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Antiquity of clock-making.
The first clock with wheels which was known in France, was that given to Pepin the Short by Paul I. In 807, the friend and protector of the arts in the east, Haraun-al-Raschid, presented to Charlemagne a clock, of which the historians of the times speak with admiration; these clocks were imitated by the Italians. To Gerbert d'Aurillac, preceptor to Otho III. is attributed the invention of a clock, the movement of which was regulated by a balance. The clock of the Palais was the first which Paris possessed; it was made by Henry de Vic, who was sent for by Charles V. from Germany; that of the church of Lyons by Nicholas Lippius; that of Strasburg, and of Lund, in Sweden, so much praised by Derham, show the rapid progress which the art had made in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and lead us to that perfection to which it arrived about the middle of the last century. The English invented the watch, and repeating pendulums. Peuchet's Dictionnaire universel, &c.
Derby, May 12, 1812.
MR. EMERSON'S DESCRIPTION OF RATIO.
THE following was inserted in the third Number of the Mentor Magazine, page 200, at my request, but as that work was discontinued, it did not receive the wished-for discussion of the Literati. If agreeable to your plan, I will thank you for its insertion in Number VII. ENQUIRER.
June 9, 1812.
Mr. Emerson, at Def. II. Sect. 2. of his Doctrine of Proportion, has defined RATIO "as the quotient or number arising by dividing the former of two homogeneous quantities by the latter; which number may be either whole, fractional, or surd."
If this definition of Ratio be just, it will include the whole doctrine of Proportion universally, whether the quantities be commensurable or incommensurable.
The opinion of some of the learned readers of the Enquirer on this matter, would be a real service to the young geometers of the present age, who find so great a difficulty to understand the fifth book of Euclid's Elements.
The following extract, on the same subject, I have presumed to transmit for insertion, to be translated into English, by any of your ingenious correspondents, as not being able thoroughly to understand it, through a limited education. It is taken from page 379, Playfair's Geometry, first edit. Notes on Def. 5, 5, Euclid.
"On ne peut demontrer que de cette maniere, (lá réduction à l'absurde) la plupart des propositions qui regardent les incommensurables. L'idee de l'infini
entre au moins implicitement dans la notion de ces sortes des quantités; et comme nous n'avons qu'une idée negative de l'infini on ne peut demantrer directement, et a priori, tout ce qui concerne l'infini mathematique."
AGAINST THE EXISTENCE OF TROY.
How is it possible that at the period of civilization when Troy is represented to have existed, a fleet of twelve hundred ships could have been procured on no very pressing emergency; and yet that, several centuries afterwards, when the Grecians were exposed to inevitable destruction, unless averted by the most vigorous resistance, their whole united fleet, after a long preparation, should have amounted only to three hundred and seventy-eight ships! Next we are told, that the army remained nine years inactive, in an enemy's country, when they could procure subsistence only by plundering the whole of that part of Asia Minor; yet by Homer's account, both Patroclus and Achilles could have taken the city in a single day, if it had not been saved both times by the interposition of some of their deities. The site of Troy never has been ascertained even by the ancients. Several of
their best geographers were natives of Phrygia, but never could, by the closest investigation, trace any re mains of the city, and indeed could find no situation, corresponding in any degree to the description of Homer. Alexander, whose survey of the country may have been supposed to have been the most accurate, built his city in a spot confessed by all to be totally different from Homer's Troy. Mr. Bryant has shown that, until the Grecians had begun to make enquiries, the natives had no tradition even of the name of the city. Modern travellers have differed in a most extraordinary manner in their descriptions of the country. So wide is their discrepancy, that it can be accounted for, charitably, only on the supposition that enthusiasm had blinded their views, and led them to trace similarity where a child would have discovered the most irreconcileable contrariety. The classical dreams of the romantic Chevalier have obtained little credit, and yet he positively avers that his description is correct. Gell, Morritt, Wood, &c. &c. all assert the merit and accuracy of their respective maps, but all disagree.
