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expressed himself upon such occasions, may have given rise to opinions concerning the real bent of his feelings, which those, who had frequent opportunities of observing him, can safely pronounce to be unfounded.
From this attempt to show the cast of his moral character, it appears, that as the features of his mind were robust, so were the virtues of his heart stern. Indeed, in many of their better points, he has frequently reminded us of the old Stoicks; but if he did take Cato for his model, it is seriously to be lamented that he imitated him in one of his defects.* We have no doubt that the tempestiva convivia, in which the professor loved to indulge, owed their origin to a sleeplessness first brought on by habits of study, and subsequently increased by indisposition; but whatever was the cause, deeply do we deplore this additional instance of infirmity attached to the greatest and most shining excellencies. We must, however, carefully guard our readers from supposing that this eminently learned man was habitually addicted to the use of strong and heating liquors. When alone he was singularly abstemious. And again we must urge the observation that his late hours were not occasioned by the vice of intemperance, but by the misfortune of his inability to sleep. His usual and favourite beverage upon these occasions was table beer; and continually would he pass the night, charming and instructing those who sat around, without the slightest advance to inebriety. But sometimes the officious zeal of his less discreet companions would supply temptations, against which he was not sufficiently upon his guard; and towards the latter part of his life, his frame, undermined as it unhappily was by the corrosions of disease, could ill sustain, and consequently betrayed, the least indulgence. Yet be it observed that, in no moment of gayety, carried even to a faulty excess, did he ever lose that reverence for the name of his Creator and that loathing of obscenity, which we have already mentioned as honourable characteristicks of his mo ral tendencies. Never did he swerve from his undeviating attachment to truth, nor ever was he known to betray a secret.
October 17, 1808.
BRITISH IMPROVEMENT IN THE MANUFACTURE OF SWORDS.
PREVIOUS to the year 1795, the scientifick principles on which swords should be constructed, were deplorably neglected. Every regiment was at liberty to order its own swords, without reference to any standard, or proof of their goodness. A weapon so important both for offence and defence was left to chance or caprice, and the consequence was, the sacrifice of many a brave fellow, and an unascertainable loss to the service and the country. At that period the board of ordnance requested the trade to produce patterns of swords, together with the best modes of proof, in order that the highest degree of security that art and industry could provide, might be obtained. Accordingly each sword-maker produced his pattern, his price, and his method of proving. On accurate examination, Mr. Osborn's system of proving, mounting, &c. was adopted, and established by the board, and general Ross, surveyor general of the ordnance, desired him to lay down explicit directions for the guidance of the sword-cutlers employed by the board.
*Mart. Epig. Lib. ii. 89.
In conformity with this application Mr. O. invented a proving machine, which was exhibited by request before his royal highness the duke of York, general Ross, colonel Le Merchant, and a number of field officers, at the war office, and was unanimously pronounced to be effectual, simple, and calculated to answer the important purpose of an unerring system. He was then ordered to make nine such machines for the direction of other sword manufacturers, and one of them was fixed in the Tower, and a proper person appointed to look to the proof agreeably to rules laid down.
This regulation, though salutary, being strict, produced a few ineffectual murmurs on the part of other sword manufacturers. The establishment of these regulations has been the happy means of saving the life of many a brave man; for there is now little danger of the sword falling fractured and useless from the arm of valour.
Previous to this establishment, the army were chiefly supplied from Germany; but the German swords were, and are so ill constructed, that they would not, and will not, sustain this criterion. Some few that were ordered by the board, and were procured from the German resident in London, were shivered to pieces, when submitted to the test, and from their repeated failures, no German swords have, for several years, been received into government stores, and no swords whatever, but such as would, in every respect, endure this proof.
In consequence of these successful exertions, Mr. O. was honoured with a recommendatory letter from a gentleman of the highest respectability, and high in office, to the then chairman of the committee of the honourable East India Company, who, among other handsome things, says: “I have great pleasure in saying, that in the course of the last four or five years, he has supplied the ordnance with near twenty thousand cavalry swords. Mr. Osborn would readily agree that all the swords that he should furnish to the company, should be examined and proved at the Tower, and it would, no doubt, be much for the advantage of your service that they should undergo the strictness of our examination."
The honourable East India Company caused an order to be given to the German resident in London, and Mr. O. for each to produce ten regulation light cavalry swords, to be publickly tried at the Tower, under the inspection of major Cunninghame. The trial of workmanship therefore took place on the 7th of November, 1804; but as the German found, by having his swords secretly proved, that they would not stand the slightest proof, he did not think proper to attend.
