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New Theory of the Formation of Veins, with other occasion invited them out to their Remarks on the Formation of Mountains, accustomed sports.
Instead of this, particularly those in the neighbourhood of they employed their vacant time in the Freiberg. Translated into French, with study of a few books, which chance notes, by D’Aubuisson.
had thrown in their way. This singu. In the Miner's Journal, be published a
larity brought them into some notice; great variety of papers.
and they became frequently the sub
jects of conversation among their neighDoctor ISAAC MilNER, Dean of Car- bours.
lisle, and Lucasian Professor of Ma- Their fame at last began to spread thematics at Cambridge.
through Leeds, a place which abounds
been recorded in the biographical and discerning men. sketches of our preceding numbers, we was entered into (afterwards extended, have this month to add that of one by a public collection, through every greatly distinguished for learning, abi. quarter of the town) to educate, and lities, and mental accomplishments. send to college, one of these young
The late Rev. Dr. Milner had dili- men; and Joseph, as the eldest, and gently employed himself in the cultiva- one who then displayed the greatest tion of science and literature, seeking for maturity of talent, was fixed upon as knowledge in every respectable quar- the object of their patronage. Isaac ter. He also discharged faithfully the after this was, for some time, thrown very numerous and important duties into the back ground, though destined especially attached to his academical at last to come forward, and exceed functions; but we observe with regret, even the capacity (in mathematical that, though one of the greatest mathe- learning), and the fortunes of his bromaticians to be found among modern ther. characters, lie has left little to challenge Joseph was sent to the grammarthe respect of posterity; two or three school at Leeds; and the lessons he single articles and fugitive pieces of his learnt there by day, on his return have appeared, but no principal pro- home, he taught Isaac ; who discovered duction, no luminous publication, to not only a high relish for this novel point out and specify his distinguished study, but uncommon quickness of merits, to render his name ever inte parts, most comprehensive memory, resting, and thus occupy a place in the and jadgment in proportion. Thus scale of national commemorations. passed three years ; in the course of
Milner's life and literary career exhibit which' Isaac had gained a pretty famia singular combination of ability, worth, liar acquaintance with the Greek and industry, and good fortune. He was
Latin languages. born in the West Riding of Yorkshire, But the time arrived when Joseph near Leeds, of parents who could boast was to be sent to college. This deneither of rank nor property. While prived the younger brother of an as-, he was a boy, his father, who was a sistant who was the best able and most weaver, died; and the family, left be- willing to give him instruction. The hind, were Is an elder brother Jo- foundation of knowledge was, however, seph, and their mother, old and infirm. laid, and it was only necessary to raise As the support of their father was the superstructure. This, by a similar wanting, it was necessary that double course of industry, with which he had industry should be exerted by the re- set out was effectually done; so that maining branches of the family, to en- at the age of nineteen, he might be able them even to live. The two young · fairly deemed a good classic.. Milners were constantly at their spin- Having arrived at that age when it ning-wheels by day-break, in the sum- is usual to put boys to some trade, he mer; and, in winter, they rose by was bound apprentice to a weaver. candle-liglit, to pursue their labour. Previously tutored as Isaac had been, By this course of persevering diligence, the loom may not be supposed to have they were enabled, for a long time, to agreed with his disposition better than maintain, with credit, themselves and the distaff with Hercules; he had, howtheir aged parent.
ever, the soft influence of attendant It was observed of these young men, charms to reconcile him to his tempoby the neighbours, that they did not rary captivity; for Apollo and the associate much with their acquaintances Nine, both in labour and recreation, in the village, when a holiday or any were his constant companions.
While Isaac was thus employed undertook, he became, in support of as a weaver, his brother had finished these points, a fearless and animated his patient and elaborate studies at Cam- preacher. With a conduct irreproachbridge with extraordinary éclat, having able, and an awe of superior wisdom ranked as senior optime, and gained and sanctity, which seemed to invest the second classical medal. We can his person, it is not to be wonderei at, mention upon more than merely com- that he made a very forcible impresmon report, that the first was his due, sion on a large body of hearers. Some but the very great exertions made by who by nature were gay, dwelt on his a superior interest deprived him of representations of eternal felicity, with it. Soon after he was ordained ; and partiality, and like him, became zealous removing to Hull, obtained the curacy calvanists; the timid were alarmed at of Trinity-Church, and became also his denunciations; while libertines and master of the free grammar-school, and men of the world, who cannot reconvicar of Ferriby.
