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OBSERVATIONS on the PRACTICE of ARCHERY in ENG. LAND. By the Honourable DAINES BARRINGTON.
[From the Seventh Volume of the Archæologia. ]
S fome of our moft fignal
A ries were chiefly attributed to the Englith archers, it may not be uninteresting to the Society if I lay before them what I have been able to glean with regard to the more flourishing state of our bowmen, till their prefent almost annihilation.
This fraternity is to this day called the artillery company, which is a French term fignifying archery, as the king's bowyer is in that language ftyled artillier du roy, and we feem to have learnt this method of annoying the enemy from that nation, at least with a cross-bow.
"We therefore find that William the Conqueror had a confiderable number of bowmen in his army at the battle of Haftings, when no mention is made of fuch troops on the fide of Harold. I have upon this occafion made ufe of the term bowmen, though I rather conceive that thefe Norman archers fhot with the arbaleft (or cross-bow), in which formerly the arrow was placed in a groove, being termed in French a quadrel, and in English a bolt.
"Though I have taken fome pains to find out when the fhooting with the long-bow firft began with us, at which exercise we afterwards became fo expert, I profefs that I cannot meet with any pofitive proofs, and must therefore ftate fuch grounds for conjecture as have occurred.
"Our chroniclers do not mention the use of archery as expretly applied to the crofs, or long-bow, till the death of Richard the Firit,
who was killed by an arrow at the
"After this death of Richard the First in 1199, I have not happened to ftumble upon any paffages alluding to archery for nearly one hundred and fifty years, when an order was iffued by Edward the Third, in the fifteenth year of his reign, to the fherives of most of the English counties for providing five hundred white bows, and five hundred bundles of arrows, for the then intended war against France.
Similar orders are repeated in the following years, with this dif ference only, that the fheriff of Gloucestershire is directed to furnish five hundred painted bows, as well as the faine number of white.
"The famous battle of Creffy was fought four years afterwards, in which our chroniclers ftate that we had two thousand archers, who were oppofed to about the fame number of the French, together with a circumftance, which feems to prove, that by this time we used the long-bow, whilft the French archers fhot with the arbaleft.
"Previously to this engagement, fell a very heavy rain, which is faid to have much damaged the bows of the French, or perhaps rather the ftrings of them. Now our longbow (when unftrung) may be most conveniently covered, fo as to pre vent the rain's injuring it; nor is there fearcely any addition to the M 4 weight
ter in the upper regions. This, perhaps, is the caufe, why the air is fo clear and transparent in warm climates.
"By making fome obfervations on the falling of rain, we fhall have other proofs, that the electric mat ter is the great caufe by which vapour is fupported in the atmosphere. Here I muft obferve a fact, well known to all prefent, that bodies electrified, by the fame electric power (no matter whether pofitive or negative) repel each other; and, when electrified by the different powers, that is, the one plus and the other minus, attract each other: on coming into contact, an equilibrium is restored, and neither of them will fhew any figns of electricity.
From this it follows: if two clouds are electrified by the fame power, they will repel each other, and the vapour be fufpended in both; but, when one is pofitive and the other negative, they will attract each other, and restore an equilibrium. The electric power, by which the vapour was fufpended, being now destroyed by the mutual action of the clouds on each other, the particles of water will have an opportunity of running together into each other, and, as they augment in fize, will gain a greater degree of gravity, defcending in fmall rain, or a heavy fhower, according to circumstances.
"A cloud, highly electrified, paffing over a high building or mountain, may be attracted by, and be deprived of its electricity, with out or with a violent explosion of thunder. If the cloud is electrified plus, the fire will defcend from the cloud to the mountain; but, if it be electrified minus, the fire will afçend from the mountain to the cloud. In both cafes, the effect is
"It often happens, that one clap of thunder is not fufficient to produce rain from a cloud, nor even a fecond: in fhort, the claps must be repeated, till an equilibrium is reftored, and then the rain must, of confequence, fall. Sometimes we may have violent thunder and lightning without rain, and the black appearance of the heavens may be changed to a clear tranfparent iky, especially in warm weather. To account for this, it must be remembered, as I lately faid, that one or more claps of thunder are not always fufficient to produce rain from the clouds: fo, if an equilibrium be not restored, little or no rain will fall, and in a short time the electric matter, paffing from the earth to the clouds, or the fuperabundant quantity in the air, will electrify those black clouds, by which means the particles of vapour will be expanded, raised higher, and the air become clear. Clouds may be melted away, even when we are looking at them, by another caufe, that is, by the heat of the fun. We know, that tranfparent bodies are not heated by the fun, but opaque ones are; the clouds being opaque bodies, are warmed by the rays of the fun thining on them, and any additional quantity of heat will rarify the vapour, and occafion its expanding in
the air, which will foon become tranfparent. When vapour is made to expand more than it would otherwise do, a certain quantity of abfolute heat is neceflary to keep it in the form of vapour; therefore, when the receiver of an air-pump is exhaufting, it appears muddy, and a number of drops are found within it; the moisture contained in the air, in the form of vapour, being made to occupy a greater fpace than what is natural to it, and receiving no addition of heat, a part of it is condensed.
