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which there can be no acceleration of motion; and the ball will continue to descend with a velocity nearly terminal.*
When I began to consider this interesting problem as applied to vertical fire, I was soon satisfied that M. Carnot had entirely overlooked terminal velocity; and I shall show, from his own words, that this is the case.'
· Had M. Carnot founded his system upon a power evidently impotent as the projectile force of a boy's arm, this part of his work would not have merited serious investigation; but the principle he assumes is specious, and the impression it has produced so considerable, that I have been induced to draw up the results of a careful investigation, by which I have satisfied myself, and hope to satisfy my readers, that four-ounce balls, or cubical pieces of iron of ten lines side, (about 's of an inch,) cannot, in descending from the vertex of a very elevated curve, acquire velocity sufficient to give a mortal blow excepting on an uncovered head, and that the effect of musquetry under such circumstances would be almost harmless.'
The utmost percussive force, which each of the different kinds of projectiles is capable of acquiring, is then shewn, deduced from certain rationale, and corroborated by numerous experiments made according to those several natures of vertical fire which M. Carnot has proposed to adopt. Hence, from incontrovertible laws and positive facts, it is determined that
· Four-ounce balls, discharged at an elevation considerably above 45°, to the distance of 120 yards, would not inflict a mortal wound excepting upon an uncovered head; that they would not have force sufficient to break any principal bone; that there would be no penetration, but merely a contusion. This would not oblige the besiegers to cover themselves with blindages (hurdles, faggots, &c. to overlay the trenches,) as M. Carnot imagines ; for a strong cap or hat, and a cover of thick leather for the back and shoulders, would be sufficient protection from the effect of his vertical fire with small balls.'
From the professed originality which the new theory assumes, it would seem that nothing of the use of vertical fire had been before practised or known: but Sir Howard Douglas has shewn that all the eminent men, who have written on the subject, recommend the application of it to a certain extent;
* The nature of terminal velocity may be perceived by a very simple experiment. If a stone or bullet be suffered to fall
, by the force of its own gravity, from the top of a bridge into the water underneath, it will penetrate the water very forcibly till it meets with a resistance equal to the force which caused it to descend; viz. its own weight. Afterward, it will be seen to descend to the bottom of the water by an uniform motion, or without any appearance of farther acceleration. Such, then, is the effect on bodies descending through the atmosphere, the difference of the resistance of water to that of air being duly considered.
though recourse to it otherwise than as an auriliary means of defence is inexpedient, and altogether objectionable.
The chance of success in a siege, on the system previously established, is decidedly in favour of the assailants; whereas, by the nouvelle manière, the chance is presumed to be entirely inverted : but, from a plan of attack which he has sketched, Sir H. Douglas plainly demonstrates that any place, provided with the most efficient garrison and the fullest means of resistance, must be reduced sooner under the new mode than if defended according to the rules in ordinary practice. After a very sober and masterly dissertation, first, On the Errors in Principle of Carnot's Theory; secondly, On the Proposal for adopting Vertical Fire, as the basis, instead of using it as an accessory Mean of Defence; thirdly, On the Expediency of a more general Use of Vertical Fire than is directed in all Treatises of Defence; fourthly, On the Application of the Theory in the Erection of new Fortresses; and, lastly, On the Proposal for altering existing Places according to the new Manner, Sir H. concludes his very complete refutation of the whole with the following forcible remarks:
• The great object, the true merit, and defined aim of fortification, is to enable the weak to defend themselves, as effectually as possible, with the least possible means: but M. Carnot's ingenuity has contrived systems and alterations, and outworks, which indispensably require large garrisons, and which cannot be effectually practised by weak ones.' — The real economy of defence must therefore be studied from other sources. Any application of his system, whether to old or new places, must either be in. secure or expensive;- insecure, if not provided with numerous garrisons; - ruinously expensive, if they are.'
Those who may chance to have imbibed the errors of the new doctrine, and under whose inspection the preceding remarks and extracts may happen to fall, will probably find in them sufficient inducements to examine the counter-work of Sir H. Douglas; and, as we conceive that the object specified at the beginning of these remarks has been accomplished, we regard it as unnecessary to enter into farther comment on the subject. All, therefore, that now remains to be observed is that no real novelty is displayed in the present proposition, and certainly no improvement derived from it to the science of war; and that, however the French Ex-minister may have heretofore affected a haughty contempt of the knowlege and experience of British engineers, he will perhaps henceforth feel a conscious respect on finding his whole science, equipment, and magazine, become nugatory before the principles, talents, and materiel with which they have now been brought into competition. Rev. JAN. 1820.
For JANUARY, 1820.
POETRY and the DRAM A. Art. 11. Aonian Huurs, and other Poems. By J. H.Wiffen.
