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cliffs of France, whither we were going, had their effect. The sight set us a talking of the probability of the junction of Great Britain formerly with the Continent. The sameness of the soil, and other geological phenomena, and the proximity, seemed to make a junction likely; the vast length of the British channel, and the wide German Ocean approaching so near, render a separation from the first as natural. In short, whether this part of the channel was once an isthmus, and Albion a peninsula, or not, will ever be a doubtful speculation. We have nothing but conjectural reasons, and these appear to be as strong on the one side as the other.
Two very bonny lasses, with a fine child, ascended at the same time with us, but still nearer the precipice. I begged them, for Heaven's sake, not to go so near. They laughed, and went still nearer; and sat down almost on the very edge of the tremendous precipice, which, even at the distance we were standing, made us shudder. Goodbye, my poor dears, said I to them; I shall see you no more. They gave me some jocular reply. Such is the effect of custom.
Went up to the citadel. Not allowed to enter. A nice-looking woman and her husband on the drawbridge. She seemed quite frightened. On raising my eyes, I soon found the cause of her terror. They were going to fire the evening gun from the rampart. The picture was truly fine. The poor female was crouching down on the bridge, though the gun was full twelve feet above her, and stopping her ears; and the artillery men were standing in order by it, waiting till the sun, who was now going down, should sink under the hill. We were at unequal distances, watching the hand that held the lighted match. This was applied. The height seemed to shake under us. The thunder ran round the hills for some time, and returned again. The varied and pleasing form of these winding heights, with their picturesque ornaments,the glens between them, which put me in mind of some of the glens of the Grampians, though in miniature, -and the brilliant tints which the sun had left behind him, received such an addition from this simple and familiar incident, that Dr B., who seemed to possess a very moderate share of viewhunting enthusiasm, exclaimed, 'Tis
truly grand and beautiful. I felt the justness of the observation home, and I echoed it with the most cordial assent.
As we marched off, highly delighted with this short evening view-hunt, we were assailed by a host of native enemies. These were hornets. I did not mind them, and they soon left me. But Dr B. was quite alarmed. In vain I advised him to let them alone. The more he laboured to chase these buzzers away, the more furious and numerous did they return to the attack. I have frequently found these insects near cannon and ordnance depots. I do not know why.
While we sat at tea, a little valetudinarian Jew, whom they called Moses, offered his services in the moneychanging line. He said he followed this business merely for the sake of a little amusing employment. He charged a penny more for his Louises (of twenty francs) than I had paid in London, or 16s. 4d. He wanted very much to tempt me to part with some of the slips of paper I had received from Hammersley, for French gold,— no doubt by way of amusement also. But in vain he offered me a douceur, as I meant to keep my paper till I got to Paris. He loitered in the coffeeroom, and again and again he attempted to bribe me to part with it. Pho! thought I, as I sipt my tea; and is the theory of our bullion committee come to this in practice. The notes of the Bank of England, alone, are now from eight to ten millions more than when this learned body, far above the prejudices of metal-money times no doubt, were theorizing; and yet here is a Jew (for the sake of mere amusement, it is granted) offers me more gold for my paper money, than even its mint price warrants. His urgency, also, certainly looks very much like his considering paper really more valuable than gold. 'Tis a pity that facts will still be giving the negation flat to certain favourite theories. We shall, however, reach something like good sense on money at length, perhaps. I say good, and not common sense; for the common sense on the subject of money, as on many others, has a good deal of that negative kind of sense in it, which is styled nonsense.
All this, it is to be noticed, I thought, and not said. From some remark that had fallen from Dr B. I perceived he was an adherent of the metal money
party, and I was a decided partisan of paper. Now, it is well known, that a regular argumentation on paper and metal money, unless abruptly terminated by a quarrel or a duel,-to say nothing of disturbing all around us with our noise, seldom, on a moderate calculation, abates in its violence in less than two hours and a half. But I wished to retire to bed early, and therefore I did not offer battle.
My bed-room was just under a perpendicular cliff of chalk, say, from 150 to 200 feet high. Suppose now, thought I to myself, this cliff should tumble down in the night. However, thought* I to myself again, this perpendicular cliff has stood during the nights of several thousand years, and why should it, of all nights, fall down on the very night that I sleep at Dover?-And sleep there I did, and very soundly too. In three minutes I was unconscious of existence, and dreamt neither of Jews changing money for mere amusement, metal nor paper, bullion committees, nor yet perpendicular cliffs of chalk.