cile the strictness of religion with the Isaac, who had long compared, with propensities of our nature, ridiculed little satisfaction to himself, the inglo- him as little better than a madman. rious toils of a mechanic life, with the This sense of religion, or timor deorum, splendid honours and emoluments of a as Horace might have called it, thus literary one, thought this a good oppor- seizing the mind of Joseph, continued tunity to attempt an emancipation from ever after to be the leading feature of a trade, no way congenial to his dispo- his character. A Bible as his pocket sition, and he wrote, therefore, to his companion still employed his researches brother an account of the progress he whenever company or business left a had made; at the same time requesting vacant opportunity. This occupation to become an assistant to him in the of the mind he used to recommend to school, for teaching the lower classes. his scholars, as the best ineans of counHowever Joseph might wish to comply teracting their spiritual enemy. No with his brother's request, le resolved injunction could be more effectual for to proceed on sure groures, and wrote that purpose ; but the dictates of sense to a clergyman of Leeds to examine and appetite, which are frequently lauhis brother; an, if he found his at- dable, and, at the same time, as subtle, tainments considerable, to send him perhaps, as those of Satan, may be down to Hull. In conformity to this silenced under a different instructor, request, the Rev. Mr. Atkinson called by the same rule; it is necessary, on Isaac, then about nineteen years of therefore, by diligent enquiry, to come age, and found him at his loom, with a at the means of distinguishing the one Tacitus by his side. After undergoing from the other. Such a system will, an examination for some time, in the doubtless, by many, be ranked among course of which Isaac displayed great the imbecilities of the human mind, accuracy of conception, a respectable and denominated superstition, while stock of general knowledge, and an others will appreciate it as a new æra astonishing command of language, he of awakened sensibility to objects of was thought perfectly eligible to be sent the highest importance, correctly digto Hull. Accordingly, in a few days nified with the title of religion. Cerafter, he bade adieu to the humble oc- tain it is, that Joseph Milner, for thirty cupation of weaving for ever.
years consecutive, lived the life of a As mention has necessarily been strict believer in Christianity; so that made of Joseph Milner, with whom his life was an accurate counterpart to Isaac next resided, it may not be im: his professions, and his character might proper to give a little farther introduc- seem to be modelled by the standard tion to his character.
of perfect virtue. In short, he had an Joseph Milner having settled at indisputable right to our highest praises. Hull, as master of the free grammar as an honest and good man. school, &c. became, about the time of With such an example before him, his brother's removal from Leeds, con- Isaac could not but imbibe sentiments vinced, in a manner to which he had of ver ation for the evangelical dochitherto been a stranger, of the pecu- trines of Christianity, and his mind liar doctrines of Christianity: such as became tinctured with that impressive the new birth, justification by faith, view of its tenets, which had long chaoriginal sin, and redemption by Jesus racterised his brother. His prospects Christ. Being a sincere convert, and were now turned toward the church; zealous by nature, in every cause he and, after having assisted his brother MONTHLY MAG. No. 339.
in the school for some time, as usher, residing much at home, and being at he was, by his) brother's interest, re- church moved to Queen's College, Cambridge, Parcus cultor deorum et infrequens. where he entered as a sizer.
His retirement, however, was deFew persons ever came better pre- voted to scientific, theological, or litepared to the university, or with talents rary labours, calculated to augment his more likely to make a conspicuous high character, and eventually benefit figure. Besides his natural assiduity the world. and most excellent faculties, he had At Cambridge, Mr. Milner became the advantage of having been assisted acquainted with that patron of opby a person, that had gone through the pressed humanity, William Wilberuniversity before him, and that person force, esq. This gentleman, though he also a brother; likely, therefore, to be had, from his earliest years the ada more sedulous instructor than any vantage of a strict education (he had
been one of the first scholars of Mr. While an usher at Hull, Isaac Milner Joseph M.) yet his devotional sentihad made a considerable progress in ments received confirmation from the classical attainments. His mathema- clear reasonings and able deductions of tical knowledge shone with extraordi- Mr. Isaac. Soon after the commencenary lustre, where, on the occurrence ment of this acquaintance, the parties, of any difficulty in algebra or decimals, in company with Mr. Pitt, went on a &c. Joseph would send to him for an continental tour; but they had not explanation; which, though the elder proceeded far, before some political brother could make out himself, yet the changes in this country called them readiness of Isaac saved him the time back. A friendship, however, was then and trouble. In algebra, therefore, and cemented between them, which was not Euclid, he possessed, even before he likely soon to be dissolved. went to the university, a senior optime's Soon after Mr. Milner's return from knowledge. Another collateral cause the continent, which was in 1788, he of his success was the circumstance of was chosen President of the College, to his spending the vacations at his bro- which as a student, he had done so ther's school, in his original employ- much credit. Previous to his election, ment of usher. By these means, he was this venerable asylum of Erasmus had enabled to add considerably, every year, greatly decreased in reputation, but it to his earlier, and to his Cambridge began then to re-assume its ancient acquirements. All the time of his being consequence, by the repletion of its an under-graduate was spent in inde- numbers, &c. It was always the Prefatigable study. Confident in his abili- sident's wish that Queen's should not ties, he had fixed his eye upon the first be behind any college, in the means of honours of the place, and he had good instruction; he, therefore, introduced sense, perseverance, and a fund of intel- men of the best abilities from the other lectual ability sufficient to ensure their colleges among the fellows, who ever attainment. In 1774, he became senior found in him a steady friend and patron. wrangler, with the honourable distinc- The interior management of the coltion of incomparabilis, and gained also lege was also much improved, by the the first mathematical prize.
