« PreviousContinue »
these descriptions in the Thames, but the boats, but the watermen and passengers athwart that noble river, at a most interest therein. ing point in its course, an artificial im The improvements which the present pediment of a formidable description has age has made in the construction of bridges existed for ages, beneath that ancient struc are no where evinced more clearly than in ture called London Bridge, quite across, | the striking contrast between the stately from the north to the south side. Whe bridge, whose ample arches now bestride ther we survey the segment of a cylinder the Thames only a few yards above, and when it forms an arch, resting upon its the miserable fabric under contemplation. two extremities, or the segment of a sphere This new bridge, the arches of which are when it constitutes a dome, resting upon completed, will obstruct the current in such its base, we behold ponderous matter sus- a trifling degree, that it does not deserve pended in air by the juxtaposition of the name of an obstruction; and I do not its parts. Adaptation of form, and nicety know a finer study in architecture than the of fitting, must harmonize in these fabrics, contrast which these two bridges, side by side, when composed of such materials as bricks across the Thames, at this moment afford. or stones, or the balance of weight in all So soon as the New-bridge is completed, their parts cannot be maintained ; and the the Old-bridge, with all its obstructions, absence of this balance, either in the principle will be removed : it therefore now becomes or in the execution, will expose the materials us to inquire into the consequences of this to the force of gravity individually, which removal. Two effects, the one diametri, will resolve the fabrics themselves into their cally opposite to the other, must result from component parts, and leave, instead of an the removal of this nuisance. First, the arch or a dome, a heap of bricks or ebb will fall to a lower level above bridge, stones.
and secondly, the tide will rise to a higher It was the imperfect knowledge which level, and consequently flow further, up the the ancients had of these segments, that | river. These effects will naturally result reared such difficulties in the way of the from the freedom that will be given to the engineers of these times, whenever they at currents of ebb and flood tide, which, tempted the construction of arches or without obstruction, will roll forward, each domes in the large way; and I doubt not in its several direction, and enjoy all the this very imperfection of knowledge in the latitude of an open channel. engineers who erected that ancient fabric | First, The ebb tide will fall to a lower (called London-bridge, because it was the level above bridge. Pent up, as it now is, the first bridge, and for ages the only bridge Thames above London-bridge partakes of the over the Thames in London) was the cause nature of a pond, the bases of the piers of of that impediment in this noble river, now the nature of a dam, and the spaces between under consideration.
these of the nature of wears. Thus is the When a bridge is of considerable water pent up above its natural level; and length, if the arches which compose it are it can only run regularly off when it atsmall, they must be numerous; and as every | tains a height to force a current sufficiently arch must be supported by piers, of course impetuous, through these wears, to form an these become numerous also; but a num- | equilibrium between the outlet and the ber of piers will necessarily take up a large supply. This circumstance will somewhat proportion of the channel across which impede the navigation of the river above they are ranged, and obstruct the freedom bridge at half ebb and low water, because of the current therein. Not only is Lon- it will actually cause a decrease in the don Bridge composed of a number of depth of water there : and on the south small arches supported by numerous side, especially, which is shallower in piers, but these evils are awfully in- general up to Westminster-bridge than creased by a considerable, indeed a pre- the north side, the difficulty of approachposterous, increase of size in the bases of ing the wharfs will be considerably inthese piers. These, contracting the current creased at those seasons. of this ample river, and resolving it into Secondly, the tide will rise to a higher so many rolling streamlets, pent up be- level above bridge, and consequently flow tween potent barriers, obstruct, and raise the farther up the river. The whole tide of waters several feet on the upper side, and flood, retaining its original impetus, will cause them to rush and roar through their flow freely up the channel of the Thames narrow channels, threatening ruin to the from the ocean to the highest point possismaller vessels that are precipitated down ble; and therefore it may fairly be prethe steep; and, alas ! they do not merely sumed that above bridge the line upon its threaten, but often involve in ruin, not only banks, which is technically called high
water-mark, will be somewhat higher than portion of awe, yet not with alarm : it may the present line. How much this height happen that the difference in the altitude of may exceed the present, must remain a the tides will be so small that no serious subject of conjecture, seeing no certain damage can result therefrom. data can be attained to on this head at this King-square.
