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The Fear of tiring you, GENTLEMEN, has made me pass over å great Number of little Circumstances, which, tho' easy to fuppose, are not so soon executed; the Necessity of which appears by a View of the Machine, as I found it in the Practice.
Gentlemen, after having drawn from your Memoirs the Principles which have guided me, I shall think your Approbation the most glorious Reward of my Labour, and shall have Encouragement to perfue Hopes yet more flattering.
April 30, 1738. N. S.
Marble Faune of Coysevaux) that plays on the German-Flute, on which it performs twelve different Tunes, with an Exactness which has desery'd the Admiration of the Publick, and of which great Part of the Academy has been Witness: they have judg'd this Machine to be extremely inga nious, and that the Author of it has found the Means of employing new and simple Contrivances, as well for giving the Fingers of that Figure the necessary Motions, as for modifying the Wind which goes into the Flute by encreasing or diminishing its Velocity, according to the different Notes; by varying the Pofition of the Lips, and moving a Valve which performs the Office of the Tongue; and lastly, by imitating by Art all that is necessary for a Man to perform in such a Case; which shew's the Author's skill and great Knowledge in the different Parts of Mechanicks.
FONTENELLE, Perpetual Secretary
of the Royal Academy of Sciences.
Mr Vaucanson's Letter to the Abbe De Fontaine, con
cerning his Duck, and Figure playing on the Tabor and
fent the Mechanism of the Intestines employed in the Operations of Eating, Drinking, and Digeftion; and in which the Working of all the Parts necessary for those Actions is exactly imitated,
The Duck stretches out its Neck to take Corn out of your Hand ; it swallows it, digests it, and discharges it digested by the usual Passage. You see all the Actions of a Duck that swallows grecdily, and doubles the Swiftness in the Motion of its Neck, and Throat, or Gullet, to drive the Food into its Stomach, copied from Nature: The Food is digested as in real Animals, by Diffolution, not Trituration, as some natural Philosophers will have it. But this I shall treat of, and shew, upon another Occasion.'
The Matter digested in the Stomach is conducted by Pipes (as in an Animal by the Guts) quite to the Anus, where there is a Sphinctes that lets it out.
I don't pretend to give this as a perfect Digestion, capable of producing Blood and nutritive Particles for the Support of the Animal. I hope no body will be so unkind as to upbraid me with pretending to
iny such thing. I only pretend to imitate the Mechanism of that Action in three Things, viz. firs, to swallow the Coru ; secondly, to macerate or diffolve it ; thirdly, to make it come out sensibly changed from what it was.
Nevertheless, it was no easy Matter to find Means for those three Actions, and those Means may, perhaps, deserve some Attention from those that may expect more. They will see what Contrivances have been made use of to make this artificial Duck take up the Corn, and fuck it up quite to its Stomach ; and there in a little Space to make a Chymical Elaboratory to decompound or separate the integrant Parts of the Food, and then drive it away at Pleasure thro' Circumvolutions of Pipes, which discharge it at the other End of the Body of the Duck.
I don't believe the Anatomifts can find any thing wanting in the Conftruction of its Wings. Not only every Bone has been imitated, but all the Apophyses or Eminences of each Bone. They are regularly obferved as well as the different Joints: The Bending, the Cavities, and the three Bones of the Wing are very distinct; the firs, which is the Humerus, has its Motion of Rotation every way with the Bone that performs the Office of the Omoplat, Scapula or Shoulder-Blade > the second Bone, which is the Cubitus of the Wing, has its Motion with the Humerus by a Joint which the Anatomifts call Ginglymus; the tbird, which is the Radius, turns in a Cavity of the Humerus, and is faften'd by its other Ends to the little End of the Wing, just as in the Animal. The Inspection of the Machine will better thew that Nature has been juftly imitated, than a longer Detail, which would only be an anatomical Description of a Wing.To Thew, that the Contrivances for moving these Wings are nothing like what is made use of in those wonderful Pieces of Art of the Cock mov’d by the Clock at Lyons, and that at Strasburgh, the whole Mechanism of our artificial Duck is exposed to View ; my Design being rather to demonstrate the Manner of the Actions, than to thew a Machine. Perhaps fome Ladies, or some people, who only like the outside of Animals, had rather have seen the whole cover'd ; that is, the Duck with Feathers. . But besides, that I have been desired to make every Thing visible; I would not be thought to impose upon the Spectators by any conceald or juggling Contrivance.
