« 이전계속 »
Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c.
This Journal is supplied Weekly, or Monthly, by the principal Booksellers and Newsmen, throughout the Kingdom; but to those who may desire
its immediate transmission, by post, we recommend the LITERARY GAZETTE, printed on stamped paper, price One Shilling,
SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 1831.
vation of copper sheathing for shipping:- -in REVIEW OF NEW BOOKS.
The admirers of the profound philosopher in all these cases, and many others that might be after-life will scarcely be prepared to learn, Memoirs of the Life of Sir Humphry Davy, mentioned, it would be difficult to say whether from the memoir before us, that at the age of
Bart., late President of the Royal Society, the inventive genius that could first wing its eight years “ he was a great lover of the mar. fc. ge. By J. A. Paris, M.D., F.R.S. way into these untrodden fields of science, or yellous, and amused himself and his school. Āto. °London, 1831. Colburn and Bentley. the ingenuity and marvellous accuracy with fellows by composing stories of romance and The name of Davy will remain associated with which those experiments were conducted to tales of chivalry, with all the fluency of an a bright era of English history so long as Science their ultimate results, are most entitled to the Italian improvisatore ; and joyfully would he shall maintain her empire among civilised na- admiration and the gratitude of posterity. have issued forth, armed cap-à-pie, in search tions. If the same page blazon forth the actions Having received, at a late bour, only a of adventures, and to free the world of dra. of brave men, who, in the discharge of their portion of the work of Dr. Paris (in sheets), gons and giants." The doctor proceeds, in . duty, have been compelled to study the de- we can scarcely be called upon, in our present his natural enthusiasm for the subject of his struction of their species ; how far greater are Number, to offer any decided opinion on its memoir, to institute a comparison, which we the claims to a niche in the temple of Fame, merits. We shall therefore confine ourselves do not deem altogether felicitous : « In this of men whose whole lives were devoted to the to the selection of such extracts from the first early fondness for fiction,” says he, and extension of the boundaries of science, and to portion of the volume as relate to the earlier in the habit of exercising his ingenuity in the improvement of their fellow-men ? period of the extraordinary character whose creating imagery for the gratification of his Althongh the annals of science, in almost memoirs it records.
fancy, Davy and Sir Walter Scott greatly reevery European language during the last thirty The late “ Humphry Davy (says his bio- sembled each other. . : ... Had not Davy's years, have preserved sufficient testimonials of grapher) was born at the town of Penzance, talents been diverted into other channels, who the varied and splendid discoveries of the late in Cornwall, on the 17th of December, 1788. can say that we might not have received from President of the Royal Society; yet the friends His ancestors had long possessed a small estate bis inventive pen a series of romantic tales, as of such objects as it is the charter of our Literary at Varfell, in the parish of Ludgvan, in the beautifully illustrative of the early history of Gazette to advance, must hail with satisfaction Mount's Bay, on which they resided.” his native country as are the Waverley Novels the appearance of a work like the volume The infantile years of those individuals who of that of Scotland ?--for Cornwall is by no before us,- a work destined to occupy a become distinguished in after-life are not in ge- means deficient in elfin sprites and busy prominent place in every select library in the neral sufficiently indicative of that genius or pe- pixeys;' the invocation is alone required to United Kingdom. It would perhaps be diffi- culiar bias which it is usually the pride of the summon them from their dark recesses and cult to find any living individual better quali- historian to investigate ; but young Davy seems mystic abodes." fied, in all respects, than Dr. Paris, to transmit to have exhibited a remarkable instance of pre- Who would not have had cause to regret, down to posterity a faithful picture of the per- cocious talent. His biographer rather gran- had the splendid genius of Davy been thus sonal and scientific career of the late Sir Hum- diloquently observes : “have spared no pains diverted" from the invaluable and inexphry Davy. With the facilities afforded by in collecting materials for the illustration haustible_fields of philosophy for those of long personal friendship, local residence, and of the earlier periods of his history; for to poesy? The days are gone past when we have consequent access to the best sources for infor- estimate the magnitude of an object we must any right to expect universal genius in one mation, coupled, in no ordinary degree, with measure the base with accuracy, in order to individual. An Admirable Crichton can no a certain unity of pursuits and studies be-comprehend the elevation of its summit. Young longer be found in society, since the infinite tween the biographer and the subject of his Davy was first placed at a preparatory semi- subdivision and refinement of modern litebiography, - we should have been grievously nary kept by a Nr. Bushell, who was so struck rature and science. For this reason, theredisappointed to have found the Life” of Sir with the progress he made, that he urged his fore, we shall pass over sundry pages of ju. H. Davy any thing short of a highly interest- father to remove him to a superior school. It venile poetry given by the biographer as a ing personal memoir, as well as an able and is a fact worthy of being recorded, that he specimen of the ardour with which young learned commentary on the progress of phy- would, at the age of about five years, turn over Davy wooed the Muses among the romantic sical science during the first quarter of the the pages of a bouk as rapidly as if he were scenery which surrounds the place of his nanineteenth century.