W. COLDWELL. moment. In extraordinarily high tides, which flow at certain seasons of the year,
ON MEPHITIC GAS IN MINES. or arise out of certain circumstances, such as storms at sea, when the gale sets
MR. EDITOR, the volume of water directly into the mouth Sir,- In the Staffordshire Advertiser of of the river; or rains inland, which Saturday, May 2d, we are told of two cause a heavy fall of water downward at explosions of hydrogen gas in coal mines, the moment when a strony tide rushes up- near to this place. This has reminded me ward, &c. &c. the freedom of action in the of what I have for some time past inchannel may, and we presume will, permittended, viz. to once more urge those, at all the water to rise up to a higher point engaged in coal mines, to use the means of than, under existing circumstances, it safety. has attained. How much this point The scientific researches of your correwill exceed the present highwater-mark, spondent, who has so ably written on whether six inches, nine, or twelve, or even | mephitic gases, merit, in my opinion, the more, where is the calculator who can highest commendations; but in a practical favour us with an answer? Those whose l point of view, the subject requires line premises immediately adjoin the Thames upon line, and precept upon precept, and above bridge are, however, deeply interested that too in language so plain, that all who in this event. If the tide should exceed read may understand. its present extreme height twelve inches, The means of safety being, in my opior even six inches, considerable damages nion, obvious and certain, I cannot but might ensue on premises, which, during consider the dreadful numbers of lives lost ages past, have been secure; for ages have | in coal mines, and of others maimed for passed away since the nuisance beneath life, as reflecting very much upon the proLondon-bridge was brought into existence. / prietors of them. Were they as careful of
When we behold how closely the river the lives and limbs of their poor workis pent in with buildings, and how numer- people, as they are tenacious of their own ous these buildings are on both sides, pecuniary interests, we should hear less of taking in the range from London-bridge to these deplorable accidents. Richmond, it cannot but excite some Davy's lamps may have done good, and anxiety as to the consequences, when have been the means of safety to many; any portion of the property of such incal. but there is no absolute safety, except in culable value as all these premises contain, getting rid of the danger, and that is what is within the probability of individual | I would wish to recommend. injury or destruction. The histories of There are three ways of preventing accuinundations along the banks of the Thames mulations of hydrogen gas in mines : first, furnish us with calamitous instances of suf- | by having openings above every part in fering, both as to property and persons, work, where danger is apprehended, so as and such an alteration as the present, cer- to give free egress to the gas : secondly, tainly will not decrease, while it may in- to have flexible tubes, one end open at crease, the possibility of similar recurrences. the place where it might accumulate, and If the tide should flow higher up the the other end having an air-pump fixed Thames than heretofore, it will of course thereto, the working of which, would draw raise the water in the river at those out the gas: and thirdly, to have a perpoints higher than its ordinary level; and petual lamp burning near to the roof of all the reasoning applicable to the dis- | the parts infected, so as to consume the tance between London-bridge and Rich- gas as it issued from the works. mond will apply to this extended line. Atmospheric air being twelve times
While we rejoice at the removal of a heavier than hydrogen gas, and not sponnuisance which has choked the course of taneously uniting with it, will, of course, one of the noblest rivers in the world for force it upwards, and, where there is suffiages, and involved hundreds of mankind in cient space, force it out of danger; for the destruction, a destruction which is extra- | danger arises from its compression at the judicial, and out of the course of Divine roof of the chambers of the mine; and, providence; we rejoice, as we do in thou- | therefore, if there is an opening upwards, sands of cases incident to mortality, with a it cannot explode. And if an open end
