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It is clear that the acted drama of this country is oo the eve of a great and important change; the decree for its reformation has gone forth, and nothing can now prevent its fulfilment. In the mean time, things have reached their worst. One of our national theatres has closed prematurely, for lack of that support which, had it been deserved, would not have been withheld. The other, after keeping open at the expense of the brains and bodily exertions of one individual (for the benefit of all concerned in it, except that one !)—has fallen into the hands of a foreign adventurer, to be made into a " Cirque Olimpique," a " Salle d'Opera," a "Theatre Francais," or any thing else that may best suit the views of its Entrepreneur; any thing, in fact, except a theatre for the legitimate performance of the legitimate English Drama. On the other hand, the only theatre in London that is of a fitting size for the representation of dramas that depend for their success on their appeal to the intellect rather than the eye, has been opened only to exhibit, to the utmost conceivable du-advantage, the melancholy condition of the greatest actor, and with one or two exceptions, the greatest genius of our day. Kean, while his performances were the highest and noblest intellectual exhibitions that the present generation has had the opportunity of witnessing, was offered to us under circumstances which enabled nine out of ten spectators at best but to guess at their character and quality; and now that they do but at best permit a guess at what they were, they are offered under circumstances which make it impossible to overlook what they are. Finally, the least faulty actor of the day has taken leave of the stage; the most versatile and accomplished one has left it, to seek in a foreign land that patronage of which the state of our theatres affords him no prospect here . his daughter—the only female tragedian of the day—has accompanied him; and the only remaining actor whose pretensions are worthy to be named in connexion with our national drama, is without an engagement, and likely to remain so.
All this is bad enough ; but we cannot merely tolerate but rejoice at it, considering that it all tends to add weight to that load of error and folly which we English never acquire the power of throwing off till it accumulates to a weight that cannot any longer be borne. It is the last feather which breaks the back of the horse; and till that is on the point of being imposed upon us, we English pack-horses walk willingly under the burthen. Until the Duke of Wellington told us we wanted no Reform, we were content to do without one. We could cheer
fully bear the burthens which the corruption of ages had been heaping upon us, but we could not bear to be told that we ought to bear them, or that we had none but wholesome ones to bear. In fact, we are willing to put up with every species of bodily and intellectual degradation, except the lightest of all, the feather—that which comes in the shape of an impertinence. We permitted the managers of our great theatres to charge us a monstrous price for witnessing to what a monstrous extent they could succeed in degrading the national drama behind the curtain, and outraging the public morals before it—(we allude, of course, to the state of the lobbies and upper-boxes—a state incredible to those who are not compelled to witness it); but the impertinence of prosecuting every body who attempted to offer us something better was not to be borne. We rebelled—showed a disposition to take the law into our own hands—and what would otherwise have been the work of years, has been done in a day. A select committee of the House of Commons seldom or never fails in its duty, at least on a question in which party has no concern—and, we repeat, the Reform Bill of our national drama is at hand.
The novelties of the month have been confined to the Haymarket Theatre, and to two insignificant and extravagant pieces, one of which has already disappeared from the bills, and the other will have done so by the time this notice reaches our readers— and the momentary success of both of which depended upon the exertions of the, in every respect, excellent actor for whom they were written — Farren. But when a piece is written for an actor the public are apt to think that they have little concern in it, and to treat it accordingly. And such has been the case with "The Boarder," and "The Wolf and the Lamb." The last-named is a first dramatic attempt, and of a gentleman (a son of Charles Mathews) whose name gives him claims to indulgence at least; otherwise, we should say that his piece is almost as devoid of promise as it is of performance. It consists of the momentary embarrassments into which a bashful man is drawn by being passed off as a model of all that is "gay," in the servants'-hall sense of that term. The truth is, that these futile "first attempts" should be discouraged; otherwise, the renovation of the Drama— though nothing can long impede it—is not so near at hand as we are anxious to believe it. It is the besetting sin of the day in connexion with such matters, that every body who can hold a pen, fancies he can produce a dramatic piece as good as those which he is nightly in the habit of witnessing. A nd, in fact, so he can; it is " as easy as lying;" and it has brought the Drama into such contempt, that those who have even a vestige
of reputation to lose, will risk it in any other department of literature rather than that.