merely engaged in counting the number of tivity. The discoveries of Davy in chemistry were leaves, or in hunting after pictures ; and yet, At the age of sixteen, it seems the future as multifarious as they were important. We on being questioned, he could generally give a P. R. A. was articled to Mr. John Borlase, a have neither leisure nor space, in our mis- very satisfactory account of the contents. I respectable surgeon of Penzance; but it does cellaneous columns, to offer any thing in the have been informed by Lady Davy, that the not appear that be ever evinced any attachshape of even a brief catalogue of his splendid same faculty was retained by him through ment to the profession, except in so far as the researches. Whether we take into account the life, and that she has often been astonished be dispensation of medicines at first directed his vast advantages which have accrued in the yond the power of expression, at the rapidity attention to chemical pursuits, though he had department of agriculture, from his elaborate with which he read a work, and the accuracy shewn previously a strong bias for miscellaneexperiments in 1804 and 1805), on the nature with which he remembered it.
ous science. and application of manures, and correcting “Mr. Children has also communicated to “ While with Mr. Borlase (says Dr. P.) it the sterility of different soils, --- his admirable me an anecdote which may be related in illus- was his constant custom to walk in the evening experiments (which are recorded in the first tration of the same quality. Shortly after Dr. to Merezion, to drink tea with an aunt, to part of the Philosophical Transactions for 1807) Murray had published his System of Chemistry, whom he was greatly attached. Upon such on the decomposition of the acids by galvanic Davy accompanied Mr. Children in an excur- occasions, his usual companion was a hammer, agency,—his masterly application of the same sion' to Tunbridge, and the new work was with which he procured specimens from the gigantic agent in effecting the ultimate analysis placed in the carriage. During the occasional rocks on the beach. In short, it would appear of bodies which had been considered by all pre- intervals in which their conversation was gus- that at this period he paid much more attention ceding chemists to be absolutely simple alkaline pended, Davy was seen turning over the leaves to philosophy than to physic; that he thought substances, - or the various and beautiful re- of the book, but his companion did not believe more of the bowels of the earth than of the searches on the nature of flame, which led to it possible that he could have made himself stomachs of his patients; and that when he the invention of the safety-lamp, or the dif- acquainted with any part of its contents, until should have been bleeding the sick, he was ferent power of attraction manifested by differ. at the close of the journey he surprised him opening veins in the granite. Instead of preent metals for oxygen, which led to the preser-I with a critical opinion of its merits." paring medicines in the surgery, he was expe
rimenting in Mr. Tonkin's garret, which had existence of pain, whenever the energies of the can have any conception. To say nothing of now become the scene of his chemical ope- mind were directed to counteract it ; but, he more obvious difficulties, the errors of public rations; and upon more than one occasion, it added, “I very shortly afterwards had an op- records, the concealments of pride and folly, is said that he produced an explosion which portunity of witnessing a practical refutation the perversions of affection on the one hand, put the doctor and all his glass bottles in of this doctrine in his own person ; for upon and of malice on the other, and worse, because jeopardy., * This boy Humphry is incorri- being bitten by a conger eel, my young friend more provoking than all
, the obstinate silence gible. Was there ever so idle a dog? He will Humphry roared out most lustily.'”
of indifference and apathy, frequently combine blow us all into the air. Such were the con. We have given the preceding anecdotes from to render the biographer, like the unfortunate stant exclamations of Mr. Tonkin; and then, the earlier portion of Dr. Paris's work, not less Othello,“ perplexed in the extreme.” But if in a jocose strain, he would speak of him as with the view of diversifying our graver ex- this be the case with a single biography, pre
the philosopher,' and sometimes call him Sir tracts, than from the conviction that the inte- pared at leisure, from a profusion of materials, Humphry, as if prophetic of his future rest which attaches to the very minutiæ of by a writer who probably had an intimate
character is in proportion to the celebrity of knowledge of his subject, how much more The following extract shews that young the individual in after-life, and not from the must it be so with a publication such as that Davy not only pursued chemistry and miner- intrinsic importance of the events recorded. under our notice, consisting of numerous me. alogy, but that he also laboured hard to over. It is always delightful to trace those latent moirs, brought out with rapidity, in the comcome a natural impediment of speech, by fol- springs of human action, which, in the buoy- pilation of which little assistance is to be ex. lowing the celebrated prescription of Demos- ancy of the youthful mind, give a tone or bias pected from private sources, and the editor of thenes :
towards certain pursuits, regarded by no small which can, of course, only occasionally have “ It was Davy's great delight to ramble along portion of mankind as a species of destiny. enjoyed the advantage of a personal acquaintthe sea-shore, and often, like the orator of But our limits compel us to refer our readers ance with those, the chief incidents of whose Athens, would he on such occasions declaim to the work itself, for many interesting passages lives he is suddenly required to narrate. against the howling of the wind and waves, connected with those general developements of Yet, notwithstanding such difficulties, we with a view to overcome a defect in his voice; genius which distinguished the early career of can most truly say we never witnessed any which, although only slightly perceptible in his Davy; while we offer a few extracts relative to task performed in a more landable spirit than maturer age, was in the days of his boyhood the specific tendency of his mind in those pur. the present volume--or rather than all the recent exceedingly discordant. I may, perhaps, be suits which have enrolled his name among the volumes of this excellent work. Executed with allowed to observe, that the peculiar intonation benefactors of our species.
