Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

sagacity, but solely to industry and patient thought.

“ Initiated early into the abstractions of geometry, he was deeply imbued with her cautious spirit. And if his acquisitions were not made with the rapidity of intuition, they were at least firmly secured ; and the grasp which he took of his subject was proportional to the mental labour which it had exbausted. Overlooking what was trivial, and separating what was extraneous, he bore down with instinctive sagacity on the prominences of his subject, and having thus grappled with its difficulties, he never failed to entrench him. self in its strongholds.

* To the highest powers of invention New. ton added, what so seldom accompanies them, the talent of simplifying and communicating his profoundest speculations. In the economy of her distributions, nature is seldom thus lavish of her intellectual gifts. The inspired genius which creates is rarely conferred along with the matured judgment which combines, and yet without the exertion of both, the fabric of human wisdom could never have been reared."-Vol. ii., pp. 399, 400.

We

firmed by an observation of Mr. Thomas Ilcarne, who says, 'that Sir Isaac was a man of no very promising aspect. He was a short well-set man. He was full of thought, and spoke very little in company, so that his conversation was not agreeable. When he rode in his coach one arm would be out of his coach on one side, and the other on the other.' Sir Isaac never wore spectacles, and never lost more than one tooth to the day of his death.' The social character of Sir Isaac Newton was such as might have been expected from his intellectual attainments. He was modest, candid, and affable, and without any of the eccentricities of genius, suiting himself to every company, and speaking of himself and others in such a manner that he was never even suspected of vanity. But this,' says Dr. Pemberton, I immediately discovered in him, which at once both surprised and charmed me. Neither his extreme great age, nor his universal reputation, had rendered him stiff in opinion, or in any degree elated. Of this I had occasion to have almost daily experience. The remarks I continually sent him by letters on the Principia were received with the utmost goodness. These were so far from being anyways displeasing to him, that on the contrary they occasioned him to speak many kind things of me to my friends, and to honour me with a public testimony of his good opinion.' "-Vol. II., pp. 413-414, 406-407.

Of his intellect Sir David thus speaks :

The peculiar character of his genius, and the method which he pursued in his inquiries, can be gathered only from the study of his works, and from the bistory of his individual labours. Were we to judge of the qualities of his mind from the early age at which he made his principal discoveries, and from the rapidity of their succession, we should be led to ascribe to him that quickness of penetration, and that exuberance of invention, which is more characteristic of poetical than of philosophical genius. But we must recollect that Newton was placed in the most favourable circumstances for the development of his powers. The flower of his youth, and the vigour of his manhood, were entirely devoted to science. No injudicious guardian controlled his ruling passion, and no ungenial studies or professional toils interrupted the continuity of his pursuits. His discoveries were therefore the fruit of persevering and unbroken study; and he himself declared,

hat whatever service he had done to the public was not owing to any extraordinary

We have not endeavoured to give anything like a complete abstract of Sir David Brewster's book. would rather lead the reader to refer to it himself for his own perusal. It is full of interesting and valuable matter, since not only does it contain the best account hitherto given of the life of Sir Isaac Newton, but each of the great subjects in which he made discos veries is popularly explained, and its history brought down almost to the present day.

Were we disposed to be critical, we might take exception to occasional faults of style, especially to certain ambitious passages, in which, though the matter is good, there is a certain effort and straining after effect too plainly visible. There are also some needless repetitions of the same matter introduced at one time in its proper chronological order, and at another because of its connexion with other parts of the same subject. Repeti. tions, however, are better than omis. sions, and in the life of such a man as Newton we care little for minor faults in the inanner of relation, so that we have all the ascertainable facts completely stated, and their nature and connexion adequately pointed out.

A GLIMPSE OF OLD ENGLISH DIPLOMACY.

[ocr errors]

MR. Reeve,the learned reviser of a new tholic kingdoms acknowledged Cromand recently published edition of Bul- well as their guardian. The Huguestrode Whitelocke's “Journal of the nots of Languedoc, the shepherds who, Swedish Embassy in theYears 1653-54,” in the hamlets of the Alps, professed a remarks upon the close amity between Protestantism older than that of AugsSweden and this country, of which burg, were secured from oppression that mission formed the basis, that by the mere terror of that great name. “though the power of Britain bas in- The Pope himself was forced to preach creased in that interval, and the power humanity and moderation to Popish of Sweden bas declined, many of the princes. For a voice which seldom same considerations and inducements threatened in vain had declared, that exist in equal or in greater force, at unless favour were shown to the peo. this moment, to lead the statesmen ple of God, the English guns should of England to give their best support be heard in the Castle of St. Angelo. to the Crown of Sweden, and to desire In truth, there was nothing which that Sweden should regain that as- Cromwell bad, for his own sake and cendancy in the Baltic which she so that of his family, so much reason to gloriously acquired and exercised in desire, as a general religious war in the seventeenth century." The sound.