I believe, that Persons of Skill and Attention will see how difficult it has been to make so many different moving Parts in this small Automaton ; as for Example, to make it rise upon its Legs, and throw its Neck to the Right and Left. They will find the different Changes of the Fulcrum's or Centers of Motion : They will also see that what Sometimes is a Center of Motion for a moveable Part, another Time becomes moveable on that Part, which Part then becomes fix'd. In a Word, they will be sensible of a prodigious Number of Mechanical Combinations.
This Machine, when once wound up, performs all its different Open rations without being touch'd any more.
I forgot to tell you, that the Duck drinks, plays in the Water with his Bill, and makes a guggling Noise like a real living Duck. In short, I have endeavour'd to make it imitate all the Actions of a living Animal, which I have confider'd very attentively,
On the Tabor and Pipe-Figure.
Tabor and Pipe, which stands upright on its Pedestal, dress'd like a dancing Shepherd." This plays twenty Tunes, Minuets, Rigadoons, and Country-dances.
One would at firft imagine, that the Difficulty in making of this was less than in the Figure playing on the German-Flute. But, without making a Comparison between the two Machines, to praise one more than the other, I would have it observ'd, that here an Instrument is play'd upon, which is very cross-grain'd and falfe in itself; that I have been forced to articulate Sound by Means of a Pipe of three Holes only, where all the Tones must be performed by a greater or less Force of the Wind, and half ftopping of Holes to pinch the Notes: That I have been obliged to give the different Winds, with a Swiftness which the Ear can hardly follow ; and that every Note, even Semi-Quavers, must be tongued, without which, the Sound of this Instrument is not at all agreeable. In this the Figure out docs all our Performers on the TaberPipe, who cannot move their Tongue fast enough to go thro' a whole Bar of Semi-Quavers, and strike them all. On the contrary, they sur above half of them; but my Piper plays a whole Tune, and tongues every Nore. What a Combination of Winds have I been obliged to make for that Purpose ! In carrying on my Work, I have made Dif. coveries of Things which could never have been so much as guess'd at. Could it have been thought, that this little Pipe should, of all the Wind. Inftruments, be one of the most fatiguing to the Lungs? For, in the playing upon it, the Performer mult often strain the Muscles of his Breaft with a Force equivaleat to a Weight of 56 Pounds: For I am obliged to use that Force of Wind; that is, a Wind driven by that Force or Weight, to found the upper B, which is the highest Tone to which this inftrument reaches : Whereas one Ounce only is sufficient to found the first Note, or produce the lowest Tone, which is an E. Hence will appear,
different Blafts of Wind I must have had to run thro’the whole Compass of the Tabar-Pipe.
Moreover, as the different Positions of the Fingers are so few, some would be ape to think, that no more different Winds would be necessary than the Number of Notes on the Instrument; but the Fact is other. wife: That Wind, for Example, which is able to produce the Note D following a C, will never produce it, if the fame D is to be founded Dext to the E just above it; and the same is to be understood of all the other Nores. So that upon Computation it will appear, that I muit have twice as many different Winds, as there are Tones, besides the Semi-rones, for each of which a particular Wind is absolutely necessary. I own freely, that I am surpriz'd myself to see and hear my Automator play, and perform so many and so differently varied Combinations: And I have been more than once ready to despair of succeeding; but Resolution and Pacience overcame every Thing.
Yet this is not all : This Pipe employs but one Hand; the Figure holds a Stick in the other, with which he strikes on the Tabor single and double Strokes, Rollings varied for all the Tunes; and keeping Time
with what is play'd with the Pipe in the other Hand. This Motion is none of the easiest in the Machine ; for sometimes we must strike harder, sometimes quicker, and the Stroke must always be clean and smart, to make the Tabor found right. The Mechanism for this confifts in an infinite Combination of Levers, and different Springs, all moved with Exactness to keep true to the Tune : But these would be too tedious to give a particular Account of. In a Word, this Figure in its Contrivance is something like that which plays on the German-Flute; but differs from it in many of the Means of its Operations,
Observations on Mr WARBURTON's Sermon at Bath. A
Late very extraordinary Writer, who has for some Time enter
tain'd himself and his Readers in every Shape, and upon every Subjeet, has at length thought fit to appear under the Character of a Christian Divine, to recommend and enforce the Obligations of Charity, in a noble and generous Instance of it, the Hospital at Bath.