And now, sir, with your permission, I shall postpone my invasion of France till next month.
ACCOUNT OF THE AMERICAN STEAM
As the following account of the steam frigate lately built in America, has, so far as I know, not yet been published in this country, I have taken the liberty of transmitting it for your Magazine. It was communicated to me some time ago by Samuel L. Mitchill, M.D.F.R.S.E. of New York, one of the commissioners who superintended its construction.—I am, Sir, yours, &c. D. BREWSTER.
Edinburgh, March 4th, 18.7.
Report of Henry Rutgers, Samuel L. Mitchill, and Thomas Morris, the commissioners superintending the construction of a Steam Vessel of War, to the secretary of the navy.
New York, December 28, 1815. SIR,-The war which was terminated by the treaty of Ghent, afforded, during its short continuance, a glorious display of the valour of the United States by land and by sea--it made them better known to foreign nations, and, what is of much greater importance, it con
tributed to make them better acquainted with themselves-it excited new enterprises-it educed latent talentsit stimulated to exertions unknown to our people before.
A long extent of coast was exposed to an enemy, powerful above every other on the ocean. His commanders threatened to lay waste our country with fire and sword, and, actually, in various instances, carried their menaces into execution. It became necessary, for our defence, to resist, by every practicable method, such a formidable foe.
It was conceived, by a most ingenious and enterprising citizen, that the power of steam could be employed to propel a floating battery, carrying heavy guns, to the destruction of any hostile force that should hover on the shores, or enter the ports of our Atlantic frontier. The perfect and admirable success of his project, for moving boats containing travellers and baggage by the same elastic agent, opened the way to its employment for carrying warriors and the apparatus for fighting.
The plan was submitted to the consideration of the executive of an enlightened government. Congress, influenced by the most liberal and patriotic spirit, appropriated money for the experiment; and the navy denourable William Jones, appointed partment, then conducted by the Hocommissioners to superintend the construction of a convenient vessel under the direction of Robert Fulton, Esq. the inventor, as engineer, and of Messrs Adam and Noah Brown, as naval constructors. from its commencement, and during The enterprise, a considerable part of its preparatory operations, was aided by the zealous co-operation of major-general Dearborn, then holding his head-quarters at the city of New York, as the officer commanding the third military district. The loss of his valuable counsel, in conducting a work which he had maturely considered, and which he strongly recommended, was the consequence of his removal to another section of the union, where his professional talents were specially required.
The keels of this steam frigate were laid on the 20th day of June, 1814. The strictest blockade the enemy could enforce, interrupted the coasting trade,
and greatly enhanced the price of tim ber. The vigilance with which he guarded our coast against intercourse with foreign nations, rendered difficult the importation of copper and iron. The same impediment attended the supplies of coal, heretofore brought to New York from Richmond and Li verpool. Lead, in like manner, was procured under additional disadvantages. These attempts of the enemy to frustrate the design were vain and impotent. All the obstacles were surmounted. Scarcity of the necessary woods and metals was overcome by strenuous exertions; and all the blockading squadron could achieve, was not a disappointment in the undertaking, but merely an increase of the expense. So, in respect to tradesmen and labourers, there was an extraordinary difficulty. Ship-wrights had repaired to the lakes for repelling the enemy, in such numbers, that comparatively speaking, few were left on the seaboard. A large portion of the men who had been engaged in daily work, had enlisted as soldiers, and had marched under the banners of the nation to the defence of its rights-yet, amidst the scarcity of hands, a sufficient number was procured for the purpose which the commissioners had in charge. An increase of wages was the chief impediment, and this they were enábled practically to overcome.
By the exemplary combination of diligence and skill, on the part of the engineer and the constructors, the business was so accelerated, that the vessel was launched on the 29th day of October, amidst the plaudits of an unusual number of citizens.
Measures were immediately taken to complete her equipment; the boiler, the engine, and the machinery, were put in board with all possible expedition. Their weight and size far surpassed any thing that had been witnessed before among us.
