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plored the route of a canal from the Hudson to Lake Erie, and found it practicable, the President replied “that it was a very fine project, and might be executed a century hence.”
Soon after, in 1810, the project received further attention from the Legislature, and the powerful support of Mr. Clinton.
De Witt Clinton and Gouverneur Morris were appointed commissioners to seek aid from Congress. They were unsuccessful. The war of 1812 arrested all further proceedings. After its termination, the subject was revived, and in 1817, nine years after the first proposition was made, a memorial was presented to the Legislature signed by more than one hundred thousand citizens, calling for the commencement of the proposed canal. Immediate action was the consequence, and in 1825 the great Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany was completed, at a cost of eight millions of dollars.
The early projectors of railways had similar difficulties to encounter. The following letter from Robert R. Livingston, formerly Chancellor of New York, one of the most intelligent men of his time, to the late Col. John Stevens of Hoboken, New Jersey, is another instance of the impediments and trials to which men of genius are subjected.
" Albany, Narch 11, 1811. "DEAR SIR:-1 did not, till yesterday, receive yours of the 25th of February; where it has loitered on the road I am at a loss to say. I had before read your very ingenious propositions as to the railway communication. I fear, however, on mature reflection, that they will be liable to serious objections, and ultimately more expensive than a canal. They must be double, so as to prevent the danger of two such heavy bodies meeting. The walls on which they are placed, must be at least four feet below the surface and three above, and must be clampeil with iron; and even then would hardly sustain so heavy a weight as you propose moving at the rate of four miles an hour on wheels. As to wood, it would not last a week. They must be covered with iron, and that too, very thick and strong. The means of stopping these heavy carriages without a great shock, and of preventing them from running upon each other, (for there would be many on the road at once,) would be very difficult. In case of accidental stops, or the necessary stops to take wood and water, &c., many accidents would happen. The carriage of condensing water would be very troublesome. Upon the whole, I fear the expense would be much greater than that of canals, without being so convenient."
The obstacles presented to railroad enterprise in England, and the final triumph of the enterprise, are forcibly set forth in the following extract from a late journal.
In 1825, the Quarterly Review thus ridiculed the notion of certain engineers, Talford among the number, that a railway engine could go eighteen or twenty miles an hour. “The gross exaggerations of the powers of the locomotive steam-engine, or, to speak English, the steam-carriage, may delude for a time, but must end in the mortification of those concerned.
We should as soon expect the people of Woolwich to suffer themselves to be fired off
upon one of Congreve's ricochet rockets, as trust themselves to the mercy of such a machine, going at such a rate.'
In that year the common belief was that railways were altogether delusions and impositions. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was opposed in Parliament with every form of invective. One member, in 1825, declared his opinion - that a railway could not enter into successful competition with a canal. Even with the best locomotive engine, the average rate would be but 3} miles per hour, which was slower than the canal conveyance.” Another assertion, which Mr. Huskisson was obliged to meet doubtfully and apologetically, was that there were two or three canals, which were sufficient for every purpose of commerce in the district through which the railway was to pass. If there be a reality in any discovery-a true thing, and not a sham-if there be strength, or utiliiy, or beauty in any work of the mind, it will live and fructify, whatever critics, or orators, or inquisitors, or even kings may do to crush it." And so it is wiih railways. On the 15th September, 1830, the first passenger line, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, was opened. The conveyance of passengers appears originally to have been an inferior consideration to the conveyance of goods; and the directors modestly anticipated that one-half of the passengers traveling by coaches between the two towns might venture on the railway. In the first year after the opening, there were conveyed 445,000 passengers; in the year ending 1st July, 1845, the passengers so conveyed amounted to 897,003. On the 24th April, 1847, there had been a total expended on the railways of the United Kingdom, of £78,000,000 sterling; and in the last week the aggregate receipts upon these railways was £160,900, being a total exceeding £8,000,000 per annum, for the conveyance of passengers and goods.
As an accompaniment to the aforegoing sketch, we append an account of John Fitch, who is by many regarded as the discoverer of steam navigation.