Europe,

In such a war he must have ness of this opinion will, we believe, been the captain of the Protestant be generally admitted ; and we do not armies. The heart of England would doubt that a glimpse of Cromwell's have been with him." Deeply imfirst exploit, in the character of a high pressed with these convictions, as contracting party, will be, just now, Cromwell certainly was, it was natural especially interesting to our readers, that he should turn with friendly inas recalling to their recollection the tent to that nation whose illustrious position and policy of Sweden, such as king had, twenty years earlier, laid they were two hundred years since, and down his commision as champion of such as it is not impossible they may the Protestant faith, and his life, upon again be before the present troubles of the bloody field of Lützen. The reEurope shall be composed. There are, gular course of his personal ambition indeed, few epochs in history to which must seem to bave led him to claim Englishmen – whatever may be their successorship to Gustavus Adolphus ; private sentiments with respect to the and in no way could be, at that period, divine right of governing, or of over- have advanced his claim more effecturning governments—commonly look tually than by cultivating a close alback with so much of pride and plea- liance with Sweden, which that great sure as those first years of the latter soldier had raised into the position of half of the seventeenth century, when, a bulwark of Protestant Europe. In to use the eloquent words of Mr. Ma- this policy, Cromwell was encouraged caulay, “after half a century, during by the general feeling of the English which England had been scarcely of nation, and by a romantic admiration more weight in European politics than for his own character, very freely exVenice or Saxony, at orce she became pressed by Queen Christina.

" The the most formidable power in the business (he said, in one of his converworld, dictated terms of peace to the sations respecting the embassy) is of exUnited Provinces, avenged the common ceeding great importance to the Cominjuries of Christendom on the pirates monwealth, as any can be ; that it is : of Barbary, vanquished the Spaniards and there is no prince or state in Chrisby land and sea, seized one of the tendom with whom there is any probafinest West India Islands, and acquired bility for us to bave a friendship, but on the Flemish coast a fortress which only the Queen of Sweden. She hath consoled the national pride for the loss sent several times to us, but we have of Calais. She was supreme on the returned no embassy to her, only a ocean. She was the head of the Pro- letter by a young gentleman.

She testant interest. All the reformed expects an ambassador from us; and churches scattered over Roman Ca- if we should not send a man of emi

nency to her, she would think herself recorded by himself, that " ' though slighted by us: and she is a lady of serviceable in some things, he was yet great honour, and stands much upon not thorough-paced.”. He had a proceremonies." At that time, it is to be found faith in the British constitution ; remembered, Christina was in the full although, when occasion required subenjoyment of the power and prestige tlety in reconciling the letter to the bequeathed to her by her renowned spirit, his conscience was a lawyer-like, father, whose territorial conquests and of the common fashion." He was from Russia, Poland, and Denmark, brave and punctilious; but yet a thowere recorded in her style and titles rough old soldier, when his business was of Queen of the Swedes, Goths, and to procure intelligence or supplies. Vandals ; Great Prince of Finland, And finally, he was a man of honour Duke of Esthonia, Carelia, Bremen, and good breeding, ready to maintain Veherden, Stettin, Pomerland, Cas- with his sword the precedence of the subia and Vandalia, Prince of Rugia, Commonwealth of England at a court and Lady of Ingria and of Wismar. ceremony, and proud of being taken out A glance at the map will show what by Queen Christina to danceihe brawls, has become of all these fair principali- in that he thus satisfied her majesty that ties and lordships; but they were then he was a gentleman, and bred a gentle. held with no feeble hand by that able man, and that the Hollanders were and brave, though eccentric and un- lying fellows to report that there were steady, princess, and guarded by the none but mechanics of the Parliament wisdom of one of the truest and sagest party. Still, he stoutly resisted all servants monarch ever trusted in--the temptations to desecrate the Lord's Day illustrious Chancellor Axel Oxenstiern. with worldly business, or the ball of pleaAn alliance, offensive and defensive, sure, and testified against that wicked with Sweden was then, truly, a worthy custom of cup-health pledging” so no. object of English diplomacy. Crom- bly, as to set the soul of one Jonathan well thought so; and he selected for Pickes, a savory member of a congre. his representative a man peculiarly

man peculiarly gation in London, "and many more, fitted for the office, who fortunatelya-praising God on his behalf.” It was, recorded the minutest details of his no doubt, the possession of these va. own opinions and acts, and of those of rious and somewhat opposite qualities others, so far as he could ascertain and virtues that recommended White. them, in the course of his mission. locke to Cromwell as his representative Upon the product of this labour, in in this “very honourable business ;" the “ Journal of the Swedish Em. and Oliver was manifestly sincere when bassy,” we shall draw freely, and yet he urged him to undertake it was the leave untouched a mine of curious and, fittest man in the nation for this serto the political student, highly useful vice. We know your abilities (contiinformation.

