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Metroñarifton defended.

1798.]

which was deftroyed by an accidental fire on the 27th of February, 1792, and which ftood upon the fame fite.

Dublin Cattle, the feat of the refident Lord Lieutenant, is a very hand fome and commodious palace. Its beauty, however, has been much injured by the prefent Marquis of Buckingham, both externally and internally; externally, by ftopping up a very chafte and light arcade in the principal front, when he was there in 1783 as Earl Temple, which now has an odious appearance, and is, at the fame time, rendered totally ufelefs; and internally, when he was Lord Lieutenant there in 1788, by converting a magnificent hall at the top of the great ftair-cafe, at that time called the Battleaxe Guard-hall, into a prefence chamber. This apartment is totally unnecessary, as prior to this there was a moft excellent one; and instead of the former grand entrance, you must now pats through a lobby which was before merely the landing (as it is called in architecture) of the great ftair-cafe, which at prefent refembles the confined lobby of a decent prifon. He has, indeed, caufed fome allegorical pictures to be placed in the cieting of the ball-toom. This room, in honour of the order of knighthood of St. Patrick, and in which upon that day, viz. the 17th of March, 1783, the knights of that order dined, has been called, fince the firft installation, St. Patrick's Hall. The murability of public favour was, perhaps, never more predominant than in the two periods of that nobleman's administration in Ireland. For in the year 1483; when

Suadendo ftultis oleum difperdere vultis ? or any other leonine verfe. But having learned, it should feem, from the profodical differtation to which he infers, that the two left fyllables of uxori form a fpondee; and continuing in his vicious habit of reading as a trochee the two laft fyllables of forori, which form a fpondée alfo, himself viciates the rhyme. And if he had not read with grear inattention, he would have feen, that (directly contrary to his affertion 1) the detaching or feparating, in pronunciation, any fyllable from a word, is difapproved and that even in the fcanning, according to the method there recommended, the very fyllable he mentions, the laft in uxori, would not be feparated from the preceding fyllable.

As to the Formal Attack," which H. M. feems to threaten, it had need to be conducted with confiderable skul and power, if he hopes with any effect to counteract the public approbation which the revived doctrine of Mekerchus has obtained, and to diflodge it from the ftrong-hold it occupies, in the countenance already given to it by one of the firft, if not the first, of the fchools of reputation in the kingdom.

Were it not belide the queftion, a good defence might be made for the rhymes, though nothing can be faid for the style, of the trochaic couplet, by (as H. M. properly expreffes himself) a worthy fa

dered himself the idol of the Irish nation; but in the years 1788-9, when he was, there as Marquis of Buckingham, he became to the fame people progretively ob noxious; privately quitted the kingdom, from a fmall fea bathing place near Dub lin, called the Black Rock, and carried with him the cenfure of the Irish Houfe of Commons, which record remains upon the Journals of that House to this very

he refided there as Earl Temple, he ren-bricator of birth-day odes; for no one ought to be able to write in a better ftyle who would accept an office fo degrading letters as a laureate fhip-worthily refufed by that fterling poet who has fo elegantly taught, that

hour.

[To be continued.]

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.

SIR,

19

Mekerchus, is not a rhyming hexameter. It is not only rhyming, but doubly rhyming as perfectly fo, as

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YOUR correfpondent, H. M. (page 193, of a late Magazine) afferts,

that

Vir, precor, uxori, frater, fucurre, forori, when read according to the doctrine of

Virtue's an ingot of Peruvian gold,
Senfe the bright ore Potofi's mines unfold;
But Temper's image muft their ufe create,
And give thefe precious metals fterling weight.

I am, &c.

W.S*.

[* When in our laft we announced our intention to difcontinue the controverfy on the fubject of Metronarifton, one short letter,

.

For

here inferted, had escaped our notice.
the fake of the two pieces of informa-
tion which it contains, we now give it place.
EDITORS.]

D &

THEORY

1

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Inflammation of Pyrophori.

