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"As the politics of this period were complicated and mysterious, it will be necessary, in order to form an idea of them, to delineate the characters of the different parties who laid claim to the direction of state affairs. They consisted of three different factions. The first, highly respectable as to rank and fortune, poffefsed of a considerable share of parliamentary interest, and the greatest fway with the monied people, was composed of those who had grown into place and power under the old ministry. Their adulation, and courtly complaisance, had likewise rendered them greatly respected by the king; but in some very material points their weakness was conspicuous; they were deficient in popularity, and their political abilities were but indifferent.-The second faction, though superior in point of abilities, was poflessed of less parliamentary interest, and much more unpopular than the first. They derived their power from their influence at one court *, by means of a then powerful connection ; but which only tended to make them less respected with the other court, and even added to their unpopularity.--The third party had little influence in parliament, and less at court; but they possessed, in the highest degree, the confidence and support of the people. The shining abilities of their leader, and his steady adherence to an upright, disinterested conduct, claimed veneration, even from his opponents.—These factions differed extremely in the general scheme of politics. The two first agreed in opinion, that the increasing power of France was much to be dreaded ; that it was absolutely necessary to maintain a balance of power; and that this was to be done chiefly, by keeping up a close connection with the powers of the continent, by espousing their quarrels, and even assisting them with troops if required. This furnished an argument for a standing army ; and though they thought the navy should by no means be ne. glected, yet it only ought to be employed in subferviency to the continental system. In their opinions of constitutional liberty they were likewise singular. Though they pretended to be ftaunch friends to the liberties of the people, yet, as government must be supported, they looked upon it as justifiable to secure a majority in Parliament, by creating many lucrative places and em
Can any thing be more ridiculous than this air of myfterious fecrecy in a work evidently calculated for the young and ignorant only? How many, among such readers, will be puzzled to discover who were the principal persons meant to be included in each of these factions,--which would have been entirely cleared up by naming, as is usual, the parties from their leaders-Newcaitle, Bure, and Pitt. Or could any harm have arisen from mentioning, in plain terms, the court of the Prince of Wales,--although an apology would perhaps have been unnecessary for applying the term court in this initance. 14
playments ployments at the disposal of the crown; alleging, as a palliation of this mode of ruling, that the particular form of our government, and the general depravity of mankind, rendered any other less exceptionable method impracticable.
• The third, and popular party, was actuated by principles of a different nature. They viewed, indeed, the increasing power of France, in the same light with the two former, and acquiesced in the necesity of setting bounds to it; but they differed widely in the means to be used for that purpose. They were for making the military operations of Great Britain entirely subservient to our naval strength, as a more natural, safer, and less expensive plan of politics. Our situation as an island, raid they, points out to us a conduct different from that of other nations. The sea is our natural element, and to quit that, and involve ourselves in continental quarre's, is acting diametrically opposite to our real interests. The fuperiority of France lies entirely on the continent, and the attacking her on that side would be evidently dangerous, and like to use a strong, though vulgar expression) taking a bull by the horn. Our government, they said, stood in no need of fupport from a standing army, which was ever dangerous to freedom; and that a well trained militia would prove our beit protection against an invasion. From a higher notion of human nature, they judged it possible to influence the minds of men by nobler motives than that of interefl. A minister who governs uprightly, will never be opposed by the people.'
Our Author seems really, and honestly, to think that Mr. Pitt was in very deed what he pretended to be, and to believe, in good earnest, that the British Parliament were actually fiucere and unanimous in the character they all agreed to give of that great man after his death. If so, Mr. R. is certainly ill qualified to develope the intrigues of the cabinet. The ministry, before Mr. Pitt's adminiftration, were weak enough, in truth; but we never heard that they were so exceedingly weak, as to avow the principles we have distinguished by italics, although there is no doubt that both they, and Mr. Pitt, and every administration since, and before them, for half a century past, have privately adopted those principles, and pursued that mode of conduct. Mr. Pitt had abilities sufficient to persuade the nation, at large, that his opponents were acluated by motives which their own imbecility hardly enabled them to discover, and co make them believe, that he alone was posfiffed of some excellent qualities, to which no other politician could, with justice, lay claim. A well-informed historian would do justice to his abilities--although he would often find occafion to condemn him in other respects.-But the time is not, perhaps, yet come, for an impartial history of that period.
Mr. Ramsay is the avowed panegyrist of Mr. Pitt, and of every other person who had the good fortune to obtain popular fame during the war. Observe in what manner he apologizes for Mr. Piti's adopting continental measures after he assumed the reins of administration :
· The unpopular party, however, was not entirely excluded from a share in the administration. Their influence in the Privy Council, and credit in the House of Commons, were fill great, and sufficient to thwart every measure in which they did not partake. A coalition of parties therefore took place from necessity. - It was now proposed to gratify our King, with allifting our allies on the continent, in the manner most agreeable to our insular situation, which is by making diversions with our fleets; and it was also agreed that we should aid them with such land force and money as our strength and finances would admiti'
Mr Ramsay here thinks it necessary to make an apology for his hero, that he did not judge necessary for himself, as he afterwards claimed the sole honour of having conquered America in Germany.