What then are we to draw from this farrago of contradiction, misrepresentation, and inaccuracy? That no such city as Troy ever existed. Otherwise it would be difficult to account for the wonderful manner in which every vestige of it disappeared in a few centuries, a circumstance which can only be paralleled by the case of those cities which the righteous wrath of the Almighty had doomed to signal punishment.
But Mr. Bryant's research has not left this question undecided. It appears that very old traditions record, that Homer found in a temple in Egypt a poem, relative to a war against a city called Troy, situated near Memphis, and that he embellished and translated this poem into the Greek language, and laid the scene of action in the opposite shore of Asia Minor. The poem itself affords internal evidence in confirmation of this very curious and insuperable argument. The Mythology which Homer uses was unknown to the Grecians, at the latest period at which the Trojan war can
be fixed. Most of the names also Mr. Bryant has analysed, and finds to be chiefly derived from the Egyptian dialect.
I CONCEIVE that your Manchester Correspondent W. F. has mistaken, or paid little attention to the letter of Herewardus de Brunne, or he would have seen that it is the Pilgrim's Tale, and not the Plowman's, that H. de B. wishes to be communicated to the Enquirer. A copy of Chaucer's Works (Black-letter, folio) now lies before me, but the Pilgrim's Tale is not in it, though in an advertisement to the reader is the following notice: "Whereas in the life of Chaucer mention is made of the Tale, called the Pilgrim's Tale, which is there said to have been seen in the Library of Mr. Stow, and promised to be printed as soon as opportunity should offer; I have for the procuring of it used all diligence imaginable, not only in searching the libraries of both universities, but also all private libraries that I could have access unto; but having no success therein, I beg you will please to accept my earnest endeavours to have served you: and take what is here printed, it being all that at present can be found that was Chaucer's." It may be necessary to notice that this edition is printed at London, 1686.
Near Leeds, June 16, 1812..
J. H. N.
TO THE CONDUCTORS OF THE ENQUIRER.
HEARNE, in a letter to Mr. Bagford concerning Chaucer and his poems, says, that " amongst Mr. Selden's printed books in the Bodleian Library is a quarto collection of old romantic pieces, the first of which is The story of the noble Kynge Richard Cure de I yon, printed at London by Wynkin de Worde, an. MDXXVIII. The author's name is not added, and therefore it is put
down in Dr. Hyde's Catalogue as an anonymous tract; but upon consulting the book, I find that somebody, perhaps one that was formerly owner of it, has written the following words at the beginning, By Jeffree Charsher, Pooet Laret. What authority he had for this I will not pretend to say." Can any of the contributors to the Enquirer furnish that work with a copy of this piece; or give me any information respecting it? Hearne in the same Letter goes on to observe, that "in this Library we have another collection of old English pieces, which was also Mr. Selden's, in which is the Plowman's Tule, with a short exposition of the words and matters, printed at Lond. MDCVI. Quarto." This tale he characterizes in the following words. "For not only the regular, but secular clergy were exasperated against Chaucer, for the freedom he had taken. to expose their lewdness and debauchery; but nothing gave them so much offence as the Plowman's Tale, in which he has, in lively colours, described their pride, covetousness, and abominable lust, and showed that the Pope is Antichrist, and they his ministers. Such a satire, made by a person of his note and distinction, and so much celebrated for his wonderful fine parts, and exquisite learning, and judgment, could not but work mightily upon them, especially when many of them had arrived at so high a pitch of wickedness, and were drowned in sloth and luxury.”
Hearne, who we must suppose was well acquainted with Chaucer's writings, makes in this Letter no allusion to the Pilgrim's Tale enquired after by Herewardus de Brunne, although he particularly mentions Thinne's Edition of his Works. The Plowman's Tale referred to in your last number by W. F. and alluded to above by Hearne, is by no means scarce, being found in Speght's Edition, folio, 1687; in the preface to which Edition mention is made of the Pilgrim's Tale, and of the unsuccessful exertions which the Editor had made to procure a copy of it.",