nued the General), having long con. Bulstrode Whitelocke, one of Crom- versed with you; we know you bave well's Commissioners of the Great languages, and have travelled, and Seal and his Ambassador Extraordi. understand the interest of Christen. nary to the Court of Sweden, may pro- dom; and I have known you in the bably be set down as a member of the army to endure hardships, and to be class known in those days as “waiters healthful and strong, and of mettle, upon Providence.” Bred a lawyer, discretion, and parts most fit for this he had served as a soldier and in employment. You are so indeed; several civil employments, carrying with really no man is so fit for it as you are. him throughout many of the habits and We know you to be a gentleman of a feelings engendered by those various good family, related to persons of hopursuits, curiously tempered by their nour ; and your present office of Comcontrasts, and by the circumstances missioner of the Seal will make you of his birth and education as a gentle- more acceptable to her. I do earnestly man, and his strong and manifestly desire you to undertake it, wherein sincere religious views.

“ He never

you will do an act of great merit, and led, but followed (says Lord Claren- advantage to the Commonwealth, as don) and was rather carried away great as any member of it can perform; by the torrent than swam with the and which will be as well accepted by stream ;" and his third wife draws his them.” The service was one beset with character with a still more graphic dangers. The only two persons who pen, when she tells him in a dialogue had been charged with high diplomatic

a

“ WH.

“Co.-Sir, you have been in great danger ere now, and God has kept you; and so, I hope, He will still.

“WH.-I perceive you are not so much against my going as others are.

" Co.--I see no cause to be much against it, that's the truth on't ; because I hope it may be for the good of you and yours, which I wish with all my heart, and ever did.

- But do you not think it would be more for our good for me to stay at home?

That you know best ; but this I think, that if by going abroad you may gain a good advantage to your state, and by staying at home you will only spend of it, then it will be more for your good to go abroad than to stay at home. But these things are above me.

WH.-You speak reason, William.

" Co.

[ocr errors]

missions from the Commonwealth had been murdered—Dr. Dorislaus at the Hague, by a party of the king's friends, in 1649 ; and Roger Ascham at Madrid, in the succeeding year. It was also supposed by Whitelocke's wife, and some of his friends, that the pro. posed embassy was designed as an honourable banishment: "he (the General] means no good to you, but would be rid of you," was the argument of Mrs. Whitelocke, who, with abundance of tears, implored him to think of the irreparable loss his death would be to her, and their “ twelve children, and a thirteenth coming--most of them unable to help themselves.” On his own part, Whitelocke was not free from a feeling that it was unsafe to commit himself to the existing regime in so open and decided a manner as the un. dertaking of an embassy. His habi. tual caution "objected that the authority under whose commission he was to act in this great business, was not justifiable by the law of God, or of this nation, and he the more liable to punishment if a change should come.” This case of conscience was, however, set. tled as before the nation, by the subtlety of his legal friends, who proved the existence and authority of a go. vernment de facto, and as before God, by the text, “Let every soul be sub. ject to the higher powers." matter of prudence, he was said to be so far engaged already with the Parlia. inent party, that he could not go back; that if any change should be made with force, it would be safer to be from among them than in the midst of them, if it were made upon terms, he, though absent, should be comprised in them." The argument was summed up in a discourse with William Cooke, an ancient, sober, discreet, and faithful servant to Whitelocke and his father, above fifty years, which is so characteristic of the times, and so illus. trative of the state of affairs, that we must direct our readers' attention towards it by a short extract:

"Co.-I pray God keep you out of dangers if vou go, or if you stay; there will be dangers everywhere.

“ WH. — But more apparent in this journey.

“ Co.- I cannot tell that; for I have heard that our great man, I mean my lord general, would have you to go; and if it be so, and yet you will stay at home, I doubt there may be as much danger for you to stay as to go.

“WH, — It is true, the General would have me go; but I am not bound to obey him in all things.

* Co. - I am deceived if he will not be obeyed in what he hath a mind to.

“ Wh. -- I am not under his command ; what can he do to me?