THEORY OF THE INFLAMMATION
OF PYROPHORI.

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.

SIR,

I
SEE, with great ple fure, that you
are extremely fuccefsful in your at-
tempts to cock up the utile with the dulce.
The public relish the difh. Nay, I be
lieve, there never was a Scotfman fon er
of his kaggice, nor a Englishman of his
beef fleak, nor a Spaniard of his olla
podrida, nor an Italian of his macaroni,
than are all thofe among my neighbours,
who are thought connoiffeurs in the food
of the mind, of the Monitly Magazine.
You cannot be ill-pleafed to know, that
your Mifcellany has found its way
far north as did Cromwell's foldiers, and
English cabbages, in the middle of the
laft century; and is read with cagernefs
on the claffic grounds of Macbeth, and of
Offian.

as

It is not, however, a claffic matter, but finall chemical trifle, with which now with to trouble you. There is a particular compofition, known to chemifts by the name of pyrophorus, becaufe it poffeffes the property of being liable to fponrancous inflammation in the open air. It was compofed by Homberg, apothecary and chemift to the famous regent duke of Orleans, by the diftillation of alum with the refidue of human excrement. There are very many vegetables and animal matters which, if treated with alum, afford this prophorus. It may be obtained from the greater number of thofe falts which contain fulphuric acid in union with whatever cafe. M. Prouft has even proved, that any fubftance containing carbonaceous matter, in union, with an earth or oxyde, is fufceptible of this fpontaneous combuftion in the air. It is now commonly prepared by melting three parts of alum with one part of, fugar, honey, or meal, expofing the melted, cooled, and hardened mixture, a fecond time, to heat, till it be kindled to burn for a few moments, with a blueish flame; then cooling the matter thus burned, and preferving it in a dry flafk, clofely ftopped, to be ufed as pyrophorus, Expofure to the atmosphere brings it inftantly to burn with a flame fufficiently vivid. The more humid the air, fo much the more readily does this inflammation take place.

I

To account for a phenomenon fo remarkable, as the fpontaneous inflammation of this pyrophorus, chemifts have offered feveral different theories, which are almost all alike unfatisfactory. Hom

[Jan.

berg and Lemery fuppofed, that the prefence of calcareous earth in the mixture was the caufe of the inflammation. Le Jay de Savigny imagined the mixture to containa glacial oil of vitriol, which, attracting moisture from the atmosphere, gradually heated the mafs to inflammation by this means. Mr. Bewly, in a letter to Dr.Prieftley, afcribes the fame effect to the prefence of a principle in the pyrophorus, by which there is nitrous acid attracted from the atmosphere. Others have conjectured, that the combuftion of pyrophorus by (pontaneous inflammation, might be owing to its always containing in it a quantity of phosphorus. But none of all these theories has been received in the world as completely juft and fatisfactory.

Now, fir, I think I can exhibit a new and peculiar theory of the relations of this curious chemical phenomenon, of which -the ftriking truth and fimplicity shall not fail to command the immediate affent of all intelligen: chemists.

In combustion in general, the principal thing that always takes place is the new combination of oxygen on the one hand, with carbon, cr fome different matter, on the other hand. The oxygen for this new combination is ufually detached out of its union with light and caloric in vital air. The light, and caloric which it deferts, are, in confequence of this defertion, commonly evolved into a momentarily free ftare, in which they prefent themselves to our fenfes, as heat and flame. But carbon and other combustible matters cannot, in every temperature, nor in every ftate of aggregation, detach oxygen out of vital air, and by its abftraction produce an evolution of heat and fame. It is neceflary, in order to this event, that the carbon or other combuftible matter be, where it is prefented to the contact of the vital air, confiderably comminuted; and that the vital air exhibited to it be, at the fame time, fupercalorated, in fuch a manner, as that the ordinary mutual attractions of its ingredients may be greatly weakened by the fuper-caloration. In this ftate alone of the refpective fubftances, does the phenomenon of combustion usually take place.