of a flexible tube be fixed near to the roof, During the late political events, Don Jose and the air be drawn through it, the gas Ribero had forfeited all his fortune for hav. will be drawn out first, and an air-pumping bought several ecclesiastical estates, the of a very simple construction will answer sale of which had been authorized by his the purpose. The discharging end of the majesty. These were taken from him again, tube should rise a little above the surface on the monarch's return from Cadiz, in of the water in a vessel, with water, say 1823; and, like all purchasers of national about a foot or fifteen inches deep. The property, he lost both his money and his end of the tube should have a valve to estates. Thus circumstanced, Don Jose work easy, opening outwards, so that air Ribero turned broker; but being neither might come out of the tube, but not licensed nor sworn in, he acted only as a sort return. A cylinder of a foot or more of poaching broker-namely, irregularly deep, and say a foot wide, open at the and by stealth. lower end, and at the other closed, except Donna Elvira Mendinuetto had divers a valve to open outwardly, will answer little matters of business to settle ; and, as this purpose. Upon the cylinder being let she had been for some time acquainted with down in the water, its top should be near Ribero, she commissioned him with the to the top of the tube, and upon its being same. Maria de los Dolores took an interdrawn up, there would be a vacuum, but est in the unhappy fate of Ribero, and this for the air drawn from the tube, and this sentiment was presently succeeded by anwill be discharged by the valve, upon its other. Ribero was an honest man, and being let down again, and by this means perfectly disinterested, but by no means ingas or common air may be drawn from sensible to the charms of the young lady. the interior of the mine, and, if discharged | They came presently to a mutual underat the bottom of the shaft of the mine, it standing. This was mentioned to the aunt, will find its way upwards.
who not only approved of their reciprocal The combustible quality of hydrogen affection, but calling them one day to her, gas is well known, and is highly valuable, she said to them—“I am very glad of as may be seen in many of our large your mutual passion, and wish to see you towns, factories, and shops. It is quite united; but, as I have much experience, I innocent if brought into contact with a should wish a year to elapse before this blaze, and the oxygen of atmospheric air takes place. Perhaps I shall not live to see in small quantities, and under proper that period, advanced as I am in years; management, and the gas emitted from but even should I close my eyes, my niece coal works may, no doubt, be brought to would surely go into mourning for me for give light to those dreary regions: at any about six months, and not marry during rate, it might all be consumed with safety, that time, by which means I should succeed, and, indeed, I am told that it is consumed although dead, of partly during my own life in some mines.-Yours, &c.
and partly afterwards, subjecting you to this Thos. BAKEWELL.
trial; however, as God may, at any moSpring Vale, near Stone, May 7th, 1829.
ment, call me into his divine presence, I wish you would send for a notary to draw
up my will.” RAPACITY AND ITS EFFECTS.— Badajos, I 'In this will she appointed her niece uni. January, 1828.
versal legatee. A LADY of great respectability, of the name Some time afterwards she fell ill; her of Donna Elvira Mendinuetta, aged 77, the confessor, who was a Franciscan friar, adwidow of one of our generals, had the repu vised her to forbid her piece having any tation in this town of possessing a great deal connexion with Ribero, because he was a of money. Only her niece, Donna Maria de freemason—which is equivalent to a Jew los Dolores Santander, lived with her. It and heretic-and assured her it would prove was said she would inherit all that Donna
n, not only to herself, but likewise possessed; who, being very old, it was to her niece, to listen to the conversation of momentarily expected that Maria de los such an impious wretch. The friar availed Dolores would become mistress of her himself of the advanced age of Donna El. aunt's fortune.
vira, and of all the arts which Monks know Exclusive of these pecuniary expecta how to display on such occasions, to pertions, Maria de los Dolores was very hand suade her to make a fresh will, to annul some in her person; she, therefore, did not l part of her former one; which he brought want admirers; but this virtuous young lady about, by her adding the condition_“That would not give ear to them, and concentrated she insisted upon her universal legatee and all her cares upon attending her aged aunt. executrix, Donna Maria de los Dolores San
tander, her niece, not marrying on any
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS EXPOSED. account Don Jose Ribero; and that, in case of contravention, the Convent of the Hunting.–After reflecting upon the huntFranciscan Friars at Badajos should be her ing of the chamois, where the antelope is universal legatees."