There is no exhibition in London at once so cheap and interesting as the Cosmorama. It consists of eight works; and the principle upon which they are made to resemble in extent, as well as in character, the places they represent, is now, we believe, pretty well known. It is, however, one of the most singular and agreeable of all the modes of rendering science subservient to amusement. Here, for example, in the first view, we have the Mausoleums of Palmyra—and we are seduced for a moment into the belief that some enchantment has placed us in the midst of a silent and ruined city of the dead, and that we are actually trampling upon the dust that was man, some score of centuries ago.
In the next, Constantinople, we have a picture of a different kind. The sevenhilled city has been copied by moonlight, but on the awful night of August 1831, when the whole suburb of Pera was destroyed by fire. If our reader, will refer to a past number of the New Monthly, he will find a vivid account of this event, from a gentleman who was among the sufferers. He will be repaid for the trouble of again perusing it, if he visit the Cosmorama. The extraordinary effect produced by the management of light and shade, in giving to the scene so many varied hues, as the flames may be imagined to rise or fall, and the moon to shine brightly, or be for a moment obscured by the thick smoke that is sent upwards from a thousand houses—of this we can give our readers but a faint idea, it must be seen to be at all understood or enjoyed.
No. 3, is the interior of the Pantheon at Paris, one of the most magnificent buildings in the French capital.
The interior of this edifice is composed of four naves, which lead to the dome, and with a row of round pillars separated from the lateral naves, elevated five steps above the pavement of the principal nave. These round pillars of the Corinthian order, fluted, and about 38 feet high, are 130 in number. These peristyles support an entablature, whose frieze is enriched with festoons, which are surmounted by a balustrade. The ceilings of the nave are remarkable for taste and elegant simplicity. The whole length of the interior of this temple is 282 feet, and the breadth 238; the interior dome is the centre where the four naves end: there is
between them a square space of 62 feet on the side, and whole angles are occupied by four triangular pillars, which now support the dome. These pillars are decorated at their angles by corresponding round pillars to those of the nave. In the interior of the dome, instead of round pillars, are pilasters of the same proportions. These pillars are united together by four arcades, 42 feet wide and 64 high. The interior diameter of the dome, taken from the frieze, is 62 feet. Above the entablature rises, upon an interior stilobate, the peristyle, composed of sixteen Corinthian columns. The dome is composed of three cupolas; in the middle of the first is a circular opening, 29 feet 5 inches in diameter, through which is seen the second cupola, very light, and whose ceiling represents the ascension of St. Genevieve, painted by Gros. The height of the first cupola is 178 feet, and the height of the top at the second cupola, from the level of the pavement, is 209 feet 7 inches.
The fourth view is that of Amsterdam, with its churches and its towers, its dockyards and its storehouses—all giving the idea of a wealthy and powerful city.
The fifth is the village of Interlachen, and the delightful country-houses that environ it, which are rapidly increasing by the settlement of strangers. This beautiful plain, extending more than three miles, is perhaps, of all the countries in Switzerland, that which holds out the greatest inducement for a traveller to make a long stay. The climate is so mild, that in the month of February the meadows are enamelled with flowers.
The three next views are those of the Palace of Versailles, the Park of Versailles, and Mount Etna. The last is seen with all the effect it can derive from the changes of light and shade, to represent the terrible mountain.
We have dwelt at somewhat greater length than usual upon the several works in this Exhibition, because their chief valne and attraction are derived from the circumstances under which they are shown, and which give to the spectator the most complete and perfect idea of what Nature or Art has made the scenes or structures they are designed to represent. We know of no Exhibition in the metropolis so likely to satisfy the visitor that his time and money have been well spent.
Sketches in Italy, No. VII. and VIII. Drawn on Stone, by VV. Linton.
We hare already directed the attention of all lovera of the picturesque, in nature and art, to Mr. Linton's admirable Sketches in Italy. The two part* now under our notice folly justify our anticipations of its complete success; they are the productions of a true artist, who has felt and appreciated the scenes he has copied, and his afforded ns a more accurate and more agreeable idea of the beautiful, in a beautiful land, than we conld have derived from more finished works.