sound discretion and in the most correct style he employed in his public addresses, and which “ As far as can be ascertained,” says our (for the language is generally a model of good rendered him obnoxious to the charge of affec- author," one of the first original experiments English), we recognise in all these memoirs tation, was to be referred to a laborious effort in chemistry performed by young Davy at Pen- that just medium, between fond panegyric and to conceal this natural infirmity. It was also zance, was for the purpose of discovering the illiberal blame, which ought to belong to conclear that he was deficient in that quality which quality of the air contained in the bladders of temporary biography. An honest and manly is commonly called a good ear, and with sea-weed, in order to obtain results in support feeling pervades the whole; and it is imposwhich the modulation of the voice is gene- of a favourite theory of light; and to ascertain sible to read the book without being made rally acknowledged to have an obvious con- whether, as land vegetables are the renovators sensible that there is a right-mindedness, as nexion. Those who knew him intimately will of the atmosphere of land animals, sea-veget- well as a candid humanity of disposition, in the readily bear testimony to this fact. Whenever ables might not be the preservers of the equi. author, which peculiarly qualify him for the he was deeply absorbed in a chemical research, librium of the atmosphere of the ocean. From duty he in every other respect so ably disit was his habit to hum some tune, if such it these experiments, he concluded that the dif- charges. Of the eighteen principal memoirs could be called, for it was impossible for any ferent orders of the marine cryptogamia were of which the volume consists, the longest and one to discover the air he intended to sing : capable of decomposing water, when assisted most important are those of George IV., Sir indeed Davy's music became a subject of rail. by the attraction of light by oxygen." The T. Lawrence, and Mr. Huskisson; in the first, lery amongst his friends ; and Mr. Children refined character of these chemical inquiries the character of the deceased monarch is drawn informs me, that during an excursion, they and experiments, for a youth of seventeen or with a masterly and impartial hand; in that attempted to teach him the air of God save the eighteen years of age, is still more extraordi- of the late president, we find many circumKing; but their efforts were perfectly unavail. nary, when we are told, that “ his instruments stances of novelty, especially bis addresses on ing.
were of the rudest description, manufactured several occasions to the students of the Royal " It may be a question," continues his bio- by himself out of the motley materials which Academy; and in the last mentioned, the acgrapher, “how far the following fact with chance threw in his way; the pots and pans of count of the parliamentary and political career which I have just been made acquainted, ad- the kitchen, and even the more sacred vessels of Mr. Huskisson is the produce of much remits of exp'.nation upon this principle (want and professional instruments of his surgery search and labour. We will, however, take of ear). On entering a volunteer infantry were, without the least hesitation or remorse, our exemplification from another sketch. corps, commanded by a Captain Ocnam, Davy put in requisition.”
Of Major-General David Stewart, the cele. could never emerge from the awkward squad; Dr. Paris justly attributes the extraordinary brated “ Garth,” a man who was in Scotland no pains could make him keep the step; and inventive talent that Davy manifested in the universally, and in England very generally, those who were so unfortunate as to stand be construction of chemical apparatus, and in known, and who, by all who knew him, was fore him in the ranks, ought to have been he- which he was altogether unrivalled, to his li- admired, respected, and beloved, the volume roes invulnerable in the heel. This incapacity, mited means in early life. “Had he," says the contains an interesting memoir, which the as may be readily supposed, occasioned him biographer," been furnished with all these ap- editor states has been principally derived from considerable annoyance; and he engaged a ser- pliances which he enjoyed at a later period, an Edinburgh journal, entitled “ The North geant to give him private lessons ; but all to no he never could have acquired that tact of ma- Briton.” After briefly describing General purpose. In the platoon exercise he was not nipulation so as to meet and surmount the dif- Stewart's brilliant professional exploits, from more expert: and he whose electric battery ficulties which must ever beset the philosopher his entrance into the army in 1789, until the was destined to triumph over the animosity of in the unbeaten tracts of science.”
severe wounds which he received at the menations, could never be taught to shoulder a Qur limits compel us to defer noticing the morable battle of Maida (where his regiment, musket in his native town."
more valuable portion of this interesting vo- the 78th, so greatly distinguished itseli) com“ That Davy, in his youth, possessed courage lume to our next No.
pelled him to retire upon half-pay, the memoir and decision, may be inferred from the circum.
proceeds as follows: stance of his having, upon receiving a bite from The Annual Obituary and Biography. 1831. Having thus given a rapid outline of Ge. a dog supposed to be rabid, taken his pocket- Vol. XV. 8vo. pp. 508. London, Long- neral Stewart's military career, it becomes our knife, and without the least hesitation cut out man and Co.
