L O I T E R E R.
"Speak of us as we are."
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR,
And sold by C. S. RANN, OXFORD;
Mess. EGERTONS, Whitehall, LONDON; Mess. PEARSON
And ROLLASON, BIRMINGHAM; Mr. W. MEYLER, Grove,
BATH; AND Mess. COWSLADE and SMART, READING.
L O I T E R E R.
SATURDAY, December 5, 1789.
Nimborum in Patriam, Loca fæta furentibus Austris
Æo1iam venit. Hic vasto rex Æolus antro
Luctantes Ventos tempestatesque sonoras
Imperio premit, ac Vinclis et Carcere frenat.
Illi indignantes magno cam murmure Montis
Circum Claustra fremunt. Virgil.
MY Readers are already, perhaps, more than sufficiently informed of the Reasons which occasioned my late abrupt departure from London, and which have reduced me to a situation not very different from that of many of our most celebrated Travellers, who, sitting quietly down in their elbow Chairs at Home, very obligingly condescend to amuse or instruct the Public with their Tours abroad. —— It is the duty of a periodical Writer, like the Loiterer, to give his readers the earliest Intelligence of every new Invention which appears, even in the remotest degree, likely to influence the Customs, the Manners, the Morals, or the Literary Pursuits of the Age. Scarce had I time to cool from the hurry and agitation of Spirits excited during the Tête-a-Tête, which I have recorded in my thirty-fifth paper; when I found myself summoned by public Advertisement to the Inspection of another Invention perhaps not less curious, or important, than that with which my Readers have already been so agreeably entertained. In short, the subject of my present Paper is nothing less than the celebrated Air Machine, by the King’s Royal Letters Patent. The politeness of the Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers had induced them to grant the use of their Hall for the Display of this very elegant, though simple Machine, to its worthy and facetious Proprietor the Patentee; with whom I soon found myself on very free, easy, and familiar Terms. And whilst he was demonstrating its wonderful Powers by filling the whole Edifice with the Fumes of Gum Benjamin, drawn from an Apartment at a considerable distance; and the astonishing discharge of the same at the rate of 60,000 gallons in a minute — whilst he was dwelling on its great Utility in supplying the Inhabitants of sultry Climates with cool refreshing Air, and those of the colder Regions with that which is warm and comfortable; together with its unexampled Power of extracting foul Air from Ships, Mines, Hospitals, and Prisons; and supplying them with that which is perfectly pure and wholesome: I was immediately so forcibly struck with the Idea of its general Utility, that I could not refrain from complimenting the Patentee on the Satisfaction it must have given to his own Mind, in having thus been able to offer an Invention to the Public, which bids fair not only to diffuse Comfort, but absolutely to preserve the Health and Lives of thousands of his Majesty’s Liege Subjects. You have done more, Sir, said I, than all the great aerial Philosophers of the present Age, from the Cities, of London and Paris, to Edinburgh and Carlisle. For what are all the discoveries of Cavendish or Priestley, of Lavoisier or Kirwan, or even Black, or Crawford, or Harrington, when put in competition with yours. Whilst they have been contradicting each other — whilst many of them have been contradicting themselves, you, Sir, have actually gained a Control over the Winds; and, like the wisest of the Grecian Heroes, have enclosed them all in a box. I was proceeding to enlarge still further on this important subject, when a very grave philosophical looking person, whom I have since discovered to be a disciple at least, if not an actual descendant of the Rosicrucians, allured by the discourse, immediately joined us, and graciously bowing, and at the same time addressing his discourse to me, — “The Proprietor, Sir, said he, does not appear at present to be aware of half the important purposes to which his machine is applicable.” I, Sir, who have already projected some of the most important Schemes, though hitherto but little attended to, will engage to give the Proprietor such Instructions as will speedily render him one of the most noted Characters of the Age. In short, Sir, to me it appears evident, that this elegant Apparatus may not only with propriety be called an Air but an Oratorical Machine. What the Bellows are to the Organ, in future shall this Machine be to the Orator. — WORDS ARE AIR, Sir, said he; I consider this as one of those Truths which every Man in the World at one period or another must have experienced. And you, Sir, he continued, who appear to be so deeply versed in the Philosophy of Chemistry, must very well know, that one Gallon of Air is required every Minute for the ordinary breathing of common Men, but an Orator, during the vehement Parts of his Speech, upon a reasonable computation, cannot use less than three times the Quantity which I have mentioned. It admits, therefore, of easy calculation to know the exact Quantity that will be necessary for supplying a Speech of five Hours. And since it is in our power by shifting the Valve, to blow hot or cold, pure or impure, and by various applications to either end of the Tube, to give whatever impregnation we please to the Air, it necessarily follows, that an Oration may thus be seasoned with any Degree of attic Salt that we please.