Gallery of the Society of Painters in Water-colours. No. III.
This part contains Southampton, drawn by Copley Fielding, engraved by G. Cooke; Forest Hall Mountains, painted by Dewint, engraved by Kern<>t; and Italy, painted by Harding, engraved by Goodall. Three tine prints; but the promise of variety shonld, we think, have been sustained by the Introduction of one of an historical character.
Characteristic Sketches of Animals. Drawn by Thomas Landseer. Part VIII.
This part concludes the volume—a very beautifnlly-illustratcd and valuable collection of the rarest or most interesting animals. Mr. Laud»eer has acquired the highest reputation in this peculiar department of art—there is a freedom and an accuracy in his designs and etchings that cannot fail to satisfy the most scrupulous Zoologist, while with the public he is sure to be a favourite, from the agreeable manner in which the accompaniments are introduced. The letter preas is by Mr. Barrow; the descriptions are written with considerable talent, and in a very popular form.
England and Wales, from Drawings by J. M. W. Turner, Esq. R. A. No. XIV.
The prints in this number consist of St. Catherine's Hill, near Guildford (with the episode of a fair), Chatham, Margate, and Ashby-de-la-Zouch; they are among the most exquisite productions of Art of which the country can boast. The publication continues to be conducted with great spirit —and, as a national work, we heartily wish it sueee.-*.
PROCEEDINGS OF SOCIETIES.
Mr. Brockedon gave an account of the Pering anchor, preceded by remarks upon the use and general form of the common anchor, which, he said, had scarcely varied during 2000 years, though in its structure some changes had taken place, chiefly from the increased magnitudes now required,— that its bulk, amounting even to five tons for a first-rate, rendered it an instrument of extremely difficult formation, from the thickness of those parts which, in welding, the hammer seldom reached. The old mode of obtaining these large forged masses, was by forming faggots of iron bars, kept together by rings, which, at a welding heat, were cemented by tilt-hammers and other heavy percussive powers; but the force of the blow seldom effectively reached the inner bars. The consequence was, that the stretching of the outer bars exceeding that of the inner, the tenacity of the bars was unequal, and of the mass defective. This difficulty of welding a large mass was increased at the crown of the anchor, where the shank was joined to the arms, where it was thickest, and where the increased quantity put for security increased the difficulty of making it secure, and it was in this part that most of the old anchors broke.
Mr. Pering's first improvements were in the formation of the parts, by flat plates or bars of iron placed edgewise to the line of resistance. By this structure, it is not necessary to the strength of the anchor that the inner plates should be welded together; compared with an anchor fagotted in the
July.—VOL. xxxvi. No. exxxix.
usual way, and rendered completely solid by welding, it is very much stronger; as the flat plates, by successive rolling, become fibrous, and acquire a greatly increased strength over a more crystallised iron. When these flat bars are firmly welded on the outside, the greatest strength is attained in the direction of each part, and every part of Air. Pering's anchor is thus formed of layers of plates placed edgewise to the strain to which it is liable. This is accomplished at the crown, or joining of the shank to the arms, in an admirable manner: the plates at the lower end of the shank are split through their sides and turned, edgewise of the layers, on either side, so as to form the inner part of the arms. The outer is formed likewise of plates turned edgewise, and overlaying the inner part, thus continuing the fibrous course and strongest resistance of the iron through that part of the Pering anchor which had always been the weakest in the old one.
Some improvements in the form have also been made by Mr. Pering, by giving a curve to the arms from the fluke or palm, to the crown, which places the fulcrum nearer the resisting end of the lever, at the moment when its resistance is greatest in raising the anchor. It is difficult to convey an idea of these differences of structure and form without diagrams, which, though exhibited at the Royal Institution, cannot be given here. Many beautiful models in wood and iron were shown by Mr. Brockedon, to illustrate the subject. Mr. Pering's first improvements, chiefly in structure, were patented in 1813, and are now entirely adopted in his Majesty's navy. Last year Mr. Pering patented an improvement in the farm of his anchor, in which, by increasing in the direction of the strain, the depth of the metal, in an anchor of the same weight, he gained strength as he increased the line of resistance. Numerous trials against other anchors, of the same, or greater weight, proved the superior advantages of the Pering anchors.