duty to say a few words of him in another the part on the spot, and then retired into the BIOGRAPHY, although one of the most pleasing capacity, namely, in that of author. But here it surgery and cauterised the wound, -an opera- and instructive, has always appeared to us to will not be necessary to detain the reader long; tion which confined him to Mr. Tonkin's house be one of the most arduous and delicate species for to expatiate on the merits of a book so well for three weeks. The gentleman from whom of literary composition; and some recent expe- known, and so universally admired, as his I received an account of this adventure, the rience upon the subject confirms us in that Sketches of the Character, Manners, and accuracy of which has been since confirmed by opinion. Of the obstacles which oppose them- present State of the Highlanders of Scotland, Davy's sister, also told me, that he had fre- selves to obtaining accurate information re. with Details of the Military Service of the quently heard him declare his disbelief in the specting any individual, no uninitiated person Highland Regiments,' would be equally superfluous and impertinent. The circumstances of his elder brother, put General Stewart in testants, were nearly completed ; a wharf, the under which it was undertaken were explicitly possession of the family estate of Garth. To a only one in the island, was about half finished ; stated in a preface; towards the conclusion of person less distinguished than he had now be- and from the 10th of November to the 6th of which, the general expressed his hope that he come, the succession to a property considerable December, when they were to leave off for the should meet with the indulgence of the candid in its extent, and inherited through a line of season, no fewer than 1350 persons had been reader, in consideration of his great and anx. ancestors worthy of such a representative, would busily at work making roads. Before the geneious desire to do the subject justice. In that have conferred that rank and estimation which ral's arrival there was not a mile of cart or car. anticipation he was not disappointed. The the world in general, but, above all, the people riage way in the country, except what the unanimous suffrage of the public decreed that of Scotland, attach to the hereditary proprietor planters had made for conveying their sugars he had done the subject justice;' and, more- of a landed estate. But General Stewart had to the sea-side; the natural consequence of aver, that he had produced one of the most established for himself a character with the which was, that the cultivation of the interior interesting and instructive narratives that ever world, to which the mere acquisition of a pa- of the island was wholly neglected, and the were written, besides furnishing a manual of trimonial inheritance much more valuable than insalubrity of the climate thereby increased. lessons and examples, not for the Highland that which thus descended to him could add no Four bridges had also been contracted for, and soldiers alone, but for the whole British army. consideration ; and it is only necessary to refer five more were to have been built in the course But it is principally in the introductory chap- to this part of his life, because he was now ex- of the last year. Nor, while labouring to conters on the character, manners, and, above all, posed to the temptations arising from an income struct inland communication, did General Stew. the present state of the Highlanders, that we which, although sufficient for his exemplary art overlook an improvement which was still recognise in the writer strong touches and habits of life, was narrow compared with what more imperiously called for, in the administratraces of the man. General Stewart had been many in his rank and station enjoyed, to swerve tion of justice. On his arrival, he found the an attentive and anxious observer of the in practice from those principles which he had old French laws still in force, and the courts changes produced in the Highlands, in order to so powerfully advocated as to the management in the most degraded, if not corrupt, state. give effect to what was called the new system: of Highland estates. But he was not of a His first care was to set about reforming the he had seen whole glens depopulated at one fell mould to yield to such temptations; and the one, and placing the other upon a more efficient swoop, to make way for sheep, the new tenants tenants on the estate of Garth will long remem- and respectable footing; and in this difficult of the mountain wildernesses and solitudes : he ber and bless his memory, for the kind-hearted but necessary task he had made considerable had marked the gradual disappearance of the and considerate application to them of that progress, when, on the 18th of December, 1829, ancient race, under a system of wholesale in- wise and humane course which he had recom- death put a period to his active and useful lanovation, or, we should rather say, proscrip-mended to others, and the departure from bours. But he has not gone altogether without tion : he had witnessed the uprooting, as it which it was so much the object of his work to his reward. By these efforts for the improve. were, of the aboriginal population from the condemn. The success of his work, and an ment and prosperity of the people over whom soil, and the utter annihilation of the last ardent desire to do justice to the history and he was placed, not less than by his babitual remnants of those feelings and attachments, character of the Highland clans, induced him, kindness and attention to every one who came which sprang from the ancient system of pa- about this time, to collect materials for a history within his notice, he secured the esteem and triarchal brotherhood, and stamped the High- of the memorable rebellion in 1745 and 1746. regard of all; while his unexpected and lamented land character with all its distinguishing pe- This work he did not live to complete. But death plunged the whole island in mourning, culiarities : he knew that all this overturning he devoted much time to gather from the best and affected every one as if he had been stricken and desolation had been caused by a raging sources all that tradition, and the papers of the by a domestic calamity. Never did I before