This compendium would have been more useful, if the Author had taken care to insert, in the margin, the precise dates of the several occurrences that are mentioned in the text; for want of which the Reader is often at a loss, in regard to the order of time and the succession of events.
With respect to the copper-plates mentioned in the title-page, for ' elegant, read execrable.
Art. V. A Discourse on the Theory of Gunnery. Delivered at the
Anniversary Meeting of the Royal Society, Nov. 30th, 1778.
from its truly ingenious and learned Author, was delivered on presenting Sir Godfrey Copley's gold medal to Mr. Cha, Hutton of the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, for his paper, entitled, “ The Force of fired Gunpowder, and the initial Velocities of Cannon-Balls, determined from Experiments.”
After premising a short account of some of the principal miz litary engines, used by the ancients before the discovery of gunpowder, and the invention of guns, the President proceeds to give a concise account of the principal improvements which have been made, from time to time, in the theory and practice of gunnery. From which it appears that Nicholas Tartaglia, who lived about the beginning of the sixteenth century, was the first who maintained that no part of the path of a cannon ball is a straight line. It does not, however, appear that Tartaglia made any attempts towards determining what the true path was. There is indeed, reason to suppose that he had deviated fufficiently from the opinions of his contemporaries in denying that it was a straight line, obvious as it may appear at this day, and which is more to be wondered at, as every operation in nature, where projectile motion is concerned, must have tended to convince them of it. But, as Sir John observes, one would imagine, from numerous instances, that men of science were fo far from making experiments themselves in those days, that they even shut their eyes against what chance would otherwise have presented to their right.
To investigate the path which a projectile actually describes in a non-refilting medium was reserved for Galileo, the inventor of the telescope, and the morning. itar of the seventeenth century; which afterwards produced those glorious luminaries of science Hork, Huygens, Halley, and Newton. After the demonftrations of Galileo, every one seems to have rested fatisfied that the theory of gunnery was complete, and that nothing remained to be done for it but to reduce the theory to practice, until Newton, in 1687, published his Principia, wherein he demonstrates that the refiftance of the air is great enough to make the difference between the curve of projection of heavy bodies, and that of a parabola, very sensible, and therefore too considerable to be neglected. Soon after, namely, in 1690, M. Huygens demonstrated the same thing. No notice, however, appears to bave been taken of the demonstrations of these great men; nor yet of M. de Reffons, a French officer of artillery, of high military rank, and great professional abilities; and, moreover, diftinguished by the number of fieges which he had served at; who, in the year 1716, represented to the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, that, “ although it was agreed that theory joined to practice conftituted the perfection of every art, yet experience had taught him that theory was of very little service in the use of mortars. That although, in the work of M, Blondel *, the several parabolic lines are juftly enough described, according to the different degrees of the elevation of the piece, yet that practice had convinced him there was no theory in the effects of gunpowder : for that having endeavoured, with the greatest precision, to point a mortar agreeably to these calculations, he had never been able to estabiith any folid foundation upon them t." For we find no attempts toward improving this art before our countryman, Mr. Benjamin Robins, undertook it, about the year 1740, and made the experiments which are
* L'Art de jetter les Bombes.
related in his “ New Principles of Gunnery,” published in 1742. From these experiments it incontestably appeared that the refistance made by the air to projectiles, which have a rapid motion, is much greater than had been supposed even by Newton and Huygens themselves ; and that it is indeed so great that the path described by any fhot whatever is very different from the curve of a parabola; and, consequently, that all applications of that conic section to gunnery are false, and totally useless.
But Mr. Robins's experiments being made with thot of an ounce weight only, it was much to be withed that such perfons as had opportunity, might repeat the same experiments with balls of a larger size, and also with balls of different sizes. This was undertaken by Mr. Hutton : and in the course of his experiments he used balls from 20 to 50 ounces weight; the result of which confirmed Mr. Robins's principles in the most ample manner, as may be seen at large in his paper; some account of which was given in vol. Ix. p. 417 of our Review.
Some persons having objected to the subject of Mr. Hutron's paper, as being not lo immediately an object of the Society's institution as others of a different nature; we shall transcribe the concluding paragraph of this sensible and well-written discourse, to shew that the question did not escape the confideration of this learned body, before they conferred the greatest mark of honour which they have to bestow, on the Author of it.
• Some,' says this humane and benevolent man, may think, that the object of this Society are the arts of peace alone, not those of war, and that considering how numerous and how keen the instruments of death already are, it would better become us to discourage than to countenance their farther improvement. These naturally will be the first thoughts of the best disposed minds. But when upon a closer examination we find, that fince the invention of arms of the quickest execution, neither battles nor fieges have been more frequent nor more destructive, indeed apparently otherwise ; may we not thence infer, that such means as have been employed to sharpen the sword, have tended more to diminilh than to increase the number of its victims, by shortening contests, and making them more decisive. I shall not however insist on maintaining so great a paradox; but only surmise that whatever state would adopt the Utopian maxims, and proscribe the study of arms, would soon, I fear, become a prey to those who best knew how to use them. For yet, alas ! far seem we to be removed from those promised times, when nation hall not lift up sword againt nation, neither shall they learn war any more.'