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and many of his unpublished productions would not discredit (we speak it confidently) ihe pen of a Moore, or a Campbell.
He fell an early victim to the Consumption,-a disease, which seems peculiarly to select for the objects of its attack, the amiable, the intelligent and the virtuous.
Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of my better days!
Nor named thee, but to praise.
From eyes unused to weep;
Will tears thy cold turf steep.
Like thine, are laid in earth,
To tell the world their worth :
To clasp thy hand in mine,
Whose weal and wo were thine ;
Around thy faded brow:
And feel, I cannot now.
Nor thoughts nor words are free,
That mourns a man like thee.
(copy.) Queries to the Reviewer of General Wilkinson's Memoirs. 1st Why was General Hampton permitted to escape, without a trial and without arrestation ?
2d Why was General Wilkinson's private letter to General Lewis, opened and read at the war office ?
3d Why is the history given by General Wilkinson, of the causes of the capture of Washington, passed over in silence? Was it because his story is unanswerable ?
“D. F. An inquirer after truth.” Though the shape in which our correspondent D. F. presents himself, is somewhat questionable, still as he may be a mere inquirer after truth, we will speak to him in our next number. [Ed.]
Art. 1.- From Tilloch's Philosophical Magazine-London, Sep.
A REVIEW OF SOME LEADING POINTS IN THE OFFICIAL CHARAC
TER AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE LATE PRESIDENT OF THE RorAL SOCIETY. BY A CORRESPONDENT.
The Royal Society of London, as Chamberlayne remarks, * chose for its motto Nullius in verba, to testify their resolution not to be enslaved by any of the greatest authority in their inquiries after nature :" and so long as their Presidents were changed with moderate frequency, and no one acquired any more authority or influence than was due to his talents and his virtues, independently of his rank (whatever that might be,) all continued to go on well. The arts and sciences, in their numerous departments, were promoted by the labours and inquiries of the different members of the Society ; each brought from his own stock to deposit in the general storebouse ; all was harmony; and bickering and usurpation were alike unknown. The distinctions which prevail in human society were not forgotten ; but they were not permitted io operate injuriously in a society where all were, by its original constitution, FELLOWS. An authorized list of the members of the Royal Society circulated in 1693, only thirty years after its incorporation by charter, terminates thus :—" The reader may perceive by this list, how many sober, learned, solid, ingenious persons, of different degrees, religions, countries, professions, trades and fortunes, have united and conspired, laying aside all names of distinction, amicably to promote experimental knowledge."
Indeed, it is only by determining thus to “ lay aside all distinctions,” except those which talents and genius confer, that a Society formed for the purpose of augmenting the sphere of natural knowledge in all its branches can be adequately efficient: for if it be “ with wise intent" that
" The Hand of Nature on peculiar minds
Imprints a different bias, and to each
Decrees its province in the common toil,” it is surely wise for such an institution to collect, arrange, and classify, the results of the individual energies of its members, however diversified their several pursuits, or however varied the stations in political society which they occupy. Thus has the Royal society proceeded in different periods of its history. It did not ex
pel Isaac Newton at a time when he was too poor to defray the weekly charges of the Society; nor did it refuse to admit Edmund Stone or Thomas Simpson, or James Ferguson, although one had been a gardener's son, the other a weaver, and the third a shepherd.
These, and other important benefits, likely to accrue from the voluntary association of men of science, may undoubtedly be preserved, although any one of their number chosen to be their President should coutinue such for a series of years, or although he be a man of elevated or noble rank. The history of the Royal Society presents instances of this kind; as will be evident from the subjoined list of Presidents from the commencement of the Society to the present time. But, in order that benefits like these may continue to result, be it recollected, as has always been observed and will doubtless in future be found, that the Presidents of the Royal Society who most successfully promote its interests, are men ardently attached to some one branch of science, yet not depreciators of other departments of human research, men of candour, men free from the love of political intrigue, and free from its usual associate-the love of domination.
It will appear evident, then, without further preliminary observation, that the character, disposition, and talents, of a President of a literary or a scientific society, will have an influence upon its members, its proceedings, and its utility, bearing some natural proportion to the interval during which he presides over it. Consequently, since the late Sir Joseph Banks occupied the chair of the President in the Royal Society for more than forty years, at an age of the world when science in almost every department and in every country of Europe was making the most rapid advances, it will become the duty of the impartial historian of British scieuce to ascertain what were the qualifications of this gentleman to preside for so many years over that illustrious body, what were the topics of inquiry which he most encouraged, what were those which he. uniformly repressed, and what have been the consequences with regard to certain sciences of Britain, in comparison with the cultivation and augmentation of the same in other parts of the world.
Several of the eulogists of the late President have fancied that they could render his merits more prominent by placing them in contrast with those of his immediate predecessor, Sir John Prin
I shall therefore be the more readily pardoned for adopting a like proceeding in this review.