8vo. pp. 168. Boards. Longman and Co. 1819. We may perhaps observe, without being charged with too nice or too paradoxical a distinction, that there exists an age of poetry as well as an age of poets; and that, while the former is the product of originality and nature, the latter owes its birth to refinement, imitation, and art. Though emulation, like fame, may perhaps be à spur
« that the clear spirit doth raise
To scorn delights, and live laborious days," yet if, wrongly directed, or servilely following in the track of others, an author adopts the style and manner of a living prototype, he must for ever forego that nobler claim to distinction which can be preferred only by the candour and boldness of characteristic genius and merit. It is always painful to remark a misapplication of the powers with which 'nature has endowed her more favoured children; and to see men, who are gifted with original strength, stooping to the weakness of imitation, and offering at the shrine of another those fruits of intellect which were worthy of gracing an altar erected to themselves. This, we are concerned to state, Mr. Wiffen has done, in devoting his · Aonian Hours' to the acquisition of the style and method of a noble lord, too well skilled in the Spenserian stanza to be easily met on an equal footing. Under the title of “ Aspley Wood," Mr. W. has endeavoured to embody a poem on a variety of subjects, on a plan similar to that of Childe Harold; in which the sudden breaks, dramatic turns, and arbitrary ending of rhymes, are managed with such inferior dexterity as to involve the whole in no slight degree of mysticism, involution, and something very like confusion. When will our modern poets learn that, to speak the natural language of the heart and passions, they must adopt as distinct and characteristic an expression as we discern in the identity of tone, manner, and address in individuals? If Mr. W. had possessed as much judgment as he has manifested imagination and poetry in this work, he would have avoided the bad taste of arranging and conducting his subject on the model of any living author whatever. We have seldom seen more sweetness, spirit, and true pathos than in the beautiful stanzas dedicated to the memory of Howard, as well as in some others of the detached poems; and we regret that their length forbids us to extract them.
We spoke favourably in our lxxiid vol. p. 438., and again in vol. Ixxx. p. 96., of a small collection of poems by three Friends, one of whom is the writer of the present volume ; and so few have been the votaries of the Muse among the members of the sober system of religion called Quakerism, that it may be worth while to note that Mr. Wiffin is to be added to the list. — (See also our Number for November last, p. 329.)
Art. 12. Tragic Dramas ; chiefly intended for Representation in
private Families : to which is added, Aristodemus, a Tragedy ; from the Italian of Vincenzo Monti. By Frances Burney. Crown 8vo. pp. 191. gs. 6d. Boards. Murray. 1818,
Since the appearance of “ Sacred Dramas," by the voluminously distinguished writer of religious povels, tales, and tracts, we cannot recollect any theatrical productions for the object of private representation which have pleased us so much as the present. Though they do not possess the sacred and religious gloom which pervades the whole spirit of the former, they have sufficient moral effect to instil, into the young mind, the useful and awful lesson of the necessity of controuling the passions of our nature,
It appears from the preface that these dramas have already been more than once represented by the junior members of a family of distinction, not without applause. In exchange for the latter word, however, we would suggest the superior propriety of
benefit," as connected with the welfare of young people, and with the object for which the dramas are announced to have been composed.
The first and most original of the three dramas here published is intitled Fitzormond, or Cherished Resentment; which, for a juvenile production of three acts, certainly contains as much interest in language and sentiment as the story is susceptible of receiving and imparting. The plot, however, is too simple and inartificial to engage the affections of any but a youthful audience. - The second, Malek Adhel, is taken from the well-known romance of Madame Cottin, whose sentiments and even language have been as closely followed as the nature of the different compositions would admit : yet still a degree of dramatic power is shewn in the developement of the characters.
We now come to the translation of the celebrated tragedy of Monti: in the tone of which we think that much spirit and power of expression are exhibited. With exact and delicate fidelity, Miss Burney has happily united the freedom and ease of original expression; though she has been unequal to the task of grappling with the strength and passion of Monti in the more vigorous efforts of his spirit. In the original, Aristodemus is a picture of despair and terror from the very moment at which he appears, and every word and action seem fraught with the demon of remorse ; while the spectre of his daughter, always at his side, ceases not to haunt him till it has driven him into the vault of her remains, and presented him with the steel that drinks blood for blood.
• Come, welcome shade! Thou hast demanded blood; and this is blood [stabs himself Though the spirit of antient tragedy is finely preserved in the Italian, it would be too bold to assert that it has not lost much in its transmission into our language. Yet Miss Burney's version is more successful than we could have expected, from the hands of a lady who had not before given us any thing of equal excellence
with with the translation of Aristodemus. Her family-name, however, ever holds forth a promise to the public, which she, in this instance, has well redeemed. Art. 13. Misanthropy, and other Poems, by Joseph Snow.
12mo. pp. 132. 6s. Boards. Miller. 1819. On perusing this little volume, we cannot refrain from expressing our regret that the public taste is so perfectly monopolized by the productions of a few distinguished authors, that it seldom recognizes the merits of those who possess powers above the common standard, though perhaps not of the very first order. Some of the pieces written by Mr. Show exhibit, in our opinion, a spirit of poetry well deserving the attention of unprejudiced and impartial readers. In this age of book-manufacturing, we ought to endeavour to select, from the mass of common-place and trash with which we are deluged, some portion which we conceive to be valuable; and, with the skill of the chemist, to extract from the material body the strength and essence which would not otherwise have been obtained. Froin among several commendable verses, which, however, are far from being equally supported throughout, we quote the following stanzas :
( I ne'er could bow beneath the stroke
Of inconsiderate men ;
Indignant taunts again.
When fallen, and only then;
I dared the proud, the spurner spurned.
66 Unkindness' altered eye;".
I gloried to defy.
And kept the spirit high ;
I struck, in struggling, blow for blow.
In bonds of hate to all;
E’en to the dregs of gall;
And conscious of the thrall,
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