“Wonderful, Sir!” said the Proprietor, “astonishing.” What you tell me must certainly be true; for several of the most respectable Members of the House f Commons have already examined the Machine, and appear to be charmed with its Powers. — The very large one which you see in that corner, is to be fitted up immediately in the House; if you will do me the honour, gentlemen, he continued, I shall be happy to be favoured with your company. — It is difficult to say whether an invitation like this was more easily accepted by the Rosicrucian or the Loiterer. In short, we repaired with the utmost alacrity to the place of appointment; and no sooner was the machine applied, than the Rosicrucian, pursuing the very singular idea which he had already started, assured us, that had the House had been sitting, he would have immediately given us specimens not only of the Powers of the Machine, but of the different kinds of Air which would have been actually generating. But as there is no difficulty which a real chemical Adept is not able to surmount, I have only to relate, that turning himself three times round, and as often applying his hand to his forehead, he exclaimed, “Few are so ignorant as not to know, that in some parts of the world, words have been actually found frozen; it necessarily follows, therefore, that round the Seat of every celebrated Orator there must be more or less and Atmosphere, or Condensation of Words in the form of Air.”
But, before I proceed to inform my Readers that he immediately applied an elastic Tube to the Machine, which could easily be moved to every part of the house, it is only necessary that I should disclaim every idea of personal application in the result of our Experiments, as it would give me very sincere concern to have my very worthy publisher obliged to go down on his knees before the House, or my own papers and bureau to be ransacked. In short, though I would wish the Loiterer, No. 45, to be as much read, and equally celebrated with the North Briton of the same Number; yet I flatter myself that none of the other extraordinary consequences which attended that publication, will be experienced upon the present occasion. To do away, therefore, every thing like personal allusion, I shall pursue the common letters of the alphabet, A, B, C, &c.
From the letter A nothing remarkable was to be obtained.
But applying the extremity of the Tube to the letter B, there immediately issued 60,000 gallons of Air, so highly perfumed, that it appeared to have been wafted over beds of lilies and roses, pinks and carnations; in short, the jonquil and the hyacinth, and every flower of the field or garden seemed to have contributed its share. It was remarkable, however, that some had been considerably faded; and, upon a thorough investigation, we discovered the strictest chemical Analogy subsisting between this and every other species of facetious Air; for the purity was by no means proportionate to the flagrancy.
No sooner was the Tube applied to the letter C, than we felt ourselves thrown into an irresistible fit of laughter at the instantaneous explosion of a Squib, and a handful of crackers.
The letter D produced a phenomenon of the most singular nature; for at every revolution of the wheel, instead of Air, there ascended little particles of Gold Leaf. And here I ought to inform my Readers, that there is a very narrow part in the Tube of this Machine, exactly similar to that in the Throat of the real Orator, which Anatomists have denominated the Rima Glotidis, or, in plainer terms, the entrance into the wind pipe; which, upon an unusual Exertion of the Machine, became suddenly choaked up, so great was the quantity of these Leaves, which rushed all at once into this narrow passage.
The E’s like the A’s produced nothing remarkable; but no sooner did the Tube come within the Vortex of the Letter F, than torrents of Air of various Qualities, rushed through the Machine with the greatest impetuosity; nor did this Air differ more in its real Properties, than in the Opinion which the World entertained of its Purity. It is necessary, therefore, to dwell more particularly here, because, upon further examination, we found nearly one half of the House replete with Air of a similar Nature, though of a less powerful Impregnation which had issued from a number of Seats less worthy of attention. But that which was afforded by the letter N, was too remarkable for the Rosicrucian to pass over in silence. It was discharged and repeated in the most vivid and brilliant Flashes, exactly resembling the Aurora Borealis; and like the Aurora Borealis was portentous of Battles and Murder and Bloodshed; of Armies fighting in the Air, and Empires dismembered.
