« AnteriorContinua »
stitution. Communicated by Benjamin Count of Rumford, V.P.R.S.
Mr. Davy, in this article, gives an account of Galvanic piles of different strength. The principle on which Galvanism depends is oxydation ; and the two metals must be oxydable in different degrees. This clue has furnished the idea of considerable improvements in the apparatus, which it is not easy to explain satisfactorily in shorter language than that of the author.. . XXII. Experiments on the Chemical Production and Agency of Electricity. By William Hyde Wollaston, M.D, F.R.S
In these Galvanic experiments Dr. Wollaston endeavours to show that the power arises from the chemical action of the fluid on the metal, rather than that the oxydation is owing to the electricity, set in motion by the contact of metals. In this ingenious paper Dr. Wollaston has proved very clearly the similarity of the electric and Galvanic powers, and has imitated many of the peculiar effects of Galvanism by the electrical machine. Where amalgam is employed on the cushions, it is nea cessarily oxydated, and the electricity is negative. "
. XXII. Farther Observations on the Effects which take Place from the Destruction of the Membrana Tympani of the Éar; with an Account of an Operation for the Removal of a particular Species of Deafness. By Mr. Astley Cooper. Com, municated by Everard Home, Esq. F.R.S.' : Mr. Cooper has pursued his former ideas on this subject, and is convinced, by the most careful inquiry, that an injury in the membrana tympani does not injure the sense of hearing while the attachment of the malleus continues unimpaired. When three of the four bones are destroyed, hearing is greatly impaired; but, after a little time, in some degree recovered. The deafness which arises from an obstruction of the Eustachian tube may be remedied by puncturing the membrane below the atm tachment of the malleus; for no vibration can take place unless air be admitted behind. Many instances of the success of this operation are adduced; the means of performing it are added, with the circumstances which prove that the deafness arises from this cause.
The volume concludes with the usual list of presents, and the index....
Art. XII.-GLIG-GAMENA ANGEL-Deod; or, the Sports and
Pastimes of the People of England, &c. By Joseph Strutt. (Continued from Vol. XXXIII. p. 361.)
W E now proceed to the third book of this curious and ititeresting performance, which relates to pastimes usually exercised in towns and cities, or places adjoining to them. The first chapter of this section chiefly relates to the tournament and similar exercises.
• Tilting, or, as it is most commonly called, running at the ring, was also a very fashionable pastime in former days: the ring is evi. dently derived from the quintain, and indeed the sport itself is frequently called running or tilting at the quintain. Thus Commenius, in his Vocabulary, says, “ At this day tilting at the quintain is used where a hoop or ring is struck with a lance :" hence it is clear that the ring was put in the place of the quintain. The excellency of the pastime was to ride at full speed, and thrust the point of the lance through the ring, which was supported in a case or sheath, by the means of two springs, but might be readily drawn out by the force of the stroke, and remain upon the top of the lance. The form of the ring, with the sheath, and the manner in which it was attached to the upright supporter, taken from Pluvinel, are given upon the twelfth plate, and also the method of performing the exercise. At the commencement of the seventeenth century the pastime of running at the ring was reduced to a science; the length of the course was measured, and marked out according to the properties of the horses that were to run : for one of the swiftest kind, as Pluvinel informs us, one hundred paces from the starting place to the ring, and thirty paces beyond it, to stop him, were deemed necessary; but for such horses as had been trained to exercise, and were more regular in their movements, eighty paces to the ring, and twenty beyond it, were thought to be sufficient. The ring, says the same author, ought to be placed with much precision, somewhat higher than the left eye. brow of the practitioner, when sitting upon his horse ; because it was necessary for him to stoop a little in running towards it.
• In tilting at the ring, three courses were allowed to each candi. date ; and he who thrust the point of his lance through it the often. est, or, in casé no such thing was done, struck it the most frequently, was the victor : but if it so happened that none of them did either the one or the other, or that they were equally successful, the courses were to be repeated until such time as the superiority of one put an end to the contest.' P. 96.
The account of tournaments is ample, and some remarkable ones are described.
The next chapter relates to ancient theatrical exhibitions-topic on which we need not dwell, as it has been lately illus. trated in several popular works. The bards and minstrels form the subject of another chapter ; in which, as in the preceding, Mr. Strutt might have added some curious intelligence from the ancient Scottish poems. It would also seem that Dr. Percy has included distinct professions under the name of minstrels, which term, it is sufficiently clear, denoted musicians alone, and had no connexion either with that of a rhyme-maker or poet, or that of a joculator or juggler. In the account of the latter our author introduces the following feats of activity. - « The rope-dance. This species of amusement is certainly very ancient. :Terence, in the prologue to Hecyra, complains that the attention of the public was drawn from his play by the exhibitions of a rope-dancer. We are well assured that dancing upon the rope con'stituted a part of the entertainments presented to the public by the minstrels and joculators; and we can trace it as far back as the thirteenth century: but whether the dancers at that time exhibited upon the slack or tight rope, or upon both, cannot easily be ascertained ; and we are equally in the dark respecting the extent of their abili ties: but, if we may judge from the existing specimens of other 'feats of agility performed by them or their companions, we may fairly conclude that they were by no means contemptible artists.
When Isabel of Bavaria, queen to Charles the Sixth of France, made her public entry into Paris, among other extraordinary exhibitions prepared for her reception was the following, recorded by Froissart, who was himself a witness to the fact : “ There was a mayster came out of Geane; he had tied a corde upon the hyghest house on the brydge of Saynt Michell over all the houses, and the other ende was tyed to the hyghest tower of our Ladye's churche; and, as the quene passed by, and was in the great streat called Our Ladye's strete ; bycause it was late, this sayd mayster, wyth two bringynge candelles in hys handes, issued out of a littel stage that he had made on the heyght of our Lady's tower, synginge as he went upon the cord all alonge the great strete, so that all that sawe him hadde marvayle how it might be; and he bore still in hys handes the two brinnyage candelles, so that he myght be well sene all over Parys, and two myles without the city. He was such a tombler, that his lightnesse was greatly praised."