The stores of artillery in New York not furnishing the number and kind of cannon which she was destined to carry, it became necessary to transport guns from Philadelphia. A prize taken from the enemy, put some fit and excellent pieces at the disposition of the navy department. To avoid the danger of capture by the enemy's cruizers, these were carried over the miry roads of New Jersey. Twenty heavy cannon were thus conveyed by
the strength of horses. Carriages of the most approved model were constructed, and every thing done to bring her into prompt action, as an efficient instrument of war.
About this time, an officer preeminent for bravery and discipline, was commissioned by the government to her command. Prior to this event, it had been intended by the commissioners to finish her conformably to the plan originally submitted to the execu tive. She was a structure resting upon two boats, and keels separated from end to end by a canal 15 feet wide, and 156 long. One boat contained the cauldrons of copper to prepare her steam. The vast cylinder of iron, with its piston, lever, and wheels, occupied a part of its fellow; the great water-wheel revolved in the space between them; the main or gun deck supported her armament, and was protected by a bulwark 4 feet 10 inches thick, of solid timber. This was pierced by 30 port holes, to enable as many 32 pounders to fire red hot balls; her upper or spar deck was plain, and she was to be propelled by her enginery alone.
It was the opinion of Captain Porter and Mr Fulton, that the upper deck ought to be surrounded with a bulwark and stanchions-that two stout masts should be erected to support latteen sails-that there should be bowsprits for jibs, and that she should be rigged in a corresponding style. Under authorities so great, and with the expectation of being able to raise the blockade of New London, by destroying, taking, or routing the enemy's ships, all these additions were adopted, and incorporated with the vessel.
It must here be observed, that, during the exhaustion of the treasury, and the temporary depression of public credit, the commissioners were exceedingly embarrassed;-their payments were made in treasury notes, which they were positively instructed to negotiate at par. On several occasions even these were so long withheld, that the persons who had advanced materials and labour were importunate for payment, or silently discontented. To a certain extent, the commissioners pledged their private credit. Notwithstanding all this, the men, at one time, actually broke off. The work was retarded, and her completion was unavoidably deferred, to
the great disappointment of the commissioners, until winter rendered it impossible for her to act.
Under all this pressure, they nevertheless persevered in the important object confided to them. But their exertions were further retarded, by the premature and unexpected death of the engineer. The world was deprived of his invaluable labours, before he had completed this favourite undertaking. We will not inquire, wherefore, in the dispensations of Divine Providence, he was not permitted to realize his grand conception. His discoveries, however, survive for the benefit of mankind, and will extend to unborn generations.
At length all matters were ready for a trial of the machinery to urge such a bulky vessel through the water. This essay was made on the first day of June, 1815. She proved herself capable of opposing the wind, and of stemming the tide, of crossing currents, and of being steered among vessels riding at anchor, though the weather was boisterous and the water rough. Her performance demonstrated, that the project was successfulno doubt remained that a floating battery, composed of heavy artillery, could be moved by steam. The commissioners returned from the exercise of the day, satisfied that the vessel would answer the intended purpose, and consoled themselves that their care had been bestowed upon a worthy object.
But it was discovered that various alterations were necessary. Guided by the light of experience, they caused some errors to be corrected, and some defects to be supplied. She was prepared for a second voyage with all practicable speed.
On the 4th day of July she was again put in action. She performed a trip to the ocean, eastward of Sandy Hook, and back again, a distance of fifty-three miles, in eight hours and twenty minutes. A part of this time she had the tide against her, and had no assistance whatever from sails. Of the gentlemen who formed the company invited to witness the experiment, not one entertained a doubt of her fitness for the intended purpose.
Additional experiments were, notwithstanding, necessary to be sought, for quickening and directing her mo
tion. These were devised and executed with all possible care.
Suitable arrangements having been made, a third trial of her powers was attempted on the 11th day of September, with the weight of twenty-six of her long and ponderous guns, and a considerable quantity of ammunition and stores on board; her draft of water was short of eleven feet. She changed her course, by inverting the motion of the wheels, without the necessity of putting about. She fired salutes as she passed the forts, and she overcame the resistance of wind and tide in her progress down the bay. She performed beautiful manœuvres around the United States frigate, Java, then at anchor near the light-house. She moved with remarkable celerity, and she was perfectly obedient to her double helm. It was observed, that the explosions of powder produced very little concussion.
