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imposed upon us by the Egyptians, and shall we suifer ourselves to be made slaves by Moses? If we inust have a master, it were better to return to Pharaoh, who at least fed us with bread and onions, than to serve this new tyrant, who by his operations has brought us into danger of famine.' Then they called in question the reality of his conferences with God : and objected to the privacy of the meeting, and the preventing any of the people from being present at the colloquies, or even approaching the place, as grounds of great suspicion. They accused Moses also of peculation; as embezzling part of the golden spoons and the silver chargers, That the princes had offered at the dedication of the altar,* and the offerings of gold by the common people, as well as most of the poll-tax ;$ and Aaron they accused of pocketing much of the gold of which he pretended to have made a molten calf. Besides peculation, they charged Moses with ambition ; tu gratify which passion, he had, they said, deceived the people, lry promising to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey: instead of doing which, he had brought them from such a land; and that he ihought light of all this mischief, provided he could make himself an absolute prince.lt That to support the new dignity with splendour in his family, the partial poll-tax already levied and given to Aarong was to be followed by a general one, which would probably be augmented from time to time, if he were suffered to go on promulgating new laws on pretence of new occasional revelations of the Divine will, till their whole fortunes were devored by that aristocracy.”
* Numbers, chap. vii.
Numbers, chap. iii. and Exodus, chap. XXX. ll Numbers, chap. xvi. ver. 13. “Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in this wilderness, except that thou make thyself alotgether a prince over us.' $ Numbers, chap. iii.
1 Exodus, chap. XXX.
Moses denied the charge of peculation; and his accusers were destitute of proofs to support it; though facts, if real, are in their nature capable of proof. “I have not,'' said he, (with holy confidence in the presence of God,)“ I have not taken from this people the value of an ass, nor done them any other injury." But his enemies had made the charge, and with some success among the populace ; for no kind of accusation is so readily made, or easily believed by knaves, as the accusation of knavery:
In, fine, no less than two hundred and fifty of the principal men, “famous in the congregation, men of renown,'* heading and exciting the moh, worked them up to such a pitch of frenzy, that they called out, Stone 'em, stone 'em, and thereby secure our liberties; and let us choose other captains, that they may lead us back into Egypt, in case we do not succeed in reducing the Canaanites.
On the whole, it appears that the Israelites were a people jealous of their new-acquired liberty, which jealousy was in itself no fault : but that, when they suffered it to be worked upon by artiul men, pretend. ing public good, with nothing really in view but private interest, they were led to oppose the establishinent of the new constitution, whereby they brought upon themselves much inconvenience and misfortune. It farther appears from the same inestimable history, that when, after many ages, the constitution had become old and much abused, and an amendinent of it was proposed, the populace, as they had accused Moses of the ambition of making himself a prince, and cried out, Stone him, stone him; so, excited by their high priests and scribes, they exclaimed against the Messiah, that he aimed at becoming king of the Jews, and cried, Crucify him, crucify him. From all which we may gather, that popular opposition to a public measure is no proof of its im. propriety, even though the opposition be excited and headed by men of distinction.
Numbers, chap. xvi.
To conclude, I beg I may not be understood to infer that our general convention was divinely inspired when it formed the new federal constitution, merely because that constitution has been unreasonably and vehemently opposed; yet I must own, I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence, that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance to the welfare of mil. lions now existing, and to exist in the posterity of a great nation, should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler, in whom all inferior spirits, live, and move, and have their being.
THOUGH Britain bestows more attention to trade than any other nation, and though it be the general opinion, that the safety of their state depends upon her navy alone; yet it seems not a little extraordinary, that most of the great improvements in ship-building have originated abroad. The best sailing vessels in the royal navy have in general been French prizes. This, though it may admit of exceptions, cannot be upon the whole disputed.
Nor is Britaiu entirely inattentive to naval architecture; though it is no where scientifically tanght, and those who devise improvements have seldom an opportunity of bringing them into practice. What a pity it is that no contrivance should be adopted, for concentrating the knowledge that different individuals attain in this art into one common focus, if the expression may be admitted. Our endeavours shall not be wanting to collect together, in the best way we can, the scattered hints that shall occur under this bead, not doubting but the public will receive with
favour this humble attempt to waken the attention to & subject of such great national importance.
Dr. Franklin, among the other inquiries that had engaged his attention, during a long life spent in the uninterrupted pursuit of useful improvements, did not let this escape his notice; and many useful bints, tending to perfect the art of navigation, and to melive rate the condition of seafaring people, occur in his work. In France, the art of constructing ships bas long been a favourite study, and many improvements in that branch have originated with them Among the last of the Frenchmen, who have made any considerable improvement in this respect, is M. le Roy, who has constructed a vessel well adapted to sail in rivers, where the depth of water is inconsiderable, and that yet was capable of being navigated at sea with great ease. This he effected in a great measure by the particular mode of rigging, which gave the mariners much greater power over the vessel than they could have when of the usual construction.
I do not hear that this improvement has in any case been adopted in Britain. But the advantages that would result from having a vessel of small draught of water to sail with the same steadiness, and to lie equally near the wind, as one may do that is sharper built, are so obvious, that many persons have been desirous of falling upon some way to 'effect it. About London, this las been attempted by means of lee boards, (a contrivance now so generally known as not to require to be here particularly described,) and not without effect. But these are subject to certain inconveniences, that render the use of them in many cases ineligible.
Others have attempted to effect the purpose by building vessels with more than one keel; and this contrivance, when adopted upon proper principles, promises to be attended with the happiest effects. But hitherto that seems to have been scarcely advert. ed to Time will be necessary to eradicale common notions of very old standing, before this can be eflectually done.
Mr. W. Brodie, ship-master in Leith, has lately adopted a coptrivance for this purpose, that seems to
be at the same time very simple and extremely efficacious. Necessity, in this case, as in many others,
was the mother of invention. He had a small, flat, El ill-built boat, which was so ill constructed as scarce*ly to admit of carrying a bit of sail on any occasion, # and which was at the same time so heavy to be row
ed, that he found great difficulty in using it for his
This gentleman one day carried me out with him in his boat to try it. We made two experiments. At first, with a moderate breeze, when the moveable keels were kept up, the boat when laid as near the wind as it could go, made an angle with the wake of about tbirty degrees; but when the keels were let down, the same angle did not exceed five or six degrees; being nearly parallel with the course.