Imagens das páginas

present inclined to maintain, the necessity of subscription to particular articles of faith in the established church, and of Teft Acts, to exclude Disfenters from places of civil trust. For there seems no reason to expect, that subscriptions will be more efficacious' to prevent the rise and incursions of error, and guard the boundaries of truth, or to preserve the common people from being distracted by a variety of opinions, within the pale of the church, than without it; and there appears to be a manifest injustice, in excluding peaceable and useful members of society from places of trust in the govero'ment which they contribute to support, on account of opinions or practices which are not inimical to the state.


Art. IV. Military Memoirs of Great Britain : or, A Hisory of the

War 1755-1763, with elegant Copper plates. By David Ramsay. 8vo. Edinburgh, printed for the Author. 1779.

HIS volume contains an account of the principal events

that occurred during the course of the last war, collected, as the Author informs us, from the Gazettes, published by both nations most of the periodical publications --Smola Jet's History of EnglandEntick's History of the late War

Molyneux’s Conjunct Expeditions--Lloyd's History of the German War 1756 and 1757-Orme's Military Transactions of the British Nations in Indoftan-Annual Register, &c. &c.'. The work will serve to give a general idea of the transactions of that busy period, in a manner ikat may prove satisfactory to those who do not desire to investigate matters with a scrupulous degree of attention ; but it will not, we imagine, be equally acceptable to those who wish to penetrate the secrets of the cabinet, or to see the characters of the principal actors in these events, pourtrayed in lively and discriminating colours. In the first department, we meet with little more than a succinct recital of the oftensible motives for action, that have been made public by the several actors themselves, or their partizans; and in the last, few touches of general praise or disapprobation, which are not so appropriated as to constitute a particular likeness. The narrative is in general concise, and the style unembarrassed, though not entirely free from provincial idiomatic phrases. But in some cases, the Au. tror aflumes a sort of enigmatic mysteriousness, which must be contidered as a very material blemish in a work chiefly calcu• Jared for the use of those only who want to be informed, not puzzled.

As a specimen of the work, we select the following account or the state of parties in the British court, in the year 1757.



As the politics of this period were complicated and myfterious, it will be neceffary, in order to form an idea of them, to deļineate the characters of the different parties who laid claim to the direction of ftate affairs. They consisted of three different factions. The firft, highly respectable as to rank and fortune, poffefsed of a considerable share of parliamentary interest, and the greatest fway with the monied people, was composed of those who had grown into place and power under the old ministry. Their adulation, and courtly complaisance, had likewise rendered them greatly respected by the king; but in some very material points their weakness was conspicuous; they were deficient in popularity, and their political abilities were but indifferent. The second fa&ion, though superior in point of abilities, was poffesfed of less parliamentary intereft, and much more unpopular than the first. They derived their power from their influence at one court *, by means of a then powerful connection; but which only tended to make them less respected with the other court, and even added to their unpopularity.--The third party had little influence in parliament, and less at court; but they pofseffed, in the highest degree, the confidence and support of the people. The shining abilities of their leader, and his steady adherence to an upright, disinterested conduct, claimed veneration, even from his opponents. These factions differed extremely in the general scheme of politics. The two first agreed in opinion, that the increasing power of France was much to be dreaded ; that it was absolutely necessary to maintain a balance of power, and that this was to be done chiefly, by keeping up a close connection with the powers of the continent, by espousing their quarrels, and even aflifting them with troops

required. This furnished an argument for a standing army ; and though they thought the navy should by no means be neglected, yet it only ought to be employed in fubferviency to the continental system. In their opinions of conftitutional liberty they were likewise fingular. Though they pretended to be Ataunch friends to the liberties of the people, yet, as government must be supported, they looked upon it as juftifiable to secure a majority in Parliament, by creating many lucrative places and em

Can any thing be more ridiculous than this air of mysterious fecrecy in a work evidently calculated for the young and ignorant only? How many, among such readers, will be puzzled to discover who were the principal persons meant to be included in each of theie factions, which would have been entirely cleared up by naming, as is usual, the parties from their leaders-- Newcastle, Búte, and Pitr. Or could any harm have arisen from mentioning, in plain terms, the court of the Prince of Wales, although an apology would perhaps have been unnecessary for applying the term court in this intance. 14

ployments ployments at the disposal of the crown; alleging, as a palliation of this made of ruling, that the particular form of our government, and the general depravity of mankind, rendered any other lefs exceptionable method impracticable.

• The third, and popular party, was actuated by principles of a different nature. They viewed, indeed, the increasing power of France, in the same light with the two former, and acquiesced in the necessity of receing bounds to it; but they differed widely in the means to be used for that purpose. They were for making the military operations of Great Britain entirely fubfervient to our naval strength, as a more natural, safer, and Jels expensive plan of politics. Our situation as an island, faid they, points out to us a conduct different from that of other nations. The sea is our natural element, and to quit that, and involve ourselves in continental quarrels, is acting diametrically opposite to our real interests. The superiority of France lies entirely on the continent, and the attacking her on that side would be evidently dangerous, and like (to use a strong, though vulgar expreffion) taking a bull by the horo. Our government, they laid, ttood in no need of fupport from a standing army, which was ever dangerous to freedom; and that a well trained militia would prove our beit protection against an invasion. From a higher notion of human nature, they judged it possible to influence the minds of men by nobler motives than that of interef. A minister wba governs uprightly, will never be opposed by the people.'

