of his log he describes to be ' a spiral consisting of four vanas or leaves, each vane being a spiral curve which revolves round its axis as it is drawn through the water, and is so regulated as to perform an ascertained number of revolutions in passing through a given space, being provided with a register formed of two concentric wheels to mark the number. The spiral is guarded from being affected by the wind or other accidents in drawing it up out of the water, by being inclosed in a tube, and by a davit with a sheave for the hauling-up line to pass through, which keeps it clear of the ship's side.
To this log it must be objected that the machinery is too complicated, and that it requires much more attention in its Use than the common log. It likewise occupies more time; being adapted, with a view to greater accuracy, to take the rate of sailing for three minutes at each trial. Another circumstance which creates doubt is, that the log during the trial is kept abreast of the ship: wherefore, though it is recommended to bear the log out from the ship's side with a boat-hook against the towing-line of the log, it can scarcely be supposed to be clear of the disturbed and unsettled water which is occasioned by the ship's passage. In the common log, this is remedied by an allowance of about 20 fathoms of stray-line, that the ship may pass the log, and the displaced water have time to recover its level, before the running out of the line is measured with the glass. On these considerations, we retain our partiality for the long established log; which, if the glass and marks of the line are occasionally examined, we think, will give the rate of sailing with as much accuracy as can be attained by any mode yet discovered. —Mr. G. proposes that the divisions of the knot should be expressed in tenths, ' which would correspond with the decimal division of the difference of latitude and departure-table.' We agres with him that this
Rev. Mat, 1808. F would would be a more intelligible division of the sea-mile, and « be more convenient than the unnatural division of knots into fathoms.'
We find also in this Supplement to Practical Seamanship some useful hints on sail making: the latter part contains Observations on Marine Surveying, and on the Mensuration of Distances ; and the last section gives a description of an Eyeshade, contrived for the use of Weak-sighted People.
A«.t. XII. Curiosities of Literature. Fifth Edition; revised, altered, and enlarged with new Articles. Svo. 2 vols. pp. 500 in each. ll. is. Boards. Murray. 1807.
It must be confessed that the teachers of wisdom ami know*■ lege are sometimes considered as assuming a too formal and too highly elevated attitude, as not stopping to be sufficiently minute, and as exhibiting more maxims than facts, and more assertions than details to support them. The philosopher, indeed, has a strong bias to generalize, and the historian to be decisive in his characters. It would be too familiar in them to hint at anecdote; and it is only by a straying epithet, or a reluctant parenthesis, that curiosity is in some measure gratified. In these circumstances, we are much indebted to such writers as the author of the work before us. For their use, provided that knowlege is increased and character illustrated, the most homely incidents are not too familiar, nor the most trivial circumstances too minute. They lead us into the storehouse, in which we see the raw materials that may be wrought into so many forms and textures; and which should be carefully visited by every man who constructs theories, or builds on facls.
On this account, collections authentically made, which have for their object facts, usages, manners, and characters, have generally in the republic of Letters been deemed valuable; and the compiler of the present volumes has always appeared to us, in this respect, to possess considerable merit. Indeed he is not here a mere collector; he swells his store by careful discrimination and curious research; and he passes shrewd and liberal judgments as he journeys on through his varied materials. Literature and the learned are his chief pursuits, as is implied in the title; and Mr. D'Israeli has, in more works than one, shewn a strong predilection to this subject. He loves the society of the literary, and manifestly wishes to live among them: he takes a deep concern in their affairs; he honours them; he consoles them; and in many parts he is rheir modest guide.".
1 '* * The
The present edition may almost be said to be a new work with an old title; since it comprehends a great many articles that are altogether novel; such as Libraries; Bibliomania ; Notices of best Works; Scholastic Disquisitions; Titles of Basis; Fame contemned; Talmud; Rabbinical Stories; Literary Fashions; The Early Drama; Marriage of the Arts ; Solitude; Literary Friendships; Abstraction of the Mind; Richardson, the Novelist; Influent* of Names; The Jews of York; Sovereignty of the Seas; Poetical Imitations, &c. Many of the articles also in the former editions are greatly enlarged; such as Literary Journals; Recovery of Manuscripts; Mysteries; Abridgers; Poets; v Romances; Materials of Wriling; European Manntrs; Literary Composition; Abelard and Eloisa; The Scuderiet; Portraits of Authors; Metempsychosis; Origin of Newspapers; Pasquin and Marforio, j&c. &c. Indeed we recognize very few of the articles which are not enlarged and improved.