A performance much resembling the foregoing was exhibited before king Edward the Sixth, at the time he passed in procession through the city of London, previous to his coronation.“ “ When the king," says the author, " was advanced almost to St. George's church, in Paul's church-yard, there was a rope as great as the ca. ble of a ship, stretched in length from the battlements of Paul's steeple, with a great anchor at one end fastened a little before the dean of Paul's house-gate ; and, when his majesty approached near the same, there came a man, a stranger, being a native of Arragon, lying on the rope, his head forward, casting his arms and legs abroad, running on his breast on the rope from the battlements to the ground, as if it had been an arrow out of a bow, and stayed on the ground. Then he came to the king's majesty, and kissed his foot; and so, after certain words to his highness, he departed from him again, and went upwards upon the rope till he came over the midst of the church-yard ; where he, having a rope about him, played certain mysteries on the rope, as tumbling, and casting one leg from another. Then took he the rope, and tied it to the cable, and tied himself by. the right leg a little space beneath the wrist of the foot, and hung by one leg a certain space, and after recovered himself again with the said rope, and unknit the knot, and came down again. Which stayed his majesty, with all the train, a good space of time.”
• This trick was repeated, though probably by another performer, in the reign of queen Mary; for, according to Holinshed, among the various shows prepared for the reception of Philip, king of Spain, was one of a man who “ came downe upon a rope, tied to the battlement of Saint Paule's church, with his head before, neither staieing himself with hand or foot; which,” adds the author, “ shortlie after cost bim his life.”
"A similar exploit was put in practice, about fifty years back, in different parts of this kingdom; and I received the following account of the manner in which it was carried into execution at Hertford from a friend of mine, who assisted the exhibitor in adjusting his apparatus, and saw his performance several times : A rope was stretched from the top of the tower of All Saints church, and brought obliquely to the ground about fourscore yards from the bottom of the tower, where, being drawn over two strong pieces of wood nailed across each other, it was made fast to a stake driven into the earth; two or three feather-beds were then placed upon the cross timbers, to receive the performer when he descended, and to break his fall. He was also provided with a flat board having a groove in the midst of it, which he attached to his breast; and when he intended to exhibit, he laid himself upon the top of the rope, with his head downwards, and adjusted the groove to the rope, his legs being held by a person appointed for that purpose, until such time as he had properly balanced himself. He was then liberated, and descended with incredible swiftness from the top of the tower to the feather-beds, which prevented his reaching the ground. This man had lost one of his legs, and its place was supplied by a wooden leg, which was fur. nished on this occasion with a quantity of lead sufficient to counterpoise the weight of the other.' P. 166.
A show-bill for Bartholomew fair, during the reign of queen Anne, announces “ The wonderful performances of that most celebrated master Simpson, the famous vaulter, who, being lately arrived from Italy, will show the world what vaulting is !" The bill speaks pompously; but how far his abilities coincided with the promise I cannot determine, for none of his exertions are specified, But the most extraordinary vaulter that has appeared within my memory was brought forward last year at the Circus. He was then about eighteen years of age, exceedingly well made, and upwards of six feet high. He leaped over nine horses standing side by side, and a man seated upon the middle horse ; he jumped over a garter held fourteen feet high; and at another jump kicked a bladder hanging sixteen feet at least from the ground; and, for his own benefit, he leaped over a temporary machine representing a broad-wheeled waggon with the tilt. These astonishing specimens of strength and agility
were performed, without any trick or deception, by a fair jump, and not with the somersault, which is usually practised on such occasions. After a run of ten or twelve yards, he ascended an inclined plane, constructed with thick boards, and about three feet in height at one end; from the upper part of this plane he made his spring, and, having performed the leap, was received into a carpet held by six or eight men. It may readily be supposed that exertions of such an extraordinary nature could not be long continued without some disastrous accident; and accordingly, in the first season of his engagement, he sprained the tendon of his heel so violently, that he could not perform for a considerable time afterwards.' P. 176.
The sixth chapter contains feats performed by tame animals; among which are properly classed the combats of pugilists. The seventh chapter is occupied with bowling, and similar exercises.
• The pastime of bowling, whether practised upon open greens, or in bowling-alleys, was probably an invention of the middle ages. I cannot by any means ascertain the time of its introduction; but I have traced it back to the thirteenth century. The earliest representation of a game played with bowls that I have met with occurs on the twenty-seventh plate, where two small cones are placed upright at a distance from each other; and the business of the players is evidently to bowl at them alternately, the successful candidate being he who could lay his bowl nearest to the mark. At the top of the same plate are two other bowlers; but they have no apparent object to play at, unless the bowl cast by the first may be considered as such by the second, and the game require him to strike it from its place. Below these we see three persons engaged in the pastime of bowling ; and they have a small bowl, or jack, according to the modern practice, which serves them as a mark for the direction of their bowls : the action of the middle figure, whose bowl is supposed to be running towards the jack, will not appear by any means extravagant to such as are accustomed to visit the bowling-greens. The following little poem, called “ A Parallel betwixt Bowling and Preferment," which I found in one of the manuscripts at the British Museum, expresses happily enough the turns and chances of the game of bowls ::
« Preferment, like a game at boules,
To feede our hope hath divers play:
The betters make and shew the way
Doe many cast on their desire ;
When those are stopt that would aspire.
Thrive well by rubbs that curb their haste,
Are cherished by some favour's blaste;