Several trials have taken place at Plymouth, Portsmouth, and Chatham dockyards, before Commissioners Fanshawe, Grey, Barlow, and Ross. The first, April 1813, of 24 cwt., it broke a 24 cwt., 29cwt., and 35 cwt. At Chatham, 11th April, 1815, against one of 25 cwt.; Portsmouth, in May 1816, 48 cwt.; at Plymouth, 1831, of 53 cwt. In the last, the trial was made against a hollow-shanked anchor of Mr. Rogers; the two anchors opposed bore great power. The mode of trial was by placing the toes or points of the flukes against two large bollards firmly propped; two three-fold blocks were then lashed and reeved to the ring of each anchor by a nine-inch hawser; the standing parts of each were carried to two capstans, one on either side, which capstans were manned by one hundred men to each; on the two first heaves, the two toes or points of the arms of the hollow-shanked anchor gave way; on the two last heavings, the two arms of Mr. Rogers' anchor gave way in three places, the whole of which was sustained on one arm only of Mr. Pering's. The strain was so great that it brought the hundred men at each capstan to a standstill, and may be calculated at about 350 tons dead weight.
The cost of anchors for the public service is immense: to supply the navy once only, requires a sum above 500,0001. Each first-rate anchor employs twenty men forty days; forty per cent, of metal is wasted in the forging; and the cost of such an anchor is 400i.
It is difficult to imagine any improvement of which the anchor is now capable; the experience of ages has proved its general form to be the best. The enormous sire of modern anchors presents great difficulties in their manufacture; for a first-rate, weighing 2,600 tons afloat, requires, not merely strength enough in the anchor to prevent its drifting, but to oppose the enormous momentum of such a bulk in motion, produced by the pressure of the wind on her rigging and the sea on her bows, and forming an aggregate of power to be restrained, which the mind can scarcely conceive. The old mode of structure, now so clearly proved to be defective, has been superseded; and the Pering anchor leaves nothing that is
obviously imperfect to correct. Mr. Brockedon closed nis remarks by oliserving, that when the immense importance of this instrument is considered, the improvements made by Mr. Pering in its form, and most especially in its structure, must be to him a source of honourable pride and gratification, and to his country (the greatest as a maritime power) one of the most important benefits ever conferred for the preservation of life and property. Many valuable additions have been made to our means of production in manufacture—new wants have been created by the facility of gratifying them, in calling to our aid new mechanical combinations from our powerful resources; but, however ingenious these may be, however they may raise the character of this country for skill, and increase the capital of our manufacturers, they sink in interest when compared with the anchor. The steamengine, with all its wonders, was not essential to the maritime intercourse of nations; but the anchor is indispensable, and without it the steam-engine itself would be comparatively worthless, since the excess of its productions would soon destroy its utility if these were limited in their use to the country which produced them.
SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS.
Mr. Macneill's paper, on the subject of the Stowe Valley improvement on the Holyhead Road, was read, in which the comparative advantages of four different methods, with regard to original outlay and ultimate benefit to the public, were fully discussed. The subject ot " The comparative advantages of iron and wood, as materials for the construction of boats and other vessels," was entered into at some length, and somo particulars given of various iron boats which are in present use on the Forth and Clyde, the Ardrossan, and other canals. Several, which were constructed of plate-iron, were stated to have been employed for 15 or 18 years on the Oxford Canal, and are much approved of by the proprietors. These boats weigh from seven to eight tons each, the total length is 70 feet, width 7 feet, sides .' inch, and bottom f inch in thickness; they are capable of carrying a burthen of 30 tons, but usually loaded with from 22 to 24 tons. They are more expensive than timber boats in the proportion of 120/. to 90/. but superior in point of durability.
Some allusion was incidentally made to the present imperfect condition of the London street pavement in several situations, and an opinion expressed in favour of having the stones considerably narrower on the top; if limited to a breadth not exceeding five inches, it would probably be the means of preventing the accidents arising from the slipping of horses' feet, and supersede the necessity of having the stones grooved on the surface, an expensive operation which has been resorted to on Holborn Hill, and other places, for this very purpose.
