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France ! and the friend of slavery, because he was anxious to preserve our own limited monarchy in the same state in which it so long had flourished! Mr. Burke had looked half alarmed at his brother's opening, not knowing, I presume, whither his odd fancy might lead him; but, when he had finished, and so inotfensively, and a general laugh that was excited was over, he—The Burke-good-humouredly turning to me, and pouring out a glass of wine, cried, “ Come, then, Miss Burney! here's slavery for ever!” This was well understood, and echoed round the table. This would do for you completely, Mr. Burke," cried Mrs. Crewe, laughing, "if it could but get into a newspaper! Mr. Burke, they would say, has now spoken out! The truth has come to light over a bottle of wine! and his real defection froin the cause of true liberty is acknowledged ! I should like," added she, laughing quite heartily, “to draw up the paragraph myself !” “ Pray, then,” said Mr. Burke, “complete it by putting in, that the toast was addressed to Miss Burney in order to pay my court to the queen !”—vol. iii. p. 166-168.
Miss Burney, it must be recollected, was at this time in the queen's family.
Our evening finished more curiously than desirably, by a junction that robbed us of the conversation of Mr. Burke. This was the entrance of Lord Loughborough and of Mr. and Mrs. Erskine, who, having villas at Hampstead, and knowing nothing of Mrs. Crewe's party, called in accidentally from a walk. If not accidentally, Mr. Erskine, at least, would probably have denied himself a visit that brought him into a coterie with Mr. Burke; who openly, in the House of Commons, not long since, upon being called by Mr. Erskine his Right Hon. Friend, sternly demanded of him, whether he knew what friendship meant? From this time there was an evident disunion of cordiality in the party. My father, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Richard Burke, and young Burke, entered into some general discourse, in a separate group. Lord Loughborough joined Mrs. Burke. My new young partizan sat with Miss Crewe and Miss Townshend ; but the chair of Mrs. Erskine being next to mine, she immediately began talk. ing to me as chattily and currently as if we had known each other all our lives. Mr. Erskine confined his attention exclusively to Mrs. Crewe. Mr. Burke, meanwhile, with a concentrated, but dig. nified air, walked away from them all, and threw himself on a settee in a distant part of the room. Here he picked up a book, which he opened by chance, and, to my great astonishment, began reading aloud! but not directing his face, voice, or attention to any of the company. On the contrary, he read with the careless freedom from effort or restraint that he might have done had he been alone; and merely aloud, because the book being in verse, he was willing to add the pleasure of sound to its sense. But what to me made this seem highly comic, as well as intrepidly singular, was that the work was French. It was a volume of Boileau, which he had opened at the famed and incomparable Epitre à mon Jardinier ; and he read it not only with the English accent, but exactly as if the two nations had one pronunciation in common of the alphabet.'
This we take leave to doubt; when Miss Burney wrote this she herself had never been in France, and Mr. Burke had frequently visited that country, and, indeed, was generally supposed to have been educated at St. Omers an error which never could have prevailed, had he been so strangely ignorant of the French language as he is here represented io have been. Madame d'Arblay proceeds :-
• Yet, while the delivery was so amusing, the tone, the meaning, the force he gave to every word were so winning to my ears, that I should have listened to nothing else, if I had not unavoidably been engrossed by Mrs. Erskine ; though from her, too, I was soon called off by a surprise and half alarm from her celebrated husband.
Mr. Erskine had been enumerating, fastidiously, to Mrs. Crewe, his avocations, their varieties, and their excess; till, at length, he mentioned, very calmly, having a case to plead soon against Mr. Crewe, upon a manor business in Cheshire. Mrs. Crewe hastily interrupted him, with an air of some disturbance, to inquire what he meant ? and what might ensue to Mr. Crewe? “O, nothing but losing the lordship of that spot;" he coolly answered ; “ though I don't know that it will be given against him. I only know, for certain, that I shall have three hundred pounds for it!" Mrs. Crewe looked thoughtful; and Mr. Erskine then, finding he enjoyed not her whole attention, raised his voice, as well as his manner, and began to speak of the New Association for Reform by the Friends of the People; discanting in powerful, though rather ambiguous terms, upon the use they had thought fit, in that association, to make of his name; though he had never yet been to the society; and I began to understand that he meant to disavow it: but presently he added, “ I don't know~I am uncertain—whether ever I shall attend. I have so much to do so little cime-such interminable occupation! However, I don't yet know-I am not decided; for the people must be supported !” “ Pray will you tell me," said Mrs. Crewe, coolly, “ what you inean by The People ? for I never know."