But there are oxygenous compounds in which the oxygen is much more flightly combined than it is in vital air; and it is poffible to exhibit carbon to oxygen in fome ftates which fhall be more favourable to combuftion than others. In certain ftates of most of the acids and the metallic oxydes, oxygen undeniably exifts in them, in a very loofe combination. Destroy,

Elearic Property of India Rubber.

1798.]

Deftroy, as much as poffible, the aggregation of these acids and oxydes; and let the aggregation of the carbon, which is to be brought into contact with them, be, ja a like manner, deftroyed. Mix thefe two comminuted fubftances together, and the mixture will be always a pyrophorus, if the feebleness of the combination of the oxygen in the oxyde and the acid, together with the comminution and the commixture of the carbon and the oxygenous compound, be particularly favourable to combuftion, in the fame precife degree with the comminution and the fuper-caloration of ordinary cafes: but the prefence of air is neceffary to the 1pontaneous inflammation of this pyrophor; because only air can begin combuftion, and make it not tacit, but perceptible, by means of light and flame. If not before the air be prefented, yet at leaft almost as foon as it prefented, the temperature, neceffary to the decompofition of vital air, is already excited. Moifture in the atmosphere is favourable to the inflammation of pyrophorus, for the fame reason for which water poured in fmall quant ties upon a ftrong fire, rather feeds than tends to extinguish the flame. The water or vapour is decompofed into its conftituent parts; and thefe aid the

combustion.

"1. Pyrophorus, therefore, burns fpontaneously with access of air, because it contains oxygen in fo loofe a combination, and in fuch mixture with carbon, that thefe advantages towards inflamma. tion are fully equivalent to that fupercaloration which is produced in ordinary combuftions by the application of free, external heat.

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21

fame time, is a little fingular; but it may in a degree account for the apparent plagiarifins in the writings of people whofe pursuits are fimilar. About the time that your correfpondent obferved the electric fluid occafioned by the friction of India, rubber upon paper, I, alfo, accidentally noticed fimilar effects, which I communicated in November laft, to a fociety for experiments in natural philofophy, of which I am a member, in this place. Previous to this, I had written a letter, with an intention of fending it to you; but being defirous of making farther experiments, I deferred fending it.

From the different experiments I have made, it appears to me, that your correfpondent is miftaken, if, by faying "the property belonging to the elaftic refin," he fuppofes that the electric fluid is produced from the India rubber. I apprehend it will be found to proceed from the fubftance on which the paper is laid to be rubbed upon, for if it be laid upon a quire of paper, a deal table, a piece of leather, or parchment, which are very weak nonelectrics, no effect, or very little, will be produced, not more than if laid on a plate of glafs, which is an electric; on a linen cloth laid on a table, more will be observed; and, if laid on the following fubftances, the electric power will be very perceptible, and, I believe, more and more in the order of enumeration used, viz. a fimooth ftone, a mahogany board, a board painted yellow, a board painted chocolate, a board painted white, a plate of iron, &c.

It is to be underfood, that in every experiment the paper muft be warmed a little, and if the fubftance on which it is laid to be rubbed be a good conductor, a fpark of a confiderable length may be drawn from it (hence an eafy criterion to judge of the beft non-electrics.)

The paper may be held by one corner, and raifed from the table, or whatever it may lie upon, while under the ftrokes of the rubber (of which a few will be fufficient) when the spark may be drawn.

If the India rubber, or any other electric, be applied to the excited paper, it will discharge itself immediately; but the cracking noise made when discharged by a non-electric, will not be heard.

The property of exciting paper does not belong exclufively to India rubber; almoft any fubftance, either electric or non-electric, will produce the electric fluid, if applied to paper as a rubber, though not quite fo much as India rubber: amongst many other fubftances which I have tried, with the fame effect, I men

Prevention of Forgery of Bank Notes.