A full account of a steel suspension bridge across the Danube at Vienna, was communicated by Mr. Hawkins; all the steel used in this bridge was manufactured immediately from decarbonated cast-iron, in Styria, one of the German states. The span is 234 feet English, and the versed sine or depression of the chain in the middle, 15 feet M. Ignace Von Mitis, by whom this bridge was constructed, calculates the total weight of steel at less than half the weight of iron which would be necessary, or that a steel bridge of half the weight of an iron one, would be the stronger of the two; and according to experiments made in this country, the cohesive power of caststeel was found to be more than double that of malleable iron. With regard to the comparative merits of iron and steel bridges as applicable to this country, it was thought the small cost of production in Germany, on account of the advantage they possess in the use of wood charcoal for the manufacture of both iron and steel, rendered the adoption of steel bridges more advisable in that country than in England, where the price of material, as well as working the steel, is comparatively so much higher.
ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY.
At a recent sitting of the Royal Geographical Society, a letter from Dr. Richardson was read, calling attention to the probable condition of Captain Ross and his little party, and submitting to its consideration a project to relieve them, if living and to be found. It was worthy of one who had himself undergone the penalty of suffering in these unprofitable regions. At the sitting of the same society on the 14th inst. it was announced that since the above letter, Dr. Richardson had made application to the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Hay, on the same subject, and had himself offered to conduct a small exploring party. The proposal had been favourably received; but from the political condition of the country at this monient, it was not likely to be adopted at present. The answer, however, leads us to hope that it will not be long before the generous offer of Dr. Richardson will be accepted; and if any one be especially qualified to conduct such an expedition with good hopes of success, he is the man. We believe it is proposed by Dr. Richardson to proceed from Hudson's Bay into the interior, in a N. W. direction, to Coronation Gulf, where he will commence his search in an easterly direction. Passing to the north, along the eastern side of this gulf, he would soon arrive at Point Turnagain, the eastern
point of his own former discovery. It is about this spot, in our own opinion, that he would be most likely to obtain some information from the Esquimaux respecting the Victory, the small steam vessel which Captain Ross commanded, from its position with respect to Prince Regent's Inlet, down which the Captain would pass. Having reached this part, Dr. Richardson would continue his route to the eastward, and penetrate as far as Melville Peninsula, adding to geographical discovery in his way; and here again, it is probable, he might hear of Captain Ross from the Esquimaux. By this route our Map of North America would be completed in a part which yet remains blank, and a continued coast would be laid down from the Straits of the Fury and Hecla, to Point Beechey, leaving the small tract of land between Sir John Franklin's discovery and that of the Blossom, alone unexplored. These, however, are minor considerations, when compared to the principal object of the expedition; and we have only heartily to wish success to the enterprise, convinced that, unless Captain Ross has actually passed through Behring's Strait, we shall thus only obtain authentic intelligence of him. It may not be generally remembered, however, that nearly three years have elapsed since Captain Ross and the companions of his hazardous enterprise set out, having sailed from Lochryau on the 13th June, 1829.
CHE8TERFIELO LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
The following passage is from a recent publication, comprising two lectures on circulation, respiration, and mode of nutrition in plants ana animals, delivered before the Chesterfield Literary and Philosophical Society, by W. H. Robertson, M.D. "The quantity of water which the sap gives off, during its passage through the leaves, is greater than any previous idea could, by possibility, have led us to conceive. It, however, varies much, according to the dryness or moisture of the atmosphere; the transpiration being much more considerable in hot and dry than in cold and moist weather. Hales found that the common sunflower exhaled no less, on an average, than about twenty ounces during the twelve hours of day. You must all have seen, when you have risen early in the morning from the sleep-inviting couch, when you have early left the hot and confined bedroom, charged with the air which your own lungs had deteriorated, and gone to greet the glorious orb of day mounting the eastern horizon—yes, on such an occasion, you must all have noticed the glittering drops shining with a brilliancy which the eye can scarcely look at, and refracting the sun's