correction of many abuses sanctioned This struggle for academical distinc- by long prescription. Ad deterius is tion, though crowned with success, was the tendency of every institution, unless not attended with that charm, which is this salutary interference of authority necessary to render even success plea- occasionally takes place. Few, however, sant. Intense study had secretly laid like Milner, had 'fortitude enough to the foundation of a nervous disorder, support the obloquy which innovation, which occasionally oppressed him. The however laudable, is apt to produce. equal distribution of calm contentment At the time he was under-graduate, it seems not less true than philosophical; was the custom för sizers to wait on the and, perhaps, the painless days and un- fellows, to dine after they had done, broken slumbers of the peasant may and submit to other degrading circumform a counterpoise to the most splendid stances. These servile distinctions, with rewards of science and literature. a recollection how repugnant they had
This valetudinarian state of Mr. been to his former feelings, Mr. Milner Milner's health may account for some also abolished. peculiarities of his conduct ;, such as A short time after he became president of Queen's, he took out his doc- the genuine stamp of genius, they protor's degree, and was presented, through cured him a very high reputation, and the interest of Mr. Wilberforce, with a fellowship in the Royal Society. They the deanery of Carlisle. It was his consist of communications to that recustom to visit this place regularly spectable body; the first is dated 16th every year, for a few months. Hull,. February, 1778, concerning the com. before the decease of his brother (formunication of motion, by impact and whom he entertained the most profound gravity. Another paper treats of the regard, though called, on account of limits of algebraical equations, and his methodistical tenets, his strange contains a general demonstration of brother,) was the favourite place of his Des Cartes' rule for finding the number residence. His lodgings were a com- of affirmative and negative roots: this plete work-shop, filled with various is dated February 26th. In the followkinds of chymical, carpenter's, smith's ing June, we find another communicaand turner's implements. He was ac- tion on the precession of the equinoxes. customed here to relax his mind from Dr. Milner frequently turned his the fatigues of study, by manual labour. researches towards chemistry, and His lathe and appendages for turning, found therein a proper scene for the which were extremely curious, cost him adventurous expansion of his vast one hundred and forty guineas. He talents. The French are generally ha also a very singular machine, thought to have availed themselves of partly of his own invention, which his discovery concerning the composiformed and polished at the same time, tion of nitre, so as to provide, without with the utmost possible exactness, foreign assistance, the vast consumpwatch-weels of every description: tion of that article, requisite in the
A celebrated moralist of the present manufacture of gunpowder. day maintains, that manual labour be- On the death of Dr. Waring, Dr. comes one great source of mental solace Milner, in 1798, was made Lucasian and felicity. It is evident that we professor of mathematics, to which is cannot bear, without injury, for any annexed a salary of 1001, a year. Thus long time, intense and uninterrupted we see, with no other advantages, but thought; it is equally clear, that, when those of ability, prudence and merit, a the mind, without any object of pur- person rising from an obscure rank in suit, is left to its own spontaneous sensi- life, and with all his other honorary bilities, it turns either to the future or distinctions, filling the chair of the the past; and, as our animal spirits are immortal Newton. Desert, crowned melancholy or gay, so is the prospect with success, must, to every generous before us.