thirst of gain; the burning fever produced by Highland families implicated in the events of witness,' says a friend, in a letter from St. Luwhich had extinguished or overpowered every those years, had recorded. In the year 1823, cia, such general feelings of distress in any kindlier feeling or emotion : he had been a he made a tour through the Highland counties community, as this melancholy event has occa. frequent and heart-wrung spectator of the im- and the Western Isles on this errand. There sioned here. Every one is sensitively alive to mediate misery caused by these changes ; and were, however, many difficulties to prevent the the irreparable loss the colony has sustained by many a time and oft had'he shed a manly tear, satisfactory performance of the duties of the the death of David Stewart.' And, as a farther as he beheld the poor disconsolate emigrants bistorian of that civil war. He not only did proof of the esteem in which he was held in the marching to the sea-shore, to shake the dust of not complete the task which he contemplated, West Indies, it may be mentioned here, that, their native land from off their feet, while the but it is doubtful whether, even if his life had on the death of Sir Charles Brisbane, governor wailing tones of the bag-pipes, playing the been prolonged, he would ever have resumed of St. Vincent, a number of the most respectmournful air of Ha til mi tulidh, echoed the it. The appointment of General Stewart to able inhabitants sent a vessel express to St. feelings and emotions of their bursting hearts. be governor and commander-in-chief of the Lucia, with a letter, urging General Stewart to But sentiment alone had not swayed him, or island of St. Lucia gave great satisfaction to make immediate application for the government obtained the mastery over his judgment. He his friends, as a proof that his merits were of that island. For many reasons he declined had anxiously watched the progress of the new not altogether overlooked by the government; complying with their request, though he could system, examined it in all its details, and cau- but there were a few, who, on his departure, not possibly be insensible to the compliment tiously noted the effects of which it was pro- bade him in their minds an eternal farewell, implied in it. The illness which preceded the ductive; and the result of the whole was a never expecting to see him more. It was melancholy event was one of great severity, and deep conviction that it was not more illusory doubtless true that he had been in the West of eight or ten days' duration. As we have in its promises of profit, than destructive of the Indies twice before, and had escaped the ma- already observed, subsequently to his arrival in happiness of the people, and injurious to the lignant effects of the deleterious climate of St. Lucia, the general had two several attacks best interests of his country. This conviction, those regions ; but it was equally true that of during the second of which his life accordingly, he proclaimed, reckless of all con- he had been long at home, accustomed to was for many hours despaired of ; but a sound sequences to bimself; and although economists enjoy the comforts and luxuries of refined and vigorous constitution at length prevailed, and others have contested his principles, none society, and to breathe the pure air of his and his health was, to all appearance, pretty have as yet dared to challenge a single one of native mountains; that he was well advanced well established. The dregs of this second the many striking and indisputable facts by in life, and that his constitution could scarcely attack, however, appear never to have been which those principles are sustained and up be expected to possess the same accommodat- thoroughly eleared away; and there obviously held. This work, as may easily be conceived, ing power as when he was in the heyday remained inrking in his constitution, and liable added greatly to the general's reputation, and of youth. Accordingly, not long after his arri- to be excited into fatal activity by a maligprobably contributed to his subsequent pro- val, he was seized with the fever of the coun. nant climate, the elements of that mortal dismotion. In fact, testimonies of approbation try; and the first attack was, after a short ease, which ultimately deprived his country of crowded in upon him from all quarters; among interval, succeeded by a second, which had well his valuable services, and humanity of one of which were letters from his late Royal High nigh carried him off at once, and which unques- its proudest ornaments. This is apparent from ness the Duke of York, and from his present tionably laid the foundation of the disease that an incidental hint in a letter written by his majesty, filled with the most flattering en- at length terminated his active, useful, and own hand, so late as the 5th of December, comiums, and anxiously urging the gallant spotless career. But, notwithstanding all this, 1829, only thirteen days before his death, and author to undertake a history, upon the the improvements he had commenced or pro- addressed to a friend in London : for although same plan, of the whole British army. Not jected afford a striking proof of his vigour of be concludes it by saying that every body is many months after the publication of his mind, und honourable zeal in the discharge of keeping in good health here," he at the same work on the Highlands, the death of his his duty. At the time of his death, two time admits that he is himself suffering great father, which was speedily followed by that churches, one for Catholics and one for Pro- annoyance from a boil deep-seated in his ear ;
and, in point of fact, the excitement and irrita
Ireland nor Great Britain could have been as tion produced by this very boil (a consequence
Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Corre. they are now. probably of the former attack) affected the
spondence of James Currie, M.D. F.R.S.
“ Two countries have already been incor. brain, and finally proved the cause of death.
of Liverpool, fc. fc. Edited by his Son, porated with England, Wales and Scotland ;
W. Wallace Currie. 2 vols. 8vo. London, and the effect of the union on the one and the There can be little doubt, also, that his unsparing, uncalculating activity, and the con
