Sivut kuvina
PDF

ters which we every day see around us, and investing the whole with the light of a most extraordinary fancy. His versified writings, though replete wiih good feeling, display neither the high imaginings nor the profound sympathies, which nn- expected in poetry; their charm lies almost entirely in the re-creation of beings long sine passed away, or the conception of others who might be supposed to have once existed. As some of the material elements of poetry were thus wanting, it was fortunate that he at last preferred prose as a vehicle for his ideas—a medium of communication in which no more was expected than what he was able or inclined to give, while it afforded a scope for the delineation of familiar character, which was nearly denied in poetry. As the discoverer and successful cultivator of this kind of fictitious writing, Sir Walter Scott must rank among the very highest names in British literature,—Shakspeare, Milton, and Byron, being the only others who can be said to stand on the same level.

Among the minor powers of his mind, humour was one of the most prominent. Both in his prose writings and in private conversation, he was perpetually making droll application of some ancient adage, of some snatch of popular literature, or some whimsical anecdote of real life, which he happened to think appropriate to the occasion. He was characterized to a degree uncommon