To our great astonishment this Air had intimately combined with that produced by the Letter F, forming a compound which at first appeared likely to fill the whole House, till pursuing the alphabet a little further, we discovered a surprising quantity of Air of a nature diametrically opposite, issuing from the Letter P, the flavour of which was so peculiarly powerful, as very soon to predominate; but various were the opinions of mankind, respecting the comparative purity and excellence of these two kinds of Air, with which the House was completely filled; and we thought ourselves remarkably happy in having an opportunity of determining their respective merits. — However widely Philosophers may differ, said the Rosicrucian, in their ideas of the component parts of Air, there is one circumstance in which they uniformly agree, viz. That its purity is best known by the old established Test. That Air, he continued, is universally acknowledged to be the best, which contributes most largely to the support of Flame. He extracted, therefore, immediately 60,000 Gallons of Air from one Side of the House. But to the astonishment of every person present, the whole 60,000 gallons, at every trial, were insufficient to light up a single farthing Candle. On the contrary, the same quantity being extracted from the opposite Side of the House, Light was in a moment produced from Candles, Lamps, and every Species of Combustible Matter, which continued burning in the most brilliant Manner, from the setting to the rising Sun. This, continued the Rosicrucian, is the same Air as that with which the whole City of London was so lately illuminated, which propagated its Light through every City and Town, every Village, every House and Cottage of Great Britain, even to the Ultima Thule; and which is perhaps at this moment perhaps burning with the brightest Lustre in the remotest parts of India.
But to omit particular instances, let us take a more general and a more extended view of the subject, and we shall find a very curious, a very striking Analogy between political and atmospherical Air; but so confused are the ideas of our most celebrated Philosophers on these subjects, that it will be necessary in a few words to give you a plain and concise Analysis of the Latter. Ten years are now elapsed since this Analysis was first offered to the public by a chemical Adept, whose principles I am happy to adopt. The circumambient Atmosphere, continued the Rosicrucian, consists of fire as a material principle, and the mephitic acid combined by means of water in the form of an aerial Fluid. Either of these principles in a separate state, is believed to be a deadly poison; but in combination, they form the salubrious Fluid from which the animal and the vegetable kingdoms are supplied with the vital Principle. — And thus for more than five hundred years has this House been filled with political Air of a similar Nature. On one Side a gross, mephitic, plebeian Vapour; on the other the highly phlogisticated and inflammable air; either of which in a separate State has repeatedly endangered the Constitution. But observe, — the Proprietor of the Machine, who in ventilating and in purifying this House, I have no doubt expects to meet with a Labour like that of Hercules in cleansing the augean Stable. Let him but cease to apply his Tube to particular places, let him take one general discharge, and he will immediately discover these two contrary principles so uniformly blended, as to produce a Fluid salubrious like the Atmosphere, and exactly calculated for the Constitutions of Englishmen.
Time fails me, continued the Philosopher, or I would have introduced a Tube into that immense Edifice, pointing to Westminster Hall, where such torrents of foul Air have been so long collecting. Already the Lamp of Truth burns uncommonly dim, and will soon be totally extinguished. Even now I foresee the arduous task of extraction; but with so valuable a Machine nothing need be despaired of. After five hours incessant labour, the whole of the foul Air, at the rate of 60,000 gallons a minute, will be nearly extracted. When shifting the Valve, such copious and refreshing streams of pure and panegyrical Air shall be thrown in, that with the aid of some of the most costly perfumes of the East, I have no doubt but that its fragrancy will be restored, and the Lamp of Truth will again burn with superior Lustre, and perhaps extend itself into the form of a Coronet.
If I have been happy, he concluded, in my investigation of this important Machine; if I have made it appear, that the Air Machine by King’s Royal Letters Patent, may be subservient to the purposes of Oratory, I flatter myself the task will be easy upon some future occasion to prove, that by Virtue of the same Royal Letters Patent, an Orator may become an Air Machine.
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N.B. This work will in future be sold by Messrs. Prince and Cooke; to whom our Correspondents are requested to direct their communications.
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