Our Author seems really, and honestly, to think that Mr. Pitt was in very deed what he pretended to be, and to believe, in good earnest, that the British Parliament were actually sincere and unanimous in the character they all agreed to give of that great man after his death. If so, Mr. R. is certainly ill qualified to develope the intrigues of the cabinet, The ministry, before Mr. Pill's adminiftration, were weak enough, in truth; but we never heard that they were so exceedingly weak, as to avow the principles we have distinguished by italics, although there is no doubt that both they, and Mr, Pitt, and every adminiftration fince, and before them, for half a century past, have privately adopted those principles, and pursued that mode of conduct. Mr. Pirt had abilities sufficient to persuade the nation, at large, that his opponents were actuated by motives which their own imbecility hardly enabled them to discover, and to make them believe, that he alone was possessed of some excellent qualities, to which no other politician could, with justice, lay claim. A well-inforined historian would do justice to his abilities-although he would often find occasion to condeinn him in other refpects. But the time is not, perhaps, yet come, for an impartial history of tñat period.


Mr. Ramsay is the avowed panegyrist of Mr. Pitt, and of every other person who had the good fortune to obtain popular fame during the war. Observe in what manner he apologizes for Mr. Piti's adopting continental measures after he assumed the reins of administration :

· The unpopular party, however, was not entirely excluded from a share in the administration. Their influence in the Privy Council, and credit in the House of Commons, were Atill great, and sufficient to thwart every measure in which they did not partake. A coalition of parties therefore took place from necessity: - It was now propoled to gratify our King, with aslisting our allies on the continent, in the manner most agreeable to our infular fituation, which is by making diversions with our feets; and it was also agreed that we should aid them with such land force and money as our strength and finances would admiti'

Mr. Ramsay here thinks it necessary to make an apology for his hero, that he did not judge necessary for himself, as he afterwards claimed the fole honour of having conquered America in Germany.

This compendium would have been more useful, if the Au. thor had taken care to insert, in the margin, the precise dates of the several occurrences that are mentioned in the text; for want of which the Reader is often at a loss, in regard to the order of time and the succession of events.

With respect to the copper-plates mentioned in the title-page, for' elegant,' read execrable.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ART. V. A Discourse on the Theory of Gunnery. Delivered at the

Anniversary Meeting of the Royal Sociery, Nov. 30th, 1778.
By Sir John Pringle, Baronet. Published by their Order. 46o.
Is. 6 .

L. Davis.
HIS most excellent discourse, the last we are to expect

from its truly ingenious and learned Author, was delivered on presenting Sir Godfrey Copley's gold medal to Mr. Cha. Hutton of the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, for his paper, entitled, “ The Force of fired Gunpowder, and the initial Velocities of Cannon-Balls, determined from Experi. ments.”

After premising a short account of some of the principal military engines, used by the ancients before the discovery of gunpowder, and the invention of guns, the President proceeds to give a concise account of the principal improvements which have been made, from time to time, in the theory and practice of gunnery. From which it appears that Nicholas Tartaglia, who lived about the beginning of the fixteenth century, was the first who maintained that no part of the path of a cannon

[merged small][ocr errors]

ball is a straight line. It does not, however, appear that Tartaglia made any attempts towards determining what the true path was. There is indeed, reason to suppose that he had deviated fufficiently from the opinions of his contemporaries in denying that it was a straight line, obvious as it may appear at this day, and which is more to be wondered at, as every operation in nature, where projedlile motion is concerned, muft have tended to convince them of it. But, as Sir John obferves, one would imagine, from numerous instances, that men of science were fo far from making experiments themselves if those days, that they even shut their eyes against what chance would otherwise have presented to their right.

To investigate the path which a projectile actually describes in a non-refiiting medium was reserved for Galileo, the inventor of the telescope, and the morning-star of the seventeenth century; which afterwards produced those glorious luminaries of fcience Hook, Huygens, Halley, and Newton. After the demonItrations of Galileo, every one seems to have seited satished that the theory of gunnery was complete, and that nothing remained to be done for it but to reduce the theory to practice, until Neauton, in 1687, published his Principia, wherein he demonstrates that the resistance of the air is great enough to make the difference between the curve of projection of heavy bodies, and that of a parabola, very fenfible, and therefore too considerable to be neglected. Soon after, namely, in 1690, M. Huygens demonstrated the fame thing. No notice, however, appears to have been taken of the demonstrations of thele great men; nor yet of M. de Reljons, a French officer of artillery, of high military rank, and great professional abilities; and, moreover, distinguished by the number of sieges which he had served at; who, in the year 1716, represented to the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, that, “ although it was agreed that theory joined to practice constituted the perfection of every art, yet experience had taught him that theory was of very little service in the use of mortars. That although, in the work of M. Blondel *, the feveral parabolic lines are justly enough described, according to the different degrees of the elevation of the piece, yet that practice had convinced him there was no theory in the effects of gunpowder : for that having endeavoured, with the greateft precition, to point a mortar agreeably to there calculations, he had never been able to establish any folid foundation upon them t.” For we find no attempts toward improving this art before our countryman, Mr. Benjamin Robins, undertook it, about the year 1740, and made the experiments which are

• L'Art de jetter les Bombes.
+ Mem. de l'Acad. R. des Sc. 1716.


« AnteriorContinuar »