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122

tion thofe of paper, fponge, fmooth mahogany, a piece of glue a little warmed, linen cloth, leather (of which, that used for fo:-foles is the best) &c.

After going through thefe and many other fimilar experiments, I made a fquare deal frame, on which I glued a fheet of paper, I then placed it before the fire, and applied the India rubber as in my other experiments, but the propenfity to electricy was fo weak, that it was only vifible by its attracting a light feather, fufpended by a thread. Hence my opinion that the fluid is collected from the fubftance on which the paper is laid, and not from that by which it is rubbed.

If the paper be rubbed with bees'-wax previous to its being ufed, it will be found to have a much stronger propenfity to the "production of electric matter, than when quite clean. I am, fir,

Your obedient fervant, THOS. GRIFFITHS. Manchefer, Dec. 20, 1797.

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.

SIR,

I AM not inclined to controvert the arguments advanced in your laft, by A Suf ferer by Forgery, either as to the propriety of adopting every poffible means to prevent the forgery of bank notes, or as to the degree of guilt which attaches to the public, or to any clafs of the community, when they punish, with feverity, a crime which they have not done every thing in their power to prevent.

His reafoning, on thefe points, goes fo home to the conviction of every man, that I am fure his fuggeftions will not be overlooked; but, towards the clofe of his letter, he starts a queftion which ought not, in my opinion, to have been brought forward, until he had afcertained its truth; and the more fo, as the fact to which it alludes is of fuch a nature, that even more than a common degree of evidence would be neceffary to give it any degree of credibility.

Before I proceed farther, I beg leave to quote your correfpondent's own words: If there be," fays he, " any degree of culpability on the part of thofe in whofe department it lies, in not having adopted fuch obvious improvements in the fabrication of bank notes, as the prefent advanced state of the arts puts within their reach, will it not be aggravated if it fhall be found, that they have refused a plan which would not only bave rendered forgery much more difficult than at present, but almof, if not altogether, impoffiblea

[Jan.

plan, to the excellency of which all the principal artifts in London barve borne teflimony?"

I will readily grant, that if a plan, so powerfully recommended, has been rejected by the Bank Directors, they are not only deferving of cenfure, but, however juft y the forger may deferve hanging, will be acceffaries to murder, if they ever profecute to death any future forgerv, while their notes continue to be fabricated on the old plan. But to me, and, I dare fay, to all your readers, it must appear abfolutely impoffible, in the nature of things, that the fact can be true. Are not the Bank Directors men of the 'fiift character in the commercial world, both with relation to property, abilities, probity, and integrity? Could fuch men be fo criminally negligent and regardless of the high trust repofed in them, and of the dury they owe, not only to their immediate conftituents, but to the public, as to refufe a plan calculated to leffen the number of forgeries and public executions? Impollible! But even, if we could for a moment fuppofe them fo devoid of principle, as to allow themfelves to be influenced by a spirit of patronage and private motives in the employment of thofe who are more immediately connected with this department; could we believe that men of their penetration would be fo blind to their own intereft, as to neglect the means of adding to the fecurity of their individual property? This would be to fuppofe them governed by principles different from thofe which actuate all mankind, and more void of intellect than afs-drivers. If, by the principal artists in London," the "Lofer by Forgery" means Bartolozzi, Heath, Sharp, Fittler, and other equally eminent men, which I have a right to think he does, by the defervedly refpectful manner in which he speaks of them, I will allow that their judgment is not to be queftioned on a point of this nature. But it will be no cafy matter to convince the public, that the Bank Directors would arrogate to themselves a right to fet up their opinion, on a queftion connected with the arts, in oppofition to that of fuch men-of individuals, whofe character, for probity and honour, ftands as high as that of the Directors themfelves; for a proper degree of modefty will ever be found to refult from thofe attainments which qualify a man for fo diftinguished a fituation as that of a Bank Director.

By principal artifs, it would be unfair to fuppofe that your correfpondent merely

means

Anecdote of Mr. Burke corrected.