"If, therefore, the air is fuddenly rarified, a few drops of rain will defcend, as may often be obferved in the fummer season.
"I have repeatedly obferved, efpecially during the fummer, when the wind is at north-eaft, that the weather is, in general, cold and dry, with clear atmosphere. Should the wind fuddenly change to fouth-west, in a few hours, black clouds begin to gather, vegetables look fickly, and droop their leaves; and, foon after, comes on a violent ftorm of thunder, with heavy rain.
"This change, I imagine, is not fo much owing to the fouth-weft wind bringing rain, as to the atmofphere's being changed from an electric ftate, capable of fufpending vapour, to a ftate of parting with its moisture. As foon as the ftorm is going off, vegetables revive from their languid ftate, and the air recovers its usual afpect. From this we may conclude, that no inftrument can be made to afcertain the quantity of moisture in the air: all that is, or ought to be expected from a hygrometer, is to fhew, whether the air be in a state to retain or part with its moisture. In apparent dry weather it may point to rain; and when it rains, it may
point to fair. For this reason, the ftones of halls, and fmooth fubftances, are often bedewed with wet, in dry warm weather (that is, the air is in a state to part with its moiture), and, vite verfa, they will dry in the time of rain.
Left this paper fhould exceed the common limits of time in reading, I fhall pafs over thofe obfervations, which might be made on fogs or mifts; a few excepted, which I fhall here fubjoin.
"Fogs are produced by two caufes as different as their effects are oppofite. A fog may be produced by a precipitation of rain, in very fmall particles, like a cloud floating on the furface of the earth. In this cafe the air is moist and damp, and never fails to wet a traveller's cloaths; the ftones of the street, painted doors, and hard, cool, Imooth bodies, are generally covered with moisture, which often runs in large drops: this, I dare fay, has been obferved by every perfon. Secondly, a fog may be produced by the abforption of moisture, when the air is too dry, and differs from the other juft defcribed; for it will not impart any of its moisture even to dry bodies; no damp is to be met with on ftones, polifhed marble, &c. This fact is well known to the inhabitants on the fea-coast of Fifefhire, who, during their fummer months, have frequent opportunities of obferving a fog in the afternoon, driving up the Firth of Forth, with a drying eaft wind, which of ten blafts the trees and young vegetables, and, therefore, in a small degree, refembles the Harmattan in drying up the ground, and robbing vegetables of their moisture.
"I fhall now conclude with a fhort fummary of the whole.
"1. That heat is the great caufe,
ON THE ORIGIN OF ALPHABETICAL CHARACTERS. By GILBERT WAKEFIELD, B. A.
[From the Memoirs of the Literary and Philofophical Society at Manchester.]
T this period of time, when the human mind has acquired fo much honour by the introduction of fuch aftonishing improvements into the various departments of philofophy and fcience, beyond the example of former ages; thofe fpeculations, which tend to aggrandize the dignity of reafon, are received with avidity, and admitted with a readier acquiefcence. We are apt to conclude, that the fame ingenuity and strength of faculties, which have been able to investigate the fublime laws of the planetary fyftem, to adjust the tides, to difentangle the rays of light, to detect the electric fluid, and to extend their refearches into the remoteft regions of mathematic science, must be adequate to any attainments and difcoveries whatfoever. Nor has any difputable topic of enquiry been accepted more implicitly of late, even by men ac customed to hefitate and to examine, than the gradual difcovery of alphabetical characters by the fucceffive exertions and accumulated experience of mankind. To call in question a maxim fo generally be lieved, may appear, in the judgment of philofophers, to favour of fuperftition and credulity: but, perhaps, it will be found, that the evi
dence in favour of this maxim, bears no proportion to the confidence with which it is embraced. As a man, I rejoice in whatever is honourable to our nature: but various fcruples have ever forbidden my affent to this popular article of belief. I will state my objections to it in a plain and popular manner with all poffible perfpicuity and concifenefs; and then fubmit the determination of this question to the judgement and candour of this audience.
"I. The five first books of the Old Teftament, are, I believe, acknowledged by all to be, not only the most ancient compofitions, but alfo the most early fpecimens of alphabetical writing at prefent existing in the world. Now, if alphabetical writing be indeed the refult of human ingenuity, one great peculiarity diftinguishes it from all other human inventions whatfoever: the very firft effort brought it to perfection. All the fagacity and experience of fucceeding generations, illuftrated as they have been by a vaft influx of additional knowledge, beyond the most accomplished of their predeceffors, have been unable to fuperinduce any real improvement upon the Hebrew alphabet. This feems to me a fingularity