"In 1785. John Fitch, a watch-maker in Philadelphia, conceived the design of propelling a boat by steam. He was both poor and illiterate, and many difficulties occurred to frustrate every attempt which he made to try ihe practicability of his invention. He applied to Congress for assistance, but was refused; and then offered his invention to the Spanish government, to be used in the navigation of the Mississippi, but without any better success. At length a company was formel, and funds subscribed for the building of a steamboat, and in the year 1788, his vessel was launched on the Delaware. Many crowded to see and ridicule the novel, and, as they supposed, the chimerical experiment. It seemed that the idea of wheels had not occurred to Mr. Fitch; but, instead of them, oars were used which worked in frames. He was confident of success; and when the boat was ready for trial, she started off in good style for Burlington. Those who had sneered, began to stare, and they who had smiled in derision, looked grave. Away went the boat, and the happy inventor triumphed over the skepticism of an unbelieving public. The boat performed her trip to Burlington, a distance of twenty miles; but unfortunately, burst her boiler in rounding to the wharf at that place, and the next tide floated her back to the city. Fitch persevered, and with great difficulty, procured another boiler. After some time, ihe boat performed another trip 10 Burlington and Trenton, and returned the same day. She is said to have moved at the rate of eight miles an hour; but something was continually breaking, and the unhappy projector only conquered one difficulty, to encounter another. Perhaps this was not owing to any defect in his plans, but to the low state of the arts at that time, and the difficuliy of getting such complex machinery made with proper exactness. Fitch beVOL. 1.—MAY,
came embarrassed with debt, and was obliged to abandon his invention, after having satisfied himself of its practicability. This ingenious man, who was probably the first inventor of the steamboat, wrote three volumes, which he deposited in manuscript, sealed up, in the Púiladelphia Library, 10 be opened thirty years after his death. When or why he came to the west, we have not learned; but it recorded of him that he died, and was buried near the Ohio. His three volumes were opened about five years ago, and were found to contain his speculations on mechanics. He details his embarrassments and disappointments, with a feeling which shows how ardently he desired success, and which wins for him the sympathy of those who have heart enough to mourn over the blighted prospects of genius. He confidently predicts the future success of the plan, which, in his hands, failed only for want of pecuniary means. He prophesies that in less than a century, we shall see our western rivers swarming with seamboats; and expresses a wish to be buried on the shores of the Ohio, where the song of the boatmen may enliven the stilluess of his resting-place, and the music of the steam-engine soothe his spirit. What an idea! Yet how natural to the mind of an ardent projector, whose whole life had been devoted to one darling object, which it was not his destiny to accomplish! And how touching is the sentiment found in one of his journals: 'the day will come when some more powerful man will get fame and riches from my invention; but nobody will believe that poor John Fitch can do anything worthy of attention."- Hull's Notes.
Music, like painting, is intimately connected with poetry. They came together into existence. In ancient Greece, the sounds of the lyre were only heard as echoes of the voice of the bard, and the sweet strains of the harp of Israel's king were expressive of the spontaneous thoughts of the poet.
The laws of concord and discord, of harmony and melody, are founded in the constitution of man. He seeks as naturally for the gratification of music, as for food to allay hunger or drink to quench thirst, for it is the natural delight and pleasure of the ear.
The causes of this pleasure, it has been remarked, admit of philosophical analysis. It depends upon established proportions between the vibrations from which the relative tones arise. These vibrations may be accurately measured, and the proportions of those which agree and those which disagree may be marked with mathematical precision.
Any succession of sounds that excites in a well-tuned ear agreeable sensations, is called Music, and in regard to it as a science, we remark, that the indispensable points in music are tune and time. The first is the perfect intonation of every sound, giving it a proper degree of sharpness, or otherwise, according to its relative situation, and the latter is the art, or rather the talent, of bestowing the proper extent of each note's duration,
The shrill tones which pierce the ear are called acute or high, and are the natural tones of infantine voices, and the intonations of manhood, which vibrate with less shrillness, are of the class that are called grave or low.