Sir John Pringle was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in the year 1745, and had even then a high reputation for medical knowledge and skill. Afterwards he wrote pretty copiously upon many subjects connected with his profession, and communicated several interesting papers to the Transactions of the Royal Society; in this manner, as well as in consequence of an extensive
pra cţice, becoming very eminent both as a practical physician and as a medical writer. But his reputation, exalted as it was in these respects, was not confined to them. He had a great love for science generally, and he cultivated it with corresponding ardour. Early in life he had read the works of Bacon with great attention, and his mind became, in consequence, predisposed to the genuine mode of philosophizing by means of well conducted experiments : he never suffered himself to be seduced by mere theory, but most valued and most promoted those sciences which rested on the firm basis of fact. With the exception that he had no relish for poetry, he had a well formed taste; and he was a man of extensive reading and of deep reflection.
During the six years that Sir John had the honour of being President of the Royal Society, he adopted the practice of delivering an oration on the assignment of Sir Godfrey Copley's medal to the author of some valuable invention or discovery. He was led to this almost entirely by accident; but the addresses thus delivered, being intended to point out what was actually due to the individual who received the medal, by showing what had been effected before in the same department of research, became exceedingly valuable as brief historical disquisitions; and being each directed to a different topic of inquiry, they evinced such an extent and variety of reading, such a correctness of judgment, and such a freedom from bias or partiality, as were at once honourable
to him, and to the Society who had elected such a President. Of these discourses the 1st was “On the different kinds of air," delivered November 30, 1773, on the assignment of the Copleian medal to Dr. Priestly : the 2d, “ On the Torpedo,” in 1774 on presenting the medal to Mr. Walsh : the 3d, '“ On the attraction of mountains," in 1775, on presenting the medal to Dr. Maskelyne for his observations at Schehallien : the 4th, “On preserving the health of mariners," delivered in 1776, on assigning the medal to Captain Cook: the 5th, “On the invention and improvements of the reflect
telescope,” in 1777, on assigning the medal to Dr. Mudge of Plymouth : the 6th and last, "On the theory of gunnery," was delivered on the day of his resignation, when he presented the medal in the name of the Society to Dr. Mutton of Woolwich, on account of his important experiments on that subject.
Diversified as were the topics of these discourses, their author seems at home” in each. His researches are often erudite; his remarks ingenious and solid, sometimes profound; his language elegant and perspicuous, occasionally passing into a stream of genuine eloquence which really enchants and captivates the reader.
Sir John was a man not merely of scientific, but of high moral character. He was of cheerful habits, but an enemy to all kinds of intemperance, His manners were kind, respectful and obliging : VOL. II.
but, says one of his biographers, “ his sense of integrity and dignity would not permit him to adopt that false and superficial politeness which treats all men alike, though ever so different in point of real estimation and merit, with the same show of cordiality and kindness."
Such was Sir John Pringle. Let me now attempt to delineate the character of his successor.
Sir Joseph Banks (born 1743, elevated to the rank of baronet in 1781,) was a man of good fortune, and is said to have received a liberal education, partly at Oxford. He early evinced an attachment to the pursuit of natural bistory, and in 1766, at twentythree years of age became a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1768 he set sail with Cook in the Endeavour, and during the whole of that interesting voyage paid considerable attention to the natural productions of the various parts of the world they visited. He was assisted in his zoological and botanical researches by Dr. Solander, a pupil of Linnæus. I am not minutely acquainted with the vature and extent of the benefits mutually received and communicated by these two celebrated men; but one of the wicked wits of the day, who affected to be in the secret, attempted to develope it in a single couplet :
“Though 'east, or west, or north, or sonth, they wander;
You'll find on shallow Banks feeds fat Solander." After the return from Cook's first voyage, Mr. Banks made considerable preparations to accompany him a second time: but the circumnavigator and the naturalist had agreed so ill while they were together in the Endeavour, and Cook had been so thoroughly disgusted with the assumption of the great man and the unaccommodating airs of his companion, that he took effectual measures to free himself from like vexations during his second voyage.
Mr. Banks, to hide from the world his chagrin and mortification, and to appropriate to some useful purpose the expensive apparatus he had prepared to accompany Captain Cook, projected a voyage to Iceland : soon hiring a vessel, he was again accompanied by Dr. Solander. Sir Joseph's biographer in the paper called The New T'imes says on this occasion, “ His bazards were rewarded by the discovery of the cave of Staffa.” What was the nature of this discovery I cannot conjecture. Staffa had been then long known, and even described, though slightly, by Buchanan. Von Troil, Banks, and Solander, were conducted to Stafia, by Mr. Maclean, a Scotch gentleman of fortune, who had often been there before, and enabled our voyagers to discover precisely what he showed them.
Almost immediately after Mr. Banks's return from this northern voyage, he began to take an active part in some of the measures then carrying on in the Royal Society; and on the resignation of Sir John Pringle, in November, 1778, he was appointed to succeed