1831. Longman and Co.
other has been very different. Wales was stant exertion, if not anxiety of mind, occa- THOUGH the life of the biographer of Burns united to England in the barbarous ages. Her sioned by superintending the multitude of re- seemed in itself to be a literary desideratum, own institutions, of whatever rude nature, were forms and improvements which he had set on we confess that while we perused more than the beaten down, and no others substituted. No foot, and which, at the time of his demise, first half of the first volume of these memoirs, means were used to instruct the people in the were advancing rapidly to completion, must we could not but feel that the particulars were common language of the island, or to improve have contributed, in no small degree, to stimu- dwelt upon rather more at length than the their habits in any respect. Hence the pea. late the action of the morbid tendencies en nature of the information given could well santry of Wales are essentially different from gendered by his former illness, and to cut warrant. And now, after coming to the end the English, unfit to enter into competition short a life which had been continually spent of the second volume, though much relieved by with them, and, in fact, an inferior race. in doing good. He died, as he had lived, the greater interest of all the latter parts, we They are destitute in general of the first nobly, retaining his senses to the last, and are still of opinion that the filial piety of the elements of knowledge, and, in their habits evincing that calm fortitude and resignation editor has led him to produce a larger work and turn of mind, the same in a great many with which the brave and the good meet death. than the fugitive taste of the public, pampered respects (some of which I will enumerate to you) · His end,' says a friend, ' was like that of the by epitomes and condensations, and spoilt by as they were three hundred years ago. But Í blessed, calm and serene,-without a struggle light and frivolous reading, will relish so well wish you to inquire into their condition peror a sigh, passing from time to eternity. After as a more limited performance. Yet, notwith-sonally, on your way to Liverpool, which, if you what has been said, it would be a vain and standing this, there is so much of sterling value land at Holyhead, you may easily do ; and it superfluous task to dilate on the merits, or in his labours, and they address so extensive a will be worth your while to devote a few days attempt an elaborate sketch of the character of class of intelligent men, that we cannot doubt to the subject. During the period that Wales this truly brave and excellent man. As a of their ample success.
has been represented in the imperial parliament, soldier, he distinguished himself wherever an The late Dr. Currie was a person of a strong not a single step has been taken for the civilisaopportunity was afforded him, and was ever mind, as well as of a fine imagination-a sound tion of the people. It happened that the Scottish ready, at the call of his country, to face danger, head and a good heart. His active and useful parliament established a system for the education and fight her battles, in any quarter of the life, together with his literary productions, of all classes of society, particularly of the poor, world. As a citizen, and above all, as a made him one of an influential circle, whether during the days of the Solemn League and country gentleman, he was distinguished for considered as citizens or authors—and we may Covenant. The restoration of the Stuarts overhis public spirit, his active patriotism, and the indeed say, one of the most distinguished of that turned this system, as well as the present church zeal and perseverance with which he promoted circle. His medical, political, and biographical establishment. Both were recovered on the and carried through whatever he deemed cal- writings were all extremely popular ; and he Revolution, at least in the year 1696. In culated to add to the comfort or advance the enjoyed, both among those to whom his abilities consequence, both were incorporated into the welfare of the district in which he resided. were best known, and in the general world, a union, though neither was formed in contemAs a man, he was the kindest, the gentlest, the deservedly high reputation. It is right to pre- plation of it. Had it not been for this circum
best : without guile himself, and unsuspicious serve the remains of such a man, even though stance, can it be supposed that Scotland would . of it in other men : free from all manner of some of the topics which engaged his reflections now possess a school establishmeut ? Never.
envy and uncharitableness ; upright, generous, have passed away; and in these volumes will The high church prejudices of the English and friendly almost to a fault; and probably be found much to admire, and much to apply hierarchy would have prevented it. Yet it is more generally esteemed and beloved than to the present and future times.
by this institution that the Scotch have been any other man of his time. On looking around, We cannot in this Gazette enter upon the civilised-by this, in a great measure, have they therefore, we despair finding any one to fill correspondence relative to the Life of Burns ; been enabled to receive any positive advantage the space occupied by him. Many there doubt. nor tell more of Dr. Currie's own life, than that from the union. Now you see what I would less are with more showy pretensions ; not a he was a native of Annandale; born 31st May, be at. Propose, for God's sake, some system few, perhaps, who, in several points, excelled 1756 ; went early in a mercantile capacity to of education for your poor in the first instance, him. But, taking him for all in all,- his America, whence he was driven by the revolu- and let it be incorporated with your union. sterling worth, his undisputed talents, his tion; returned to Scotland ; studied medicine You are going to incorporate your church estainnate goodness, his unquenchable desire to with éclat in Edinburgh ; settled as a physician blishment, which will entail many curses on the confer benefits upon mankind, and particularly at Liverpool, where he practised with fame and country. For mercy's sake, think of incorpo. upon those whom ordinary minds regard with credit for many years; and died of a con- rating some system of instruction !" coolness and aversion,-we shall never look sumptive complaint at Sidmouth, Devonshire, Is it too late to reflect on this admirable ad. upon his like again. To the friendless he August 31, 1805, aged forty-nine years. vice? The subjoined brief passage, in a letter always proved himself a friend ; and misfor. It happens that biographical writing has of to Hector Macneill, will find an echo and a sigh tune claimed, not his pity alone, but his pro- late occupied a good deal of our attention ; and in every breast which has had its pristine astection. Straight-forward himself, he hated we shall commenceour illustrations of Dr. Currie pirations, its freshness and glow, its hopes and all manner of dissimulation or chicanery in with an extract upon that subject, coxtained in fancies, choked and destroyed by the necessary others ; and oppression of any sort he failed a letter soon after the Life of Burns appeared. toils and business of the world. not to denounce with an honest indignation " I long (he says) to hear what you think of “ I am happy you find Grassmere so delightthat never calculated the consequences to him- my biography. If I have softened somewhat the ful. I once possessed a cast of mind that would self. In a word, he combined the sterner deep shade of his errors, you will not find, I trust, have participated, in a high degree, in your previrtues with the gentler charities and affections that I have compromised the interests of virtue. sent enjoyments. But whether I now in of our nature in such a happy union, that he Burns is not held up for imitation, but the con- reality possess it, I do not know; for I never may be said to have approached as nearly to trary; though I have endeavoured to do justice enjoy that blessed vacuity that gives the imthe character of a perfectly wise and good man to his talents and to the better qualities of his pressions of nature fair play. I have got into as it is possible in the present imperfect state heart, and to cast a veil of delicacy and of sym- a state which makes me fully sensible of fato arrive at."