Singers are divided into classes, which accord with the supposed division of the human voice into six different species-viz: the bass, which is the lowest; the baritone or tenor-bass; the tenor, or counter-tenor, which are the two middle species of which the generality of men's voices partake; the mezzo-soprano, which is the pitch of women's voices generally; and the soprano or treble, or uppermost, which in some women reaches to a great height, and is often allotted to young boys in Cathedral service.
The degrees of strength, the loudness or softness of voices, have no effect on the pitch or relative tone, for you may whisper in bass, and bawl in treble or soprano. And, therefore, when high or low is mentioned, it is in reference to some audible test—as in the sound of instruments; or in the mind, the estimation is formed by the aid of memory.
To express the sounds that are produced, five lines, called a stave, are drawn. Yet all are not represented on the stave—some are below—some above, and the relative sounds are represented on the leger line. But even this plan would be ineffectual to specify all the intonation in the six species had not the celebrated John Murio, in the 14th century, offered the world a new system, whereby not only the value, i. e. the proper duration of each note, but the compass or extent of each part was distinctly laid down by appropriate clefs or keys, vulgarly called cliffs. Until that time, the value of each note was known only by letters and signs, according to Guido's notation. The musical scale invented by Murio, 400 years ago, notwithstanding the wonderful advances in music, remains as he first ushered it into the world.
Music would be esteemed quite tame and insipid, had not the composers of modern days shown with what excellent effect discord may be introduced-effected, as every master of music knows, by the permutations and changes of keys. These serve to vary and embellish passages
which would else be tame or nearly monotonous. These variations are like the bold shadows in painting, which serve to revive the lighter parts, making them more brilliant and conspicuous. The paucity of permutations in the music of former times would render it puerile and tame to a modern theorist. In the compositions of these times, every possible change is introduced, and compared with them, the monotony of the cotemporaries of the celebrated Guido would be little more than an octave of bells.
We mean nothing, however, in detraction of those plain and simple melodies—those sweet and beautiful strains, every note of which is attractive, and like Pleyel's hymn, combines the pure worship of the soul with the genuine language of harmony.
The origin of music must have been very ancient. The Egyptians declared that they received it from the gods, and the Hebrews consecrated it to the Divinity.
In the antediluvian world, the harp and the organ were invented at an early period, and indeed the predisposition of man to delight in musical sounds must have induced him to take the first hint to produce them artificially, such as the rustling of the wind among the leaves—its whistling through hollow reeds, or the humming of insects.
And if a model were wanted to suggest the art of singing, the sweetness and variety of tones among the feathered tribe would prompt to a trial of the melody of the human voice; for the language of birds is strikingly musical, and their tones and modulations exquisite and varied. Among insects, too, there is a diversified talent of uttering sound, sometimes expressive of pain, and sometimes of pleasure.
Some animals have the power of producing sounds by an external organ, such as the gold-chaffer, which utters a shrill shriek of affright by rubbing its chest against its wings; the tinus fatideus, or death watch, that produces the measured strokes so alarming to the superstitious, by striking its horny frontlet against any hard substance on which it stands; and the Italian grasshopper, that by a singular apparatus under the chest, can produce very loud and distinct tones. There is then a probability, that the animal creation, in the origin of music, afforded sounds of imitation to man.
The Greeks, who were fond of claiming every invention, ascribed to Mercury the invention of the lyre. They say that the shell of a tortoise having been exposed on the shore till the flesh was entirely dried up, and nothing but the sinews remained stretched over the concavity, was observed by Mercury to emit musical sounds, and thus was suggested to him the lyre. Such fictions are pleasant in poets, but do not satisfy the philosopher. The art of music, as we have mentioned, springs from the natural propensity of man. The passion and the capability for music are innate; for mere infants have been found to judge of what is called music in or out of time. The discovery of musical proportions has been attributed by some writers to Tubal Cain, by others to Pythagoras. Some assert that the system of the mutual relations of sounds and the concords in music can be traced to the Hindoos, and even to an earlier and now forgotten people. If Pythagoras be the inventor, then the system of tetrachords would be of Italian origin; for, though Pythagoras was a Greek, yet he took up his residence in Calabria, and there, it is said, founded his system. Certain it is that in Italy the art of music was cultivated at a very