Whether she asked this with real innocence, or affected ignorance, I cannot tell; but he was evidently surprised by the question, and evaded any answer. Probably he thought he might as well avoid discussing such a point before his friend, Mr. Burke; who, he knew well, though lying perdu from delicacy to Mrs. Crewe, would resistlessly be ready, upon the smallest provocation, to pounce with a hawk's power and force
in order to deliver a counter interpretation to whatever he, Mr. Erskine, might reply of who and what were meant by the people. I conjecture this from the suddenness with which Mr. Erskine, after this interrogatory, almost abruptly made his bow. Lord Loughborough instantly took his vacated seat on the sofa next to Mrs. Crewe ; and presently, with much grave, but strong humour, recited a speech which Mr. Erskine had lately made at some
16 As to me,
public meeting, and which he had opened to this effect. gentlemen, I trust I have some title to give my opinions freely. Would you know whence my title is derived ? I challenge any man amongst you to inquire! If he ask my birth,—its genealogy may dispute with kings! If my wealth,—it is all for which I have time to hold out my hand! If my talents—No!-of those, gentlemen, I leave you to judge for yourselves !'-vol. iii. p. 169-174.
We have already exceeded our limits, and must conclude with repeating our wish that it were possible to persuade Madame d'Arblay to separate, even now, her own from her father's Memoirs—to give us them as he wrote them, or at least as much of what he wrote as she might judge proper; and to condense and simplify into a couple of interesting (and interesting they would be) volumes, her own story and her contemporaneous notes and boná fide recollections of that brilliant society in which she moved, from 1778 to 1794. We lay some stress on the words bonâ fide, not as imputing to Madame d’Arblay the slightest intention to deceive, but because we think that we see in almost every page abundant proof, that the habit of novel-writing has led her to colour and, as she may suppose, embellish her anecdotes with sonorous epithets and factitious details, which, however, we venture to assure her, not only blunt their effect, but discredit their authority.
To conclude: we hope it will be observed that our strictures have been confined to Madame d'Arblay's errors in point of style and arrangement;—we have none other to reproach her with ;her book evinces the best feelings-the best principles-she is amiable and respectable—we may smile at ber foibles, but we willingly admit that they always lean to virtue's side,'—and she will (her later works happily forgotten) go down to posterity as an exemplary woman in private life; as the author of Evelina and Cecilia; as honoured for her own unassisted merits with the patronage and protection of King George III. and his admirable Queen, and as the friend and favourite of Mr. Burke and of Dr. Johnson.
Art. VI. -- ). On Naval Timber and Arboriculture; with
Critical Notes. By Patrick Matthew. 8vo. London. 1830. 2. Practical Remarks on Building and Equipping Ships of War.
By A, W. Schomberg, Esq., Rear Admiral of the Blue. 8vo.
London. 1839. 3. Calculations reluting to the Equipment of Ships. By John
Edye. 4to. London. 1833. THE author of the first of these works introduces one of the most important branches of his subject in these terms :
• We greatly wonder that something efficacious has not been done by our Navy Board in regard to Dry Rot; and consider that a rotprevention officer or wood-physician should be appointed to each vessel of war, from the time her first timber is laid down, to be made accountable if rot to any extent should ever occur; and that this officer should be regularly bred to his profession. Perhaps it might be as well to endow several professors' chairs at the universities, to follow out and lecture on this science.' We do not know of what wood Mr. Matthew would recommend these chairs to be formed; but although a Mercury may be made ex quovis ligno, we do not think any skill will ever convert him either into a Rot-prevention officer or a Wood-physician. His discovery, in short, is neither more nor less than the old prescription, to rub naval timbers with lime: and after a variety of long sentences and solemn calculations, he is himself obliged to close the chapter with a simple statement, which at one touch decomposes his whole doctrine, as effectually as ever a rot-doctor's prepared plank was converted into the semblance of wet leather by a three months' sojourn in the fungus pit at Woolwich :
• It is necessary,' he candidly says, to mention, that though lime, when timber is so dry as to be liable to corruption by insects or dry rot, is, by destroying life and increasing the dryness, preventive of this corruption-yet lime, in contact with timber for a considerable time in moist air, from its great attraction for water, draws so much moisture from the air as to become wet mortar or pulp, which, moistening the timber, promotes its decay by the moist rot'--p. 162.
