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THERE are few subjects which af ford greater entertainment to the mind than the rise and progress of science; and in reviewing the gradations by, which mankind have arrived at their present state of knowledge, curiosity naturally leads us to inquire after the persons by whom, and the places where, any remarkable discoveries have been made; whilst the interest we take respecting them is increased in proportion as they develope to us the laws of nature, avert evils, administer to the necessities, or contribute to the enjoyments of man. Viewed with regard to these objects, the science of Electricity stands pre-eminent..
Electricity is probably present in every form of matter," and its influence universal. We have seen in our own day the great progress of the science by the discovery of the rela tion of electrical to chemical changes; an agency by which not only various changes are directly produced, but
which likewise influences almost all which take place. The connection between Electricity and Magnetism has been recently strengthened and confirmed; and interesting researches into electrical induction are still proceeding. The names of the philosophers, who have thus advanced the science are familiar to us, and at the Royal Institution have the most important discoveries been made, and the most brilliant experiments exhibited.
Possessed of the means of protec tion from the destructive effects of lightning, by the labours of former electricians, and by those of later ones, of the most extensive powers of analysis, we may with truth affirm,
τέχνῃ κρατοῦμεν ὧν φύσει νικώμεθα.
Under the impression of these observations, I am induced to transmit to you the following memoir, accompanied with engravings from drawings taken by myself.
The writer of this article, when very young, was present at an exhibition of electrical experiments at the house of the late John Hunter in Jermyn-street, and he perfectly re-. collects the observation Mr. Hunter then made to hin, You have seen these beautiful experiments. Of Electricity as a science we at present know nothing; but the time will ar rive when it will be found to act a inost important part in the economy of Nature."
In Electricity by contact, Galvani, Volta, Ritter, Davy. On the connection between Electricity and Magnetisin, Oersted, Wollaston, Faraday, Barlow, Ritchie. On the ope ration of these forces beneath the surface of the earth; Sully, Tux, and Faraday, in this country; Dobereiner and others on the Continent.
GENT MAG: May, 1832.
*" June 30, 1729. I went," says Mr. Gray, " to Otterden Place, to wait on Mr. Wheler, carrying with me a small glass cane of about eleven inches long and seven eighth parts of an inch in diameter, with some other requisite materials, designing only to give Mr. Wheler specimens of my experiments. The first was from the window in the long gallery that opened into the hall, the height about sixteen feet. The next from the battlements of the house down into the fore court, twenty-nine feet; then from the clock turret to the ground, which was 34 feet; this being the greatest height we could come at, and, notwithstanding the smallness of the cane, the leaf brass was attracted and repelled beyond what I expected. As we had no greater heights here, Mr. Wheler was desirous to try whether we could not carry the electric virtue horizontally. He proposed a silk line to support the line by which the electric virtue was to pass; with which, together with the apt method Mr. Wheler contrived, and with the great pains he took himself, and the assistance of his servants, we succeeded far beyond our expectations. The first experiment was made in the matted gallery July 2, 1729, about ten in the morning. About four feet from the end of the gallery there was a cross line that was fixed by its end to each side of the gallery by two nails, the middle part of the line was silk, the rest of each end packthread, then the line to which the ivory ball was hung, and by which the electric virtue was to be conveyed to it from the tube, being 30 feet in length, was laid on the cross silk line so as that the ball hung about nine feet below it. Then the other end of the line was by a loop suspended on a glass cane, and the leaf brass held under the ball on a piece of white paper, when, the tube being rubbed, the ball attracted the leaf brass, and kept it suspended on it for some time."-Phil. Trans. vol. xxxvii. p. 18.
They subsequently made use of a line 124 feet long, in the barn, with the like results; afterwards they repeated the experiment with a direct line of 650 feet. And again from the turret closet window, when the line was 765 feet, when the attraction was not sensibly diminished; and lastly they carried the line out of the great parlour window, and down the spacious field before it to a distance of 886 feet.
+"Some time after, in my absence, Mr. Wheler tried a red-hot poker, and found that the attraction was the same as when cold. He also suspended a live chick upon the tube by the legs, and found that the breast was strongly electrical." And Mr. Gray, in giving an account of experiments they made in concert, at another time, says: "Mr. Wheler, soon after my coming to him, procured silk lines strong enough to bear the weight of his footboy, a good stout lad; then, having suspended him upon the lines, the tube being applied to his feet and hands, and the finger of one that stood by held near his hands or face, he found himself pricked or burned as it were by a spark of fire, and the snapping noise was heard at the same time."-Phil. Trans. vol. xxxix. p. 18.
