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its principal importance in history from the siege of 1428. The successes of the English, even after the death of Henry V, were so great and so uninterrupted that the king of France, Charles VII, had nearly lost all hopes; surrounded by persons who, with all the insolence of unpaid services, presumed to excess upon their merit, without the means of supporting any appearance of regal dignity, and scarcely able to supply the wants of nature, the king had more than once reconciled himself to the humiliating idea of giving up the contest and of retiring for safety to the mountains of the Cevennes; but his wavering resolution had been as frequently recalled, and his spirits buoyed up above despair, by the united exertions of two ladies, of whom it is perhaps as singular that they should have lived in friendship, as that their efforts should have been so well directed and so successful. The queen, Mary of Anjou, had sacrificed her plate and jewels to the necessities of the moment; but had never lost her hopes. The king's retreat, she said, would be a signal of submission to his most faithful adherents, nor would any one hesitate to desert a prince who deserted his own cause. To the remonstrances which proceeded, with so much propriety, from the queen, to the dictates of her masculine good sense and spirit the fair Agnes Sorel added arguments which were not without their weight. Her fate, she said, had been predicted by the greatest astrologer of the age, who had told her that she was to live many years the beloved mistress of a king and conqueror; she had hitherto, it seemed, mistaken her proper station, but would now retire to the court of Henry, where she could not fail of a fortune more correspondent to her wishes, and where her destiny might be fulfilled, and the will of the stars accomplished. The monarch was now roused to sentiments which better became him, and declared his determination rather to perish with honour in the conflict, than to yield ingloriously before his imperious enemies. Such was the influence of female firmness and good sense, and of female charms, when Charles was yet more essentially assisted by a miracle of female enthusiasm, in the person of the celebrated maid of Orleans. The siege which had been for some time converted into a blockade, had lasted seven months, when the garrison, reduced to despair, by the loss of a large convoy of provisions on its way to their relief, offered to surrender to the combined armies of England and Burgundy, retaining possession of the advanced posts only until it could be determined between the besiegers what troops were first to march in. It was in this awful crisis, when the fate of France depended upon a trifling circumstance, when the besiegers and the besieged had already established so friendly a communication, that the town people lent the English some articles which were necessary for the celebration of a religious festival, that the maid of Orleans appeared and made the king those promises which are mentioned in history. The events which followed are so singular, that we cannot be surprised if while the French considered this heroine as a chosen instrument of God, the English should have supposed her no better than an implement of the devil, and some allowance will be made for their conduct towards her, if we consider them as under that persuasion. The Sorbonne was consulted, and their opinion encouraged the parliament of Paris to decide that there was witchcraft in the case. Nor will it appear so singular that such should have been, at that period, the preposterous blindness of so respectable a body, if we advert to the fatal delusion which took place at Salem, in the province of Massachusetts, upon this same subject of witchcraft, full two centuries after, and until how late a period opinions of a similar sort have prevailed in many parts of Europe. It is not more than 150 years since the marechal d'Ancre was executed at Paris for having practised the arts of sorcery, in obtaining an ascendancy over the queen's mind. The person most to blame in the whole of this disgraceful affair of the execution of the maid of Orleans, was the king of France, who suffered a heroine, to whom, as Hume says, the generous superstition of the ancients would have erected altars, to expiate the signal services she had rendered to him and to her native country, by a painful death, without the smallest interference in her behalf. Immersed in pleasure, and relying upon the exertions of others, he was too generally insensible to his own danger, and must, upon this occasion, have been lost to every sentiment of honour and of gratitude. Once, says Mezerai, that La Hire came to speak to him on some important affair, the king, who was then wandering, like an exile, in his own dominions, showed him the preparations he was making for a splendid entertainment, and asked what he thought of them. '• I think," said La Hire, " that it would be impossible for any man to lose a kingdom more gayly."
The Loire, which is at times very shallow, was now full. Several large boats, under a press of sail, were coming up from Nantes. The borders of the river, as far as the view extends, are covered with meadows, vineyards, and gardens. Towns and villages, and what appeared more like farm-houses than any thing I had hitherto seen, were thickly strewed along, and the whole was a magnificent assemblage of interesting objects. Our next stage, through a fine country and by the side of the Loire, was to Blois, a very old, and no very clean, town. It is situated on a slope which rises gently from the water's edge. We had not been able to descend the river as commodiously as Madame de Sevigne■ did; but we lodged in the same inn, and probably in the same apartments; for nothing appears to have been done to the house for more than a century. It was formerly called the Galere, but is now known as the post-house.
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You may well conceive that we were not long without walking up as far as the castle, where the states general of France have been frequently held, and where the celebrated duke of Guise was put to death by order of Henry III. We found the court of the castle overgrown with weeds, and the staircase hardly practicable, and heard no noise but our own footsteps and the whistling of the wind; but there was something in this frightful solitude, in this scene of ruined walls and towers, tottering to their fall, which is not unfriendly to wholesome meditation, when connected with the memory of past times, and the recollection of what had been said, or done, or perpetrated within these enclosures. Perhaps no assassination, not even that of Cxsar, approached so near to being justifiable as that of the duke of Guise, and particularly if we consider how extremely unfavourable the manners of the age were to every degree of order and good government; to that adoration of beauty, that enthusiasm of courage which had impelled the gallant knight of ancient days, and to all the amiable extravagancies of chivalry, the greatest depravity had succeeded, and the grossest debauchery. The slightest provocation was revenged with blood; and the apparent fairness of open defiance was now blended with the profligate policy of private murder.