pathy over his failings and his destiny. In this tigue, while yet I find inoccupation intolerable ; This is the fifteenth volume. Of a few of way I am disposed to think the cause of virtue and the gleams of imagination which visit me the most distinguished individuals whose me- is best consulted. It is thus, I would persuade are faint and feeting, except those visitings moirs have, during the progress of the work, myself, that the melancholy precepts of example which intrude on my sleep. I wish, for the been included in its pages, separate accounts, are best inculcated on the feeling heart." experiment's sake, I was with you for a few necessarily more copious, have since appeared : We so entirely concur in the right feeling of days at present; I should enjoy your party ex. but, with reference to the great mass of the this passage, that we would adopt its sentiments tremely.” subjects comprehended in its scope, we can as a test of biography, from T. Moore to the late The following is also a beautiful feeling, safely say it contains a body of interesting in- Juvenile Library.
when threatened too surely with a premature formation which is no where else to be found The following on the Irish Union, and ad- grave. in a combined form, and which must give it a dressed to an Irish member in 1800, strikes us “ Be assured I am not low, nor at all un. continually increasing value.
very forcibly: had it had its due weight, neither happy. I have not tasted the cup of life
unembittered; but certainly it has come to my | The Cabinet Cyclopædia, fc. Natural Phi.modify the slightest movement of the vast malips a grateful beverage. I have a home that
chinery he sees in action around him, must is very dear to me; my domestic circle even
losophy. A Preliminary Discourse.
By improves : I have friends that are very dear to
J. F. w. Herschel, Esq. London, 1831. tension, no less than confidence of hope, is
effectually convince him that humility of preme— friends of whom any man might be proud.
Longman and Co.
what best becomes his character. But while I enjoy these blessings under the conditions In our last No. we could only allude to this we thus vindicate the study of natural phi. which attach to all human enjoyments,-under volume, and the elaborate and philosophical losophy from a charge at one time formidable an impression, indeed, that the tenure is in my nature of its contents prevent us from doing from the pertinacity and acrimony with which case particularly uncertain ; by which, how- much more now; for we should consider any it was urged, and still occasionally brought ever, their relish is not impaired, but improved. insulated extracts, however striking, very ill forward to the distress and disgust of every So mnch in answer to that part of your very calculated to convey an adequate notion of its well-constituted mind, we must take care that kind letter which respects myself, and by which value and importance. The author has fa- the testimony afforded by science to religion, I am much affected."
thomed the depths of science, and ia informed, be its extent or value what it may, shall be at With the following more anecdotical ex. to the very latest period, of all the discoveries least independent, unbiassed, and spontaneous. tracts we must conclude ; reserving the second and improvements that have been made in its We do not here allude to such reasoners as volume, which consists of correspondence and numerous branches at home and abroad. With would make all nature bend to their narrow a reprint of some of Dr. Currie's smaller this mind he has adopted an almost axiomatic interpretations of obscure and difficult passages pieces, for another notice.
mode of conveying to the world the prodigious in the sacred writings : such a course might Johnny of Norfolk, alias the Rev. Dr. mass of his own intelligence; and a moment's well become the persecutors of Galileo and the Johnson, is a creature of extraordinary simpli- reflection will shew the reader how impossible other bigots of the fifteenth and sixteenth city. He is not unlike Dalton the lecturer. it is in a brief (or even a very long review) to centuries, but can only be adopted by dreamers He is, I believe, a man of great kindness and do justice to such a production. We can do in the present age. But, without going these worth, and even of learning. We talked much nothing but select two or three passages from lengths, it is no uncommon thing to find perof Cowper. The truth respecting that extraor- the condensed abundance of matter, in order to sons earnestly attached to science, and anxious dinary genius is, that he was a lunatic of the exhibit its style and manner -- of its variety for its promotion, who yet manifest a morbid melancholy kind, with occasional lucid inter- and worth we can communicate no idea. The sensibility on points of this kind,—who exult vals. Johnny said that Cowper firmly be author thus, on a broad scale, defends the study and applaud when any fact starts up explalieved that good and evil spirits haunted his of natural philosophy.