fairly pitted against a man,-strength for When this was done, she communicated strength, stratagem for stratagem, and danthis fact to her niece; and as there is little ger for danger, how poor must our secrecy observed between lovers, Donna modern hunting appear! 'A field of eager Maria mentioned all that had passed to sportsmen, fortified against a little fatigue Ribero.
by every excitement of a morning's meal, Don Jose Ribero said nothing; but next and mounted upon the swiftest and surest evening (the 29th of October last) when the horses, meet to pursue a stag, that is Monk called upon Donna Elvira, under brought to some favourable spot in a cart. pretence of affording her spiritual consola. The poor creature has probably been tion, she being somewhat indisposed, Ribero hunted several times before--for it is the seized the Friar by the throat, and stran- / object of the huntsman to save him from gled him by the mere strength of his arm, the dogs, if possible, that he may again be
With the greatest coolness Ribero called tormented. But he will remember the in the neighbours, and explained to them all first fearful cry of the distant hounds-he the motives that had induced him to com. recollects that the sheltering wood was no mit this crime.
protection to him, and that the dogs folThe corregidor was sent for; a physician lowed him even to the shelter of the peadeclared what was already known, that the sant's hovel, when he threw himself upon Monk had been throttled, and Ribero was man for succour: he was rescued, it is conducted to prison.
true, from their devouring teeth; but he In his subsequent depositions, Ribero ac felt all the agonies of anticipated death. knowledged that, if he had to do the thing And can the creature thus renew such over again, he should strangle such blood- feelings without intense suffering, or his suckers of society again and again, as they pursuers so excite them without cruelty? acted only from egotism, and, under the | In spite of all the trapping of modern stagmask of religion, caused the ruin of many hunting, it is just as unworthy in its prinfamilies.
ciple as the bull-baitings and dog-fights of After collecting all the facts of the case, the populace; for its object is the same,the corregidor, it is said, was almost deter the torture of an unoffending creature for mined not to condemn Ribero, except to our own amusement. These remarks cointen years' hard labour in one of the prisons cide with of Africa. But his Assessor, or Assistant The Humble Petition of a Poor Deer, Judge, being gained over by the Convent now a Prisoner, to the Gentlemen by of Friars, interested himself to secure their whose order, and for whose pleasure, she being revenged for the death of one of their was committed. fraternity, and advised the corregidor to | Gentlemen, though I am one of the rank make a terrible example in the person of of beings of a nature greatly inferior to Ribero, who was consequently sentenced to yours, and which our common Creator and death, and to pay the expenses of the Sovereign has subjected to your despotism, trial.
I presume, by the assistance of a kind This sentence was approved by the Su- friend, to address you in this manner, and preme Tribunal of the province; Ribero | lay before you my distressed case, in hope was put into the Chapel, en Capilla, of the of your compassionate regard. condemned, where he displayed the utmost I was, gentlemen, born free, and tencoolness; when one of his friends contrived derly brought up in the full enjoyment of to supply him with poison, in consequence my natural rights, till my lord and master, of which he presently expired.
tempted by the prospect of gain, sold me Although already dead, he was brought to your leader of the chase; and, though on the scaffold, and executed on the 15th I have never done him or you any injury, of December last.
| I am, by an act of mere arbitrary power, Donna Elvira died two days after. deprived, at once, of all the dear delights
Donna Maria de los Dolores Santander of liberty and social life; shut up, a close retired into a Convent of Capuchin Nuns solitary prisoner, in a place void of light at Zafra, and endowed that Convent with even at noon-day. her aunt's whole fortune.