Mr. Matthew is, we do not doubt, a skilful planter ; and, though his' Critical Notes' are pert nonsense, his book, on the whole, is not a bad one ;-but it will be evident, before we conclude this paper, that he has never had even a glimpse of the rationale of what is called dry rot in timber. In the mean time let it be observed, that, in point of fact, all rot, whether in animal or vegetable substances, in whatever dust or snuff it may end, does and must begin with moisture.
Since this subject was last treated at any length in this Journal (vol. xxx., p. 216,) a variety of authors have put forth books on it: but the only one of these that has acquired or merited much repu. tation is the very able one of Mr. Knowles ;* and even he does not leave the matter in so advanced a state as the admirable article Dry Rot in the supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica. To that lucid and succinct paper we may refer our readers for a satisfactory view of the most interesting experiments and philosophic opinions that had been made public respecting this subject down to 1894 ;
An Inquiry into the Means which have been taken to preserve the British Navy from the earliest to the present Times. By John Knowles, Secretary to the Committee of Surveyors of his Majesty's Navy. 4to.
and proceed to detail the results of some more recent researches which several of the most eminent chemists of the time already speak of as having at length settled the whole question-in other words, led to the discovery of a means of preventing this disease in timber, at once universally applicable, cheap of cost, and unattended with any countervailing disadvantages to the health of man. We shall not be so rash as to pronounce any fixed judgment, while bis majesty's Board of Admiralty see reason to continue their trials of the proposed panacea ; for we can have no doubt that they will speak out as soon as an honest sense of duty to the public will permit them to do so. But we think the progress already made in their cautious line of experiment so considerable, that we shall be doing a service by directing general attention to the business, and stimulating private ship-builders, architects, and proprietors of woodland, to institute experiments of their own in various parts of the country, the results of which, if properly observed and recorded, may be of extreme value not only to themselves but to the community.
At the beginning of this century one writer maintained that fungous plants were the causes of dry rot; another answered him by exhibiting gigantic ravages of dry rot, where there were no fungi whatever; and, not to weary our readers with needless repetitions, botanists and chemists were at length content to acquiesce in old Pliny's doctrine, that this species of disease in timber originates simply in the putrefaction of the vegetable juices of the wood, and may develope itself in the growth of fungi or otherwise, without being either less or more fatal in its effects. Then came great controversies as to these vegetable juices themselves :—some holding, that if the shipwright chipped off all the outer wood or alburnum, in which the juices are far more copious than in the heartwood, the danger would be at least reduced to a trifle ;-while others (of whom Buonaparte approved) were for limiting the felling of timber to the three months of winter proper; -and those who doubted the efficacy of either of these plansbelieving that dry rot begins with the heartwood under one set of circumstances, as infallibly as with the alburnum under another, and that the vegetable juices are by no means entirely out of the trunk or branches either, even in the prime of January-argued in favour each of his own scheme for dealing with the juices in the felled timber ;-one recommending us to attack them by desiccation; a second by dissolution in running water; a third by anti
Among the documents printed by Mr. Kyan is a very distinct report in his favour, drawn up, after a trial of three years, by Sir Robert Sepping: and probably the Buard's attention to the subject has been in some degree interrupted, in consequence of Sir Robert's retirement from the public service, which occurred shortly after his signature was affixed to that certificate.