Extracts from such a work would doubtless amuse our readers, but we shall satisfy ourselves with a very few. To the account of Mademoiselle Scudery formerly given, the ingenious author now adds very amusing anecdotes of her brother.
• George Scudbry, lier brother, her inferior in genius, had a striking singularity of character :—he was perhaps one of the most complete votaries to the universal divinity of Vanity. With a heated imagination, entirely destitute of judgment, his military character was continually exhibiting it3elf by that peaceful instrument the pen, so that he exhibits a most amusing contrast of ardent feelings in a cool situation; not liberally endowed with genius, but abounding with its semblance in the fire of excentric gasconade; no man has pourtrayed his own character with a bolder colouring than himself in his numerous prefaces and addresses. Fortunate man! he was surrounded by a thousand self-illusions of the most sublime class; every thing that related to himself had an Homeric grandeur of conception.
'It may amuse to collect these traits of an uncommon character. In an epistle to the Duke of Montmorency, he says, " I will learn to write with my left hand that my right hand may more nobly be devoted to your service;" and alluding to his pen, (plume,) declares
he comes from a family who never used one but to stick it in their hats." When he solicits small favours from the Great, he assures them, *• that Princes must not think him importunate, and that his writings are merely inspired by his own individual interest; no ! he exclaims, I am studious only of your glory, while I am careless of my own fortune." And indeed, to do him but justice, he acted up to these romantic feelings. After he had published his Epic of Alaric, Christina of Sweden proposed to honor him with a chain of gold of the value of five hundred pounds, provided he would .expunge from his Epic the eulogiutns he bestowed on the Count of Gardie
F 2 whom
whom she had disgraced. With magnanimity, the epical tout of Scudery scorned the bribe, and replied, that " If the chain of gold should be as weighty as that chain mentioned in the history of the Incas, I will never destroy any altar on which I have sacrificed !"■
'Proud of hia affected nobility and erratic life, he addresses one of his prefaces to the reader thus: "You will pass over lightly any faults in my work, if you reflect that. I have employed the greater part of my life in seeing the finest parts of Europe, and that I passed more days in the camp than in the library. I have used mare matches to light my arquebuse (a sort of hand gun) than to light my candles. 1 Know better to arrange columns in the field than those on paper; and to square battalions better than to round periods" I have elsewhere shewn how, in his first publication, he began his literary career perfectly in character, by a challenge to his critics.
« He is the author of sixteen plays, chiefly heroic tragedies; children who all bear the features of their father. He first introduced in his "L'AmourTyrannique," a strict observance of the four-andtwenty hours which he drew from Aristotle; and in a preface by Sarrasin the necessity and advantages of this rule are urged; a regulation which the free spirit of the British muse has not submitted to. In his last tragedy, "Arminius," he extravagantly flings his panegyrics about its fifteen predecessors; but of the present he has the most exalted notion: it is the quintessence of Scudery! An ingenious Critic calls it " The downfall of Mediocrity!" It is amusing to listen to this blazing preface—" At length, reader, hothing remains for me but to mention the great Armmius which I now present to you, and by which I have resolved to close my long and laborious course. It is indeed my masterpiece! and the most finished work that ever came from my pen; for whether we examine the fable, the manners, the sentiments, or the versification, it is certain that I never performed any thing so just, so great, nor more beautiful } and if my labours could ever deserve a crown, I would claim it for this work!"
'All the acts of this singular personage were like these writings; and he gives a very pompous description of a most unimportant government which he obtained. He was raised to a miserable command near Marseilles, but all the grandeur existed only in our author's heated imagination. Bachaumont and De la Chapelle, two wits of those times, in their playful " Voyage," describe it with humour; "Mais il faut vous parler du Fort Qui sans doute est une Merveille; C*est notre dame de la garde! Gouvernment commode et beau, A qui soffit pour tout garde, Un Suisse avec sa halebarde Feint sur la porte de chateau!" • A fort very commodiously guarded; only requiring one centinel, and that centinel a soldier painted on the door!
• In a sonnet on his disgust with the world, he tells us how intimate he has been with Princes: Europe has known him through all her provinces; he ventured every thing in a thousand combats ,