Some of my friends have inquired into May God preserve your country from the reason of this barbarous treatment of Monks and Friars of every description. | a harmless creature, who are told, that it is
in order to prepare me the better for the lature has dispensed with that penalty, viz. chase; for, by this means, they propose, it | idolatry, blasphemy, Sabbath - breaking, seems, to render my naturally irritable abuse of parents, perjury, and adultery. nerves still more irritable; and the painful If the Jewish law be at all binding, we are sensation of fear to which I am subject, not at liberty to remit the punishment in the more exquisite; and that, when I am six cases, and retain it in the seventh, viz. wrought up to the highest pitch of sensi- | murder. bility, I am suddenly to be dragged from 11. If sanguinary punishments do not my dark prison, turned out at once into derive their authority from the Old Testathe wide world, and to be violently pur- ment, they certainly have no countenance sued by men, dogs, and horses, with the from the New, which is a system of mildutmost fury, as if I had been one of the ness and mercy throughout, and recognizes most destructive creatures upon earth; and, transgressions as sins against God, rather thus, by the swiftness which my poor than as crimes amenable to civil society. trembling heart gives to my slender legs, 111. The present practice of punishing I am to afford them the more of what they capitally partakes too much of the lex call sport, till, no longer able to satisfy talionis, or ancient law of retaliation, which their savage cruelty, I fall a victim to that is plainly abolished by the gospel, and has death I so painfully laboured to avoid. in it much of the vindictive character, in
You men say, there is a God that judg- opposition to the prerogative of Him who eth in the earth, and that he is both just saith, “Vengeance is mine." and merciful; if so, will he not, some- iv. Except in the case of murder, the how, avenge my wrongs ? Permit me, punishment of death is greatly disproporhowever, gentlemen, to entreat you to con- tioned to any crime that a man can comsider, and enter into my case seriously, as mit against society, no amount of property accountable to that Being for your treat- being to be placed in the estimate as an ment of his creatures. Though sportsmen, equivalent to a man's life. I will not believe that you can be so lost v. No punishment inflicted by human to all the feelings of humanity, (not to say laws ought to be wholly retributive or vin. of religion, as not to commiserate my un- dictive ; but rather simply punitive and happy lot; persuaded that you have been corrective, the great object, properly conled to countenance this unkind and cruel sidered, being not to retaliate on the treatment of your petitioner, so far as you offender the whole weight of infliction his have done it, rather from a thoughtless crime may seem in the eye of man to call devotion to the pleasures of the chase, and for; but to chastise with a view to reforthe example of others, than from any set mation and amendment. This method used tled principle of cruelty. I fatter myself, to be observed, and perhaps still is so, in therefore, that, moved by this humble Holland, where capital punishments are remonstrance, you will be prevailed on to very rare, but where severe corporal chasspare me from the shocking sufferings tisements, joined with labour and imprisonyou intend, and restore me to the full ment, await the offender. enjoyment of that liberty to which nature VI. Our present system seems to be has given me so just a claim, and which founded on human pride, passion, and I have done nothing to forfeit; and your cruelty. We take the shortest method of petitioner, gentlemen, will, as far as her disposing of the criminal, we despatch him powers permit, gratefully acknowledge the on the scaffold, and put him out of sight, favour; while all my friends, of which I without a single attempt at his correction, have many, especially of the tender sex, whether his offence be burglary, forgery, or whose sentiments you most highly reve- simple larceny, whether he be nineteen or rence, will applaud your conduct, as doing forty-nine years of age, whether he be a the highest honour to the native goodness hardened offender, or one who has lately of your heart.
DAMA. entered on a course of crime.
vii, The frequent spectacle of public
executions has a hardening tendency, and CONSIDERATIONS ON CAPITAL PUNISH
serves to perpetuate, among the lower MENTS.
orders at least, some of the barbarous dis(By Thomas Wemyss.)
positions of ancient times, besides being 1. They cannot derive their sanction from utterly inconsistent with the refinement, the Jewish law, that having been long since integrity, and humanity of a nation calling abolished. Besides, in six out of the seven itself Christian. precepts, to which the punishment of death VIII. It does not appear that capital was attached by the Jewish law, our legis- ' punishments tend to diminish the number 129.-VOL. XI.