They also suspended a large white cock upon the lines with the same effects.
"We caused to be made an iron rod four feet long, and about half an inch in diameter, pointed at each end, but not sharp, being left about the bigness of a pin's head. This being suspended on the lines, then the tube being rubbed and held near one end of the rod, and then the finger or cheek being put near either end of the rod, the effect was the same as when an animal had been suspended on the lines with respect to the pricking pain we felt.
"At night we made the luminous part of the experiment, suspending the iron rod upon the silk lines, then applying one end of the tube to one end of the rod, not only that end had a light upon it, but there proceeded a light at the same time from the other, extending in form of a cone whose vertex was at the end of the rod. We could plainly see that it consisted of threads or rays of light diverging from the pores of the rod, and the exterior rays being incurvated. This light is attended with a small hissing noise; every stroke we give the tube causes the light to appear."-Ibid. P. 19.
In concluding this paper, Mr. Gray observes, "Although these effects are but in minimis, it is probable in time there may be found out a way to collect a greater quantity of it,, and consequently to increase the force of this electric fire, which by several of these expe
Topographical Account of Otterden, Kent.
will be gratified in having laid before them views and a description of this mansion, the scene of results which must have astonished and delighted the experimentalists who first witnessed them.
Otterden, written in Domesday book Ottringdene, 4 miles N. W. of Charing, 4 miles from Lenham, and 7 miles south from Faversham, is situate on the chalk ridge which runs from Dover by Folkstone to Maidstone, and continues westward. The village consists of a few houses, scattered over different parts of what is termed Otterdenstreet. It was part of the possessions bestowed by William the Conqueror on his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Baieux, on whose disgrace it was resumed by the Crown.*
We find it afterwards in the possession of Ralph de Ottringden, who held it in the reign of Hen. III., of William de Leyborne, as one knight's fee. The daughter and heir of his grandson Sir Laurence de Ottringden, temp. Edw. II., married - Peyforer, from which family it passed to Potyn, and to Thos. St. Leger, 2d son of Sir
Robert St. Leger of Ulcomb. His
riments (si licet magnis componere parva) seems to be of the same nature with that of thunder and lightning." To Stephen Gray, therefore, belongs the credit of this fortunate conjecture, the verification of which has immortalized the name of Franklin. Gray was a pensioner of the Charter-house. He also made some of his experiments at Norton Court, the seat of John Godfrey, esq.
* Hasted's History of Kent.
† Among the Harleian charters, 83 H. 25, in the British Museum, there is one entitled "Carta Henrici Regis Antonio Aucher de manerio de Madynden in com. Kent, nuper parcellum possessionum Prioratus de Madynden cum pertinen. in Madynden, Plasshinden, Sutton Valence, Hedcron, Marden, Boughton Mountchelsey, Ospringe, et Preston, et de domo et situ Prioratus de Madynden, etiam de terris in Shone nuper monasterio de Feversham pertinente, et de medietate advocationis Ecclesie de Otterden." This document is in excellent preservation, and is embellished with a drawing in pen and ink of Henry VIII. seated on his throne. The Great Seal (in fragments) is attached to it.
The family of Rogers was seated at Brianston as early as 3 Hen. V. 1415. Richard Rogers abovementioned, the last of this branch, is thus noticed by Lord Clarendon. "In the Marquis of Hertford's first entrance into the west, he had an unspeakable loss, and the King's service a far greater, by the death of Mr. Rogers, a gentleman of a rare temper and excellent understanding; who, besides that he had a great interest in the Marquis being his cousin-german, and so out of that private relation, as well as zeal to the public, passionately inclined to advance the service, had a wonderful great influence upon the county of Dorset, for which he served as one of the knights in Parliament, and had so well designed all things there, that Poole and Lyme (two port towns in that county which gave the King afterwards much trouble), if he had lived, had been undoubtedly reduced. But by his death all those hopes were cancelled."-Clarendon's Hist. vol. II. part i. p. 274.
The manor of Brianston was purchased of his heirs by Sir William Portman, Bart. whose son Sir William Portman, K.B. dying without issue, bequeathed his estate to his cousin Henry Seymour, esq. son of Sir Edward Seymour, for life, with remainder to his cousin William Berkeley, esq. of Pylle, co. Somerset, who took the name of Portman by Act of Parliament, 9th George II. from whom Edward Berkeley Portman, esq. M.P. for Dorset, the present possessor of Brianston, is lineally descended.