A regulation light cavalry sword is 32 1-2 inches long in the blade, and should spring one inch in every six, viz. 5 1-2 inches, which will take it down to 27 inches. Several of the swords were sprung to 22, 21, and 20 inches, which was 5, 6, and 7 inches beyond proof, and all beyond 27 inches was considered as being superfluous; but the parties wished them put to the utmost test. Hence the reason why they were continued to be sprung till one or the other lost its elastick powers. The moment a sword becomes soft [set] or breaks, it is disabled. The process of proving is as follows. After being ground to a guage, and weighed to see that they are conformable to the scale they are struck back and edge over a block of wood. This is called chopping. Then they are struck flat-ways on an even surface of wood. This is called slapping. And, finally, they are sprung to 27 inches. Every warranted sword undergoes this proof, and which is considered equivalent to every hardship a sword undergoes in the field of battle.
SWISS MILITARY SYSTEM.
To the Editor of the Literary Panorama.
SOME years ago, during a long residence in Switzerland, I was much pleased with the admirable dexterity with which the whole male population of that country used the rifle ; but much more with the admirable policy of the government, which by this means had contrived to establish a most formidable military system, interwoven with the national amusements of the people. It was attended neither with expense to the community, nor inconvenience to the individual; the whole service was voluntary, and honour and emulation were the only compulsory principles called into action. It may be well understood, how necessary it was to the ancient Swiss republick, surrounded by powerful neighbours, to have a large military force at all times in a constant state of preparation. The country being small, nothing short of a levy including the whole male population, would answer the purpose; and as to the keeping up of such an establishment, as a standing army, that was completely incompatible with the safety and welfare of the state. What then were the institutions adopted? Each town, city, and village, at certain stated times of the year, gave honourary distinctions and prizes, to such as entered the lists, as rifle shooters. They varied in value, in proportion to the rank attached to the places which gave them; thus, the prize given by a city was thought a more honourable mark of distinction, than that given by a village, and so on.-The consequence was, that practising at a mark became quite the national game, if it may be so called, and a child, from the moment it could go alone, was accustomed to see its parents and relations striving in this manner for the palm of victory.
Thus, instead of adjourning to the tavern, or the publick house, to spend their evenings, as is too much the case among ourselves, all ranks rendezvoused at the shooting ground of the place.
The shooting ground and abutments were considered as publick property, and the publick was at the expense of repairs and other contingencies, subject to the jurisdiction and direction of the principal inhabitants of the place.
The utmost exertions of an individual, for introducing a similar arrangement into this country, must prove fruitless, unless assisted by the publick journals, and periodical works, which by their sanction would tend to force it on the attention of our rulers; but were government to patronise the measure, I feel confident it would prove of the highest utility. Taking the metropolis alone, fifty guineas given away in prizes would excite an amazing emulation among those who have already chosen that weapon; but whose ardour is much less than it would be if stimulated by some publick incitement. This measure, if adopted, would place the defensive means of the country on a most efficient footing, leaving at the same time a much larger disposable force for foreign service.
DR. GALL AND HIS HYPOTHESIS.
To the Editor of the Literary Panorama.
OBSERVING in your last number of the Panorama that Dr. Gall was arrived at Paris, whence we certainly shall hear more of him, and being desirous that every system proposed by an intelligent man, should have justice done it, I take the liberty of submitting to the publick, by your means, an outline of that physiologist's hypothesis. My design is, on one hand, that it should not be scouted without reason; and on the other, that it should be submitted to the closest investigation by your ingenious readers.
Dr. Gall considers animals as being born with the dispositions or faculties proper to their species; but these faculties have not equal power in every individual. The brain is the seat of the mental faculties: but it is not a simple organ; it is a combination of organs, each of which has its particular disposition. The size of the organ is proportionate to the intensity of these dispositions, and these organs are manifested on the outside of the cranium, by protuberances which correspond in form to that of the portion of brain which they enclose. In short, the bony case of the skull is conformed to the internal contents, so that by knowing one we know the other, as to shape. The bony covering not only receives this form while it is soft in infancy, says Dr. Gall, but it yields to the impulse of the internal parts as they grow, and "the lymphatick vessels absorb part of the bone itself, which is regenerated by other vessels which issue from the membranes of the brain."