In this work, he has shewn great Ingenuity and Zeal; and has press'd the particular Duty from fome very proper Motives and Considerations of Juffice and Kindness. I wish he had not added (page 21.) that of Gratitude; because, tho' he might intend it well, it will not be found, upon due Examination, to be a real Foundation for this Sort of Charity : as the lower Part of Mankind will not be supposed to exert their Industry in the Supplies of their own Necessities and our Conveniences from any uncommon Motives of Good-will towards those on whom they depend. I very much doubt too, whether the ingenious Foundation of Justice and civil Property, which this fuperior Writer has contrived (P.18.) to deduce from the uncultivated Bounty of the Creator, will hold. It was a Thought out of the Way and new, which would look great and uncommon. The following Observation too, that common and medicinal Things are, therefore, unappropriate and free, is only furprising and new, not true and juft: For, surely, Property is the same in ufeful and uselefs Things ; only their little Use or common Plenty makes them of small Value in the Account of Property, however excellent and beneficial they may otherwise be ; which shews, indeed, the Wisdom and Goodness of Providence, but not the Nature of Property. This, therefore, I take to be only a bold Whim of this wonderful Wri. ter. Perhaps these Invencions were well design'd to serve as Motives of Charity to some of his Hearers, who might be pleased and affected with such new and curious Fancies; and they are mixed with very good and useful ones, such particularly as that of the greater Merit of the debilitated Poor (p. 20.) iban of the distemper'd Rich.
But these Mistakes or Affectations are not of much Consequence. The main Design and professed Opinion of this Performance is what gives Offence to every good Man, and to all such Christians as have the Truth and Excellency of their Religion at Heart-When a Man, under the Character of a Christian Divine, in great Superiority of Learning and Skill, pretends to lay down important Principles of Religion, which affect the Ground and Foundation of all moral Virtue,' tend to condemna the Practice of Reason in all Ages, and to confound the Judgment and Zeal of the best Christians; it is Time to take Notice of such a Writer, and not to suffer the magifterial Dictates of Sophiftry and affected or thodoxy to impose.
This Reverend Divine takes his Text in the 5th Chapter of Matthezo and the 16th Verse, Let your Light so foine before Men, that they may see your good Works and glorify your Fatber which is in Heaven; and then very gravely and roundly introduces his Subject by observing, that our Saviour bad in the foregoing Chapter delivered to bis Followers the great Principles of the Gospel Dispensation, about the Unity of God, tbe loft and more tal Condition of Adam, bis Redemption and Restoration to Life and Inmortality by Faith in the Messiah. Now I must declare, that I have carefully read over this fame foregoing Chapter, and what goes before the Text in the 5th, and find not one Word about these Principles and Doctrines; nor any Thing but the Recommendation of christian Virtues; and tho' this ingenious Divine adds, that having thus taught them what they were to believe, He proceeds, &c. I do not observe, that our Saviour lays any thing about believing, or uses any Art of learned Disposition, as our Author calls it, but the plain Words of common Sense and Reason, to direct and persuade to the Practice of moral Virtues.
But these bold Affertions and false Representations are not made from mere Superiority or wanton Affectation of Novelty; as a Reader only acquainted with the Temper and Character of our Author might easily fancy: They are designed to introduce and support a new Meaning to 'the Word Light in the Text; which is, it seems to mean Knowledge ; altho' this was never before thought to be the Sense: Nor, indeed, in the Nature of Things, can Men's Principles be seen by their Actions. Their Integrity, Virtue and Honesty may indeed appear from their general Conduct and Behaviour; and thus they may be known by their Fruits; a good or corrupt Heart being plainly indicated by honeft or dishonest Adtions: But how to find out what a Man believes or knows, by what he does, is pretty hard to conceive. The Light that good Men afford to the World was always understood to be their good Works and Example, whereby only they can glorify God; not by any Speculations or profess'd Principles.
But the great Point of all which our Author has aim'd at, and for the Sake of which all these ingenious Contrivances have been invented, was the fine Comparison of bis cbriftian good Works with those of any ancient or modern Philosophy: They are such, it seems (P. 11:) as from cobence Glory to God might result; or, as he afterwards explains them at large, such as Chriitians acknowledge to be the Agency of God in them.
This, indeed, looks so gross and absurd, that it will require fomo Evidence from the Words of this extraordinary Author. Thus he says (p. 12.) that of our selees, and without the Aliftance of Heaven, we can do no good Works, not meaning the neceflary Dependence of the Creawre on God for all its Capacities ; for then it would have served as well for bad Works. God, therefore, says he (ibid.) being the immediate Gio. ver of this Grace ; or, as he might as well have said, the Performer of these good Works (for no otherwise can eur good Actions be the