natory (as they suppose) of some scriptural couch every night, and that the influence of “ Nothing, then, can be more unfounded allusion, and who feel pained and disappointed the last generally prevailed. For the last five than the objection which has been taken, in when the general course of discovery in any years of his life a perpetual gloom hung over limine, by persons, well meaning perhaps, cer- department of science runs wide of the notions him; he was never observed to smile. 1 tainly narrow-minded, against the study of na- with which particular passages in the Bible asked Johnny whether he suspected the people tural philosophy, and indeed against all sci- may have impressed themselves. To persons about him of bad intentions (which seems to ence, – that it fosters in its cultivators an of such a frame of mind it ought to suffice to me the Shibboleth of insanity), and he told me undue and overweening self-conceit, leads them remark, on the one hand, that truth can never that he very often did. • For instance, ob- to doubt the immortality of the soul, and to be opposed to truth; and, on the other, that served he, he said there were two Johnnies ; scoff at revealed religion. Its natural effect, error is only to be effectually confounded by one the real man, the other an evil spirit in we may confidently assert, on every well-con- searching deep and tracing it to its source. his shape ; and when he came out of his room stituted mind, is and must be the direct con- Nevertheless, it were much to be wished that in the morning, he used to look me full in the trary. No doubt, the testimony of natural such persons, estimable and excellent as they face, inquiringly, and turn off with a look of reason, on whatever exercised, must of neces- for the most part are, before they throw the benevolence or of anguish, as he thought me a sity stop short of those truths which it is the weight of their applause or discredit into the man or a devil!' He had dreadful stomach object of revelation to make known; but, scale of scientific opinion on such grounds, complaints, and drank immense quantities of while it places the existence and principal would reflect, first, that the credit and respecttea. He was indulged in every thing, even in attributes of a Deity on such grounds as to ability of any evidence may be destroyed by his wildest imaginations. It would have been render doubt absurd, and atheism ridiculous, it tampering with its honesty; and, secondly, that better if he had been regulated in all respects. unquestionably opposes no natural or recessary this very disposition of mind implies a lurking -The life and death of the philosophic Gibbon obstacle to further progress : on the contrary, mistrust in its own principles, since the grand formed a singular contrast to those of this un-by cherishing as a vital principle an unbounded and indeed only character of truth is its capa. happy poet. Mrs. Holroyd describes him as a spirit of inquiry, and ardency of expectation, it vility of enduring the test of universal experiman of the most correct manners, and of the unfetters the mind from prejudices of every ence, and coming unchanged out of every posmost equal temper,,calm and rather dignified, kind, and leaves it open and free to every im- sible form of fair discussion." and conversing with all the flow of his writings. pression of a higher nature which it is sus. The following is curiousHe was devoted to all the comforts of life, and ceptible of receiving, guarding only against " The annual consumption of coal in Lona liked the elegancies and even delicacies of the enthusiasm and self-deception by a habit of don is estimated at 1,500,000 chaldrons. The table, but ate and drank sparingly. A few strict investigation, but encouraging, rather effort of this quantity would suffice to raise a days before he died, he conversed on a future than suppressing, every thing that can offer a cubical block of marble, 2200 feet in the side, state with Mrs. Holroyd, of which he spoke as prospect or a hope beyond the present obscure through a space equal to its own height, or to one having little or no hope ; but professed and unsatisfactory state. The character of the pile one such mountain upon another. The that neither then, nor at any time, had he true philosopher is to hope all things not im- Monte Nuovo, near Pozzuoli, (which was ever felt the horror which some express, of possible, and to believe all things not unrea- erupted in a single night by volcanic fire,) annihilation."
sonable. He who has seen obscurities which might have been raised by such an effort from Epitaph, by Professor Smyth, on the tomb of appeared impenetrable in physical and mathe- a depth of 40,000 feet, or about eight miles. Dr. Currie, at Sidmouth.
matical science suddenly dispelled, and the It will be observed, that, in the above state• The humbler virtues, which the friend endear, most barren and unpromising fields of inquiry ment, the inherent power of fuel is, of neces.
The soften'd worth, which wakes affection's tear; converted, as if by inspiration, into rich and sity, greatly under-rated. It is not pretended And all that brightens in life's social day,
inexhaustible springs of knowledge and power by engineers that the economy of fuel is yet Lost in the shades of death, may pass away. on a simple change of our point of view, or by pushed to its utmost limit, or that the whole Fast comes the hour, when no fond heart shall know merely bringing to bear on them some prin- effective power is obtained in any application How lov'd was once the sacred dust below :
ciple which it never occurred before to try, of fire yet devised ; so that were we to say 100 Here cease the triumphs which the grave obtains, The man may perish, but the sage remains.
will surely be the very last to acquiesce in any millions instead of 70, we should probably be Freedom and Peace shall tell to many an age
dispiriting prospects of either the present or nearer the truth. The powers of wind and Thy warning counsels, thy prophetic page:
future destinies of mankind; while, on the water, which we are constantly impressing into Art, taught by thee, shall o'er the burning frame
other hand, the boundless views of intellectual our service, can scarcely be called latent or The healing freshness pour, and bless thy name:
and moral as well as material relations which hidden, yet it is not fully considered, in ge. And Genius, proudly, while to Fame she turns, open on him on all hands in the course of neral, what they do effect for us. Those who Shall twine thy laurels with the wreath of Burns." these pursuits, the knowledge of the trivial would judge of what advantage may be taken
place he occupies in the scale of creation, and of the wind, for example, even on land (not to the sense continually pressed upon him of his speak of navigation), may turn their eyes on own weakness and incapacity to suspend or Holland. A great portion of the most valuable