The difficulty in supporting and applying this theory is, to determine what particular part of the skull corresponds to any certain disposition of the person. This was partly ascertained by the examination of animals. Dr. Gall places the organ of goodness, for instance, on the upper part of the head. It is indicated by a protuberance in the middle of the forehead, where the forehead begins to flatten. This protuberance is found in sheep; and in goodnatured dogs, and horses. It is even said, that jockies pay attention to this part, when buying of horses. This protuberance is wanting in cats, in the hyena, the crocodile, and the bull dog; also, in the Caribbee Indians, and, if the Dr. may be credited, it was wanting in Robespierre. He also affirms, that according to the absence or presence of this bump, he has distinguished to a certainty, amid a whole herd of cows, which was good, and which was bad. The fox, the cat, the panther the hound, among animals, and, among men, the diplomatists, the comedians, and the authors of well conducted and intrigued novels, have, on the sphemoide angle of the parietal bone, a very distinct prominence, which is the organ of cunning. That of theft is close adjacent, and is almost always connected with it." It has never been absent in any thief who has been examined in the different prisons." How far the diplomatists, comedians, and novelists, may feel themselves flattered by this connexion, must be left to their own sensations to decide. The organ of the fighting propensity is marked, says Dr. Gall, by a globular rising at the posteriour and inferiour angle of the bregmatick bone, where it touches the bone of the temples. This is found in courageous animals, but not in the timid, as hares, &c. Dr Gall found it in general Wurmser; but not in the poet Alxinger, who was a fearful man. Yet the poet Alxinger was a friendly man, though the Dr. did not find in him, the organ of friendship, which he places above the andaidal suture of the parietal bone. He found this organ in dogs, and in some men and women.
In the whole, Dr. Gall has distinguished twenty-seven organs, with some degree of certainty. His thought, to say the least of it, is ingenious. That there are such points on the human skull is undeniable; and though the difficulty of appropriating them is confessedly great, yet science may demonstrate that it is not insuperable.
I am, sir, yours, &c.
THE CITY OF BAKU, AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.
The following curious account of the city of Baku, and Place of Fire in its neighbourhood, is extracted from Wilkinson's Historical and Topographical Description of Mount Caucasus.
SEVENTEEN versts S. S. E. of the river Agahbdal stands Baku, or Badku; built in the form of an obtuse triangle, and called the Holy City by the Gebers or Guebres (who are styled fireworshippers) and considered as one of the great mercy seats of the Indian Brahmans It lies twenty-two versts from the southern arm of Caucasus, in a flat hilled plane, devoid of river or stream, and near the sea. It is surrounded with a ditch, and thick strong walls, and supplied with cannon and mortars, of which no one there understands the use. It must formerly have made a better appearance, and been better built; for we meet with many respectable ruins and caravansaries, near the mountains, where' the old city extended to. The Gebers cannot sufficiently praise their former greatness and wealth. Before Persia had changed the true religion for the Mahomedan, they say, the city was annually visited by many thousand men. They do not reckon the total ruin of it before the death Usunn Hassan, king of Persia. There are still, however, many respectable mosks, houses, bazars, and caravansaries, which stand so near the shore, that ships may be laden and unladen from them; and yet, with all these great conveniences, and an excellent harbour, commerce is entirely neglected.
The neighbourhood of Baku has many and various charms, but they must not be visited in July, August, or September; for in those months the whole country pines under the oppression of heat and the arid soil bursts asunder; but in spring or autumn, when it is adorned with rich enamelled meadows and fertile fields; on which account, the whole Hyrcanian territory, as far as Muskurr, is called "The Paradise of Roses."
Not less remarkable is the noble view round Baku. Towards the sea and the neighbouring islands, it is delightful. To the south, one discovers other countries and verdant mountains, separated by the Kurr. To the westward is the southern arm of Caucasus stretching far to the eastward, which serves the inhabitants as well for an object, as to mitigate the heat. For when the strong, dry east and south winds blow on those mountains, and return cool in the evening with quickening balsamick power, from numerous fruit-bearing trees, and full of the perfume of so many thousand different flowers, an uncommon sweet sleep seizes the weary traveller; and he feels, on awaking, lasting and pleasant beguiling sensations, which other countries afford much more sparingly.
The neighbourhood of Baku must contain an incredible quantity of mountain oil; for in Balaghan, the name of the district of some villages twelve versts from Baku, twenty-five oil wells are open. They often dry up, and then new ones are obliged to be dug; but the old ones are carefully kept open some time, because the spring, after a few months, generally makes its appearance again.