The state of sensibility, mind, afford a high degree of satisfacexercising the mind, not according to tion; while it holds out encouragement the real existence of things, but from to that innate presentiment of genius their accidental impression is seldom which otherwise might lie dormant and long lived ; and, besides, it can yield stagnate in indigence and obscurity. little relief to a mind wearied with Although the earlier portion of Dr. deep thinking. Something is wanted Milner's life had been employed in for this purpose, which shall gently laborious and humble occupations, yet, exercise our faculties, on some corpo- untinctured with former habits, his real movement. Manual labour, re- manners and sentiments eminently disquiring dexterity enough to abstract played the refined taste of the scholar the mind from its trammels by its agi- and the gentleman ; so that the very tation of the whole frame, seems most disadvantages, under which he once likely to answer this end. Let it not, laboured, only the more enhance our therefore, be a matter of surprise, that admiration of his surprising abilities a man, of enlarged understanding, as and attainments. in the present instance, should stoop
Urit enim fulgore suo. for amusement, to the drudgery of On all points of enquiry connected mechanical employment. It is not with mechanical ingenuity, Mr. Isaac enough to call Uncle Toby's whims was an easy and satisfactory authority. inoffensive; they were really useful, Mr. Wallis. gunsmith, of Hull, had and our hobbies, whatever they may taken considerable pains to collect a be, if founded in nature, are indis- museum, into which he had introduced pensable to our tranquillity.
every prominent article and subject of The literary productions of Dr. Mil- mechanism. interesting from its novelty, ner are, alas! but few; but, as they bear from the utility of its plan, or the va
rious nature of its' composition. Mr. Mr. Isaac Milner, who was present, deBreslaw's collection was esteemed the veloped and copied the whole, in a few best and most valuable of the kind ever minutes, with so much perspicuity and seen in this, or perhaps in any other exactness, as to astonish even the ingecountry. Once at Hull, in the exhibi- nious author of those performances. A tion of his deceptions, he had challenged bare inspection would suffice with Mr. all the company to explain or imitate Isaac to point out, or determine with some of his masterly manæuvres, when exactness, their merits and demerits.
THE BRITISH MUSEUM.
LETTER from M. NICOLE, to the Secre- essential. If he does not restore these
tary of the Royal Society, concerning effects willingly, his royal highness of a Medal of SIR ISAAC NEWTON. Lorraine, Great Duke of Tuscany, will, (Translated from the French.) upon being ask'd, oblige him to return
them. SIR, THE celebrated M. St. Urbain being further information of my capacity, 'tis
Moreover, if it be desired to have dead some time, there was found among his cffeets the square die, on
but applying to people of judgement in which is engraved the portrait of the this country and relying on their deci
sion. illustrious sir Isaac Newton. Though this piece was begun about eight years
I should be highly pleased to be emsince, yet it is far from being brought to ployed in transmitting to posterity, the perfection. Proposals were often made great actions of so celebrated a person as
sir Isaac Newton, and to express my to me for doing the Reverse, which I refused, upon no other account, but that zeal for the English nation. I am not I knew that Messrs. St. Urbain would led by interest, and shall be very flexible never reward me for it.
on this head. I expect a word of an
swer, You know without doubt that the
am, gentlemen of the Royal Society have,
NICOLE, Engraver at Nancy. since their first resolution, desired to
Bibl. Birch, 4435. have sir Isaac Newton's head on a bust, TWO LETTERS from SIR ISAAC NEWin the Roman manner, which has not TON TO DR. BRIGGS, on Vision. been executed. Now, I am in a condi.
(From the Original.) tion to undertake such a work, and in SIR, order to convince you, be so good as to I have perused your very ingenious cast your eye on Dr. Freind's medal, Theory of Vision, in which (to be free which I made, though it bears the name with you as a friend should be) there of St. Urbain. I send you likewise the seems to be some things more solid reverse of a medal, which
I am making and satisfactory, others more disputafor the Prince des Deux Ponts. Mon ble, but yet plausibly suggested, aud sieur de St. Urbain had kept the design well deserving ye consideration of ye two years in his hands, and then it was ingenious. The more satisfactory I put into mine. The work is not yet take to be your asserting, yt we see finished, and consequently not perfect. with both eyes at once, yor speculation
If the honour be done me of entrust- about ye use of ye musculus obliquus ing me with the work in question, 'twill inferior, yor assigning every fibre in ye be necessary to send me a copy of the optick nerve of our eye to have its designs that were given to M. St. Ur- correspondent in yt of ye other, both bain, and which his son has taken with wch make all things appear to both him to Vienna ; and he might, by means eyes in one and ye same place, and of the ambassador of England, be com- yor solving hereby ye duplicity of ye pelled to return sir Isaac Newton's head object in distorted eyes and confuting in plaister, the medal, the two pun- ye childish opinion about ye splitting cheons, a print representing the monu- ye optick cone. This more disputable ment of this great man, another of the seems yor notion about every pair of seven planets (expressed) by children, fellow fibres being unisons to one anoand a third that represents the sphere ther, discords to ye rest, and this conof the heavens: all these pieces are
sonance' making ye object seen with