The principal growth of the country we could command a view of seemed to be vines, and there are some manufactories in the town, which are said not to flourish. That of cutlery, at least, does not, if I may judge from the importunity of those who brought us some specimens to look at, and who seemed as anxious that we should purchace a trifling article or two, as if they had been asking charity.
We saw Chambord at a distance, on the other side of the river. Young will have given you a very good idea of the castle, and of the splendid establishment which Louis XV. created there for his favourite general, who is said never to have been great but at the head of an army. The place is now in ruins; but it docs not appear that any part of the forest has been converted to the purposes of agriculture, though Young, whose book is highly esteemed in France, has given very good advice on that subject. Game of all sorts were shut up here in prodigious quantities, and roamed at large over a space of twenty thousand acres. A great waste of land, surely, in a country which was rather overstocked with inhabitants. The decree of the national assembly which put an end to all feudal rights having let in a crowd of hungry peasants upon these lords of the forest, thousands of them were destroyed in a short time, and amongthem were found not less than eight hundred wild boars.
THEUSEFULARTS FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
Description■of the Roller cast at General jRidgely's furnace, on the suggestion of Thomas W. Griffith Est/, and used on the new turnpike road from Baltimore towards York-Town.
The roller weighs two tons, thirteen hundred and eight pounds, exclusive of the axletree, wedging, devices, and hounds; the weight of all which, added together makes the real pressure on the road equal to about three tons. It measures three feet six inches and a half in length, by two feet five inches and a half in diameter. As the weight required could not be procured at one blast, it is cast in five pieces, the outside one, or cylinder, is two inches and three quarters thick, and weighs about 22cwt. Each of the other pieces fill one quarter or angle of the inner circle of the cylinder and weighs about 8cwt, leaving a hollow square, each side of which is eleven inches, through the centre of which is passed a wrought iron axletree, two inches and three quarters square, wedged fast with gudgeons projecting four inches at either end and turning with the roller.
The carriage is a pair of wheels somewhat smaller than the fore wheels of a wagon, shod with three inch tire, with a tongue and double gear. Through the axletree of the carriage a strong body bolt let through the end of the coupling pole, passes, and, as it is almost impossible to turn the roller in the ordinary way, this bolt is taken out, and the end of the coupling pole is passed over by hand, whilst the horses and carriage are taken round, and the coupling pole is again attached in the opposite direction alternately.
The roller and carriage complete cost 398 dollars and 13 cents. It requires six or eight horses, shod expressly quite across the hoofs, and two men, at an expense of six or eight dollars per day, during which a mile of road, twenty feet wide, may be rolled three or four times.
It is put on the road immediately after the stone is broken, and passed over each part of the surface ten or twelve times, on three or four days successively, and the oftener the better, especially if the material is flint stone.
The effect of rolling is to make the surface even, and fit to be travelled without a covering of gravel or sand, which would cost per mile as much as the whole cost of the roller and rolling, and these materials can very seldom be obtained at any price, fit for covering; for if clay, or earth of any kind, be mixed with with them, they are manifestly of more injury than benefit to the turnpike. Indeed the great advantage of rolling is that it presses and binds the stone together, so that substances'which loosen the stones cannot penetrate down between them, whilst the surface, being even from the first using of the road, the horses have no temptation or guide to follow each other and form paths, and the compactness and hardnessof the surface rolled, will longer resist the effect of the carriage wheels and be clear of ruts, the great enemies of good roads.
CORRESPONDENCE FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
As a subscriber to The Port Folio and consequently one of its well wishers, I take the liberty of proposing what I am sure will not fail of raising it in the opinion of its learned supporters. What I allude to is the proposing of one or two mathematical questions in each number of The Port Folio, to be solved by such of your numerous contributors whose taste and genius may lead them to interesting inquiries on this subject.
The very extensive circulation of your useful and entertaining magazine causes one to hope that your consent to what I have proposed will tend to promote, in a great measure a general taste for researches into important branches of the mathematics.
The publication of a Poetical Miscellany commended to the Editor.
I find, in a work entitled " Literary Hours," by Mr. Drake, No xxv, vo\. 2, a critique on, and comparison between the Greek and Roman lyric bards and the British lyric poets, with a list of such original English odes as, in the opinion of this writer, bid defiance to competition. These he has particularized by the first lines, and the authors' names, and classed under the following heads. 1st. The sublime. 2d. The pathetic. 3d. The descriptive. 4th. The amatory.
It has occurred to me that the publication of these pieces, in one volume, without any additional ones, arranged in the order, and agreeably to the divisions adopted by Mr. Drake, would be well received by the readers of poetry, and have a direct tendency to improve the style and to fix the taste of such of our youth as are inclined to court the lyric muse.