SA singular print containing their portraits, together with others of the Duke of Newcastle's family, was noticed in our last volume, pt. ii. 893. We are sorry to add that we
of Richmond and Lennox, who sold this seat and manor to George Curteis, esq. He was afterwards knightIed at Whitehall, and married Anne, one of the daughters of Sir John Bankes, knt. Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, by his wife Mary Hawtrey, so celebrated for her courageous defence of Corfe Castle. His son George Curteis succeeded his father, and died 1710, leaving Anne his only daughter and heir, who carried this estate in marriage to Thomas Wheler, esq. eldest son of Sir George Wheler of Odiham, and of Charing, knt. D.D. Prebendary of Durham, the celebrated traveller. The before-mentioned Thomas Wheler dying Dec. 1716, without issue, his widow carried the whole (within a few months, as it is said,) in marriage to Humphry Walcot of the county of Worcester, esq. who jointly with his wife sold this estate to Granville Wheler, esq. the youngest son of Sir George. He subsequently entered into holy orders, was Rector of Leak, and Prebendary of Southwell, co. Nottingham. He was, as has been noticed, much attached to philosophical pursuits, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, June 7, 1728. After the death of Mr. Gray, he made several experiments relating to the repulsive power of electricity, which were published in the Philosophical Transactions in the year 1739, at which time Dr. Cromwell Mortimer, Sec. R. S. gives an account of electrical experiments made by Mr. Wheler at the Royal Society's house in May 1737, to the sa
tisfaction of all present. He was a most pious and worthy man, and lived universally beloved and respected. He married, 1st. the Lady Catharine Maria Hastings, sixth daughter of Theophilus, seventh Earl of Huntingdon, by whom he had seven children (see the pedigree of Wheler); 2d, Mary, daughter of John Dove, esq. of London, by whom he had no issue; he died May 16, 1774. His only surviving son Granville Wheler, esq. succeeded to his manor and seat of Otterden Place. He married Sibylla-Christiana, 2d daughter of Robert Haswell, esq. Capt. R.N. who is still living. Mr. Wheler died at Dunkirk in 1786, and was succeeded by his only son Granville Hastings Wheler, esq. who on the death of Francis, 10th Earl of Huntingdon, became possessed of Ledstone Hall, with considerable estates in Yorkshire and other places, under the will of the Lady Elizabeth Hastings; but he preferred making Otterden Place his residence. He married Jane, youngest daughter of the Rev. William De Chair Tattersall, F.S.A. Rector of West Bourne, Sussex, Vicar of Wotton under Edge, Gloucestershire, and one of his Majesty's Chaplains in ordinary,† by whom he had one son, Granville Charles, who died an infant. Mr. Wheler was Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and devoted much of his time to the study of antiquities. He died Feb. 3, 1827 (a further account of him by the author of this memoir will be found in the Obituary of the Gent. Mag. vol. xcvi. pt. i. p. 180). He be
have been informed that their supposed busts, in front of Nottingham Castle, together with the equestrian alto-relievo of the Duke, were destroyed during the late riots. A gentleman who was at the spot on the morning after the fire, found that the busts were already gone; but part of the horse and rider remained, which a mau was busy knocking to pieces, sitting upon it, regardless (like the feilow on Hogarth's sign-post) that it would fall with him. The head was sold to some person. The shell of the house is still standing. EDIT.
That electrical experiments should at that time have occasioned wonder in a country village, is not surprising. When any of Mr. Wheler's scientific friends visited him, it was given out by the neighbours that "some conjurations were carrying on in the tower!" + See a memoir of this gentleman in Gent. Mag. vol. xcix. ii. 88. The Rev. John Tattersall, who married Mrs. Wheler (see the pedigree), was his elder brother.
Notes to the Pedigree.
The children of Granville Medhurst, Esq. were four sons: 1. William Medhurst, Esq. residing in Sicily, 2. Francis, died at sea; 3. Augustus, died 1830; 4. the Rev. Charles Medhurst, Vicar of Ledsham, co. York, living 1832; and two daughters: 1. CatherineSarah-Anne, living 1882, who married the Rev. B. Einmaurson; and 2. Maria.
The children of Granville C. S. Menteath, Esq. are five sons: 1. James-Stuart Menteath; 2. Thomas-Stuart; 3. Charles-Stuart; 4. Francis-Stuart, living 1882; 5. Granville-Stuart; and two daughters: 1. Philadelphia, who married, May 1827, John-FrancisMiller Erskine, Earl of Marr, born 1795, living 1832; 2. Ludovicia :-both living 1832.