The machinery was not affected by it in the smallest degree. Her progress, during the firing, was steady and uninterrupted. On the most accurate calculations, derived from heaving the log, her average velocity was five and one-half miles per hour. Notwithstanding the resistance of currents, she was found to make head way at the rate of two miles an hour against the ebb of the East River, running three and one-half knots. The day's exercise was satisfactory to the respectable company who attended, beyond their utmost expectations. It was universally agreed, that we now possessed a new auxiliary against every maritime invader. The city of New York, exposed as it is, was considered as having the means of rendering itself invulnerable. The Delaware, the Chesapeake, Long Island Sound, and every other bay and harbour in the nation, may be protected by the same tremendous power.
Among the inconveniences observable during the experiment, was the heat endured by the men who attended the fires. To enable a correct judgment to be formed on this point, one of the commissioners (Dr Mitchill,) descended, and examined by a thermometer the temperature of the hold between the two boilers. The quicksilver, exposed to the radiant heat of the burning fuel, rose to one hundred and sixteen degrees of Fahrenheit's
scale. Though exposed thus to its intensity, he experienced no indisposition afterwards. The analogy of potteries, forges, glass-houses, kitchens, and other places where labourers are habitually exposed to high heats, is familiar to persons of business and of reflection. In all such occupations, the men, by proper relays, perform their services perfectly well.
The government, however, well understand, that the hold of the present vessel could be rendered cooler by other apertures for the adınission of air, and that in building another steam frigate, the comfort of the firemen might be provided for, as in the ordinary steam-boats.
The commissioners congratulate the government and the nation on the event of this noble project. Honourable alike to its author and its patrons, it constitutes an era in warfare and the arts. The arrival of peace, indeed, has disappointed the expectations of conducting her to battle. That last and conclusive act, of showing her superiority in combat, it has not been in the power of the commissioners to make.
If a continuance of tranquillity should be our lot, and this steam vessel of war be not required for the public defence, the nation may rejoice that the fact we have ascertained is of incalculably greater value than the expenditure, and that if the present structure should perish, we have the information never to perish, how, on a future emergency, another may be built. The requisite variations will be dictated by circumstances.
Owing to the cessation of hostilities, it has been deemed inexpedient to finish and equip her as for immediate and active employ. In a few weeks every thing that is incomplete could receive the proper adjustment.
After so much has been done, and with such encouraging results, it be comes the commissioners to recommend that the steam frigate be officered and manned for discipline and practice. A discreet commander, with a selected crew, could acquire experience in the mode of navigating this peculiar vessel. The supplies of fuel, the tending of the fire, the replenishing of the expended water, the management of the mechanism, the heating of shot, the exercise of the guns, and various other matters, can only become faVOL. I.
miliar by use. It is highly important that a portion of seamen and marines should be versed in the order and economy of the steam frigate. They will augment, diffuse, and perpetuate knowledge. When, in process of time, another war shall call for more structures of this kind, men, regularly trained to her tactics, may be despatched to the several stations where they may be wanted. If, on any such disposition, the government should desire a good and faithful agent, the commissioners recommend Captain Obed Smith to notice, as a person who has ably performed the duties of inspector from the beginning to the end of the concern.
Annexed to the report, you will find, Sir, several statements explanatory of the subject. A separate report of our colleague, the Honourable Oliver Wolcott, whose removal from New York precluded him from attending to the latter part of the business with his accustomed zeal and fidelity, is herewith presented. A drawing of her form and appearance, by Mr Morgan, as being likely to give satisfaction to the department, is also subjoined, as are likewise an inventory of her furniture and effects, and an account of the timber and metals consolidated in her fabric.
It is hoped these communications will evince the pains taken by the commissioners to execute the honourable and responsible trust reposed in them by the government.
SAML. L. MITCHILL.
ON SITTING BELOW THE SALT.
IT is very pleasing to observe with what care the most popular writers of this age are obliged to guard against introducing any circumstances, even in their works, of a nature entirely fictitious, which do not harmonize with the manners of the period wherein the scene of their story is laid. The example of such authors as Scott, Southey, and Byron, who display so much erudition even in the most trifling matters of costume, must soon put an end to the rage for historical poems and romances from the pens of such half-informed writers as Miss Porter, Miss Holford, and the like. The novels