1798.1

means engravers of fhop-bills and clock
dials; for, though among thefe there.
may be, and no doubt are, many men of
abilities and character, it might be no
difficult matter for a projector to find,
among this clafs, friends who might be
influenced to approve a plan on which they
are by no means competent to decide...
But, even in this cafe, the Directors would
certainly have bestowed on the plan the
attention to which it might appear to be
entitled, by taking the opinion of abler
artifts to guide them in their determina

tion.

Thus, I think, I have demonftrated, from every view that can be taken of the fubject, how extremely improbable it is, that the Bank Directors have refused a plan recommended in the manner which has been stated; but, if it should turn out to be true that they have actually rejected fuch a plan, in fpite of all the inducements for its adoption which it holds out, I know no language which can do juftice to their, demerits.

23

gal; and I believe a guinea wager was betted. The truth is, Mr. Burke, as Lord North well knew, and has often told me, was but an indifferent claffical fcholar, not knowing a letter of Greek, perhaps even unable to conftrue many or moft of his own Latin quotations.

It has been wondered at by many, that your Magazine, acknowledged, at last, even in our reluctant circles, as the best which has hitherto appeared in our language, fhould never have given the pub lie, or even noticed, the character of Mr. Burke, as given by the man who, of all others, knew him beft, the late Gerrard Hamilton. It appeared firft in France, and afterwards, about July laft, in fome of our Magazines. Certain it is, the friends of Mr. Burke did all in their power to fupprefs it, and I believe fucceeded in fome degree. Hamilton's quarrel with Burke is now faid to have been purely of a political nature, and that there are, befides the character in queftion, certain pieces from the pen of the former, which will one day be highly interefting to pub lic curiofity.

The question may, however, be brought into a narrow compafs: if fuch a plan has been propofed, let its author come forward, and let the artists, by whom it has been approved, declare themselves alfo. This is a duty which they owe to the public; and no motives, of a private nature, ought fo to operate, as to prevent them from its performance.

The public have a right to every fecurity the bank can give them; and if the plan, to which the Sufferer by Forgery alludes, be calculated to increase that fecurity, I can with fafety promife him, that its merits will be inveftigated by more

than one

PRIVATE BANKER. London, Dec. 22.

For the Monthly Magazine.

TO THE EDITOR,

WITHOUT intending the fmalleft

offence, fir, to your ingenious correfpondent, Modulator, I will be bold to counsel him to obferve correctnefs in his promulgation of anecdotes. No fuch converfation, as he pretends, could ever have poffibly paffed between the late Mr. Burke, my old acquaintance, and the worthy doctor alluded to; because the fmall grammatical difpute in queftion really happened in the House of Commons during the American war, and in my hearing. It was between Lord North and Mr. Burke, the former schooling the latter very much, to his apparent mortification, for pronouncing the i fhort in veĉtī.

DEMOCRATICUS. Pall-Mall, Sunday Evening, Dec. 17.

For the Monthly Magazine. [The following account of the prefent conditim of the United States of North America, in feveral important particulars, is tranflated from the Decade Philofophique, one of the French Periodical journals.]

IN the United States of America, the

fciences may ftill be faid to be but in their cradle. Three colleges and one univerfity, of theology, of law, and phyfic; five or fix Academical Societies, which are but in a paralyzed state; a number of very active Private Societies, inftituted for the purposes of commerce, manufactures, &c.; and a proportionate number of private fchools for the education of youth, conftiture, at prefent, the only

of intellectual and moral tion. Indeed the general character of the inhabitants of the American States, leads them to ftudy rather the means of augmenting their fortunes, than to cultivate the fciences, and to contribute, pro parte virili, their quota towards the progrefs and diffemination of knowledge. The public prints, of which there is a great variety, have the fame tendency here, as in Europe, to corrupt the public fpirit, or to cloak the faults of an inefficient government, frequently convulfed by ephemeral factions. A long refidence and diligent. observation are indifpenfibly neceffary to develope

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