+ Co.-- What can he do? What can he not do? Do not we all see he does what he list? We poor countrymen are forced to obey him to our cost; and if he have a mind to punish us or you, it's an old proverb, that it is an easy thing to find a staff to beat a dog; and I would not have you to anger him, lest you bring danger and trou. ble too upon you and your family and state ; that's the truth on't.

“WH.-I fully agree with you in this."

“ As to

[ocr errors][merged small]

“COOKE- If you be sent over sea, I pray God bless you, and send you well home again.

“WHITELOCKE_There will be some danger of coming well home again.

Co.- Why, sir, many honest gentlemen before now have been sent over seas, and yet have returned well home again; and so I hope will you.

* WH.-But this is a journey of more danger than ordinary.

“ That the people of these parts, whither he was to go, differ wholly from our persuasion in matters of religion; and though

they are Protestants after the doctrine of was as zealous to thrust his freedom Luther, yet they are not so easily to be re- down all other men's throats, at point conciled to those of other tenets, nor to be of pike, as the revolutionary propabrought to join with them; and they have

gandist of our own time is to reduce a sharp averseness to the opinions of Calvin, and look upon us as most favouring them,

the world under the heavy yoke of his and more than those of their great author,

churchless, and kingless, and lawless Luther.

liberty. Anabaptists and Fifth Mo“On the other part it was said, that narchy men roused the fears of the though the Swedish and German professors German princes then, as Socialists are generally Lutherans, yet they are Pro- and Red Republicans rouse them now, testants, and agree with us in fundamentals, while the sharp averseness existing in and against the Roman Church.

the seventeenth century between the “ That the Queen of Sweden, but chiefly Calvinist and Lutheran professors, her father, and many of his great men notwithstanding their agreement in yet living, have testified much atfection to

fundamentals, and against the Roman the Protestant cause, and are forward to promote it; that such a person as White

Church, is represented in the nine. locke, being with them upon the place, and

teenth by the repulsion that keeps discoursing with them about these matters,

asunder democrats and constitutional. wherein he is able to give them so much sa- ists, and dividing the camp of freetisfaction, and such as they have not had dom, exposes it an easy prey to an opportunity so fully to receive before; the common enemy. Although the and the example of Whitelocke and his com- Swede and the Dane must clearly see pany, to work upon them to a greater liking the doom that impends over both, of our ways and profession, accompanied they will hardly be reconciled and with such practice, would gain a better ac

united to join against the Russians. ceptation with them than any they bave

The Prussian and Austrian people are formerly given to those from whom at present they do differ; and will much persuade to

overpowered by their kings and armies wards a firm amity and union with this

at home, the Switzers are still too far off, Commonwealth.

the Netherlanders still too much in " That there is no other pation in Christ- league with the Czar, and in love with endom from whom the Swedes can rationally trade; so that in truth it behoves the expect such a friendship and union, but Swedes at this very day to desire a only England, especially in matters of reli- firm amity and union with England gion, and for strength against the Popish for the independence of Europe against party, who love not them nor us.

the common enemy thereof-the RusThe Protestant princes of Germany are

sian party - unless they be content to not at this day so considerable, nor so free of differences and jealousies among them

submit passively to an erasure of the selves and against the Crown of Sweden, nor

glorious name of Sweden from the list so secure of nearer enemies, as to be much

of nations. assistance to the Swedes, who will bardly be

No sooner had Whitelocke signified reconciled and united to the Danes, to join

to Cromwell his assent to the proposal with them against the Papists. The French made to him, than the matter was Protestants are overpowered at home, the brought before the Parliament in a Switzers are too far oft, the Netherlanders too report from the council, which was much in league with the Danes, and in love

agreed to nemine contradicente, but not with trade; so that the English only are the

without some little grumbling on the people with whom the Swedes may bope for

part of “ one of the members, who bad a fair amity and unity for the Protestant interest against the common enemy thereof,

an opinion of himself to be more godly the Popish party."

than others, and who did object that they knew not whether Whitelocke were

a godly man or not; as though he In this brief sketch of European po- might be otherwise qualified, yet, if he litics, two centuries old, it needs but were not a godly man, it was not fit to to change a few names to bring before send him ambassador." The next obthe mind a lively presentment of the ject of care was to prepare for the form and feature of the prezent time. embassy, which was done (despite of The despotic party of that day was some biggling by the council) in such called Popish-it is now called Rus- a manner as plainly to show the imporsian. Security against oppression was tance attached by Cromwell to the then associated in men's minds with impression as to the grandeur and an ecclesiastical, as it is now with a power of England, and as to the ariscivil constitution ; and, as is well tocratic character of its rulers, to proworthy of remark, the religious patriot duce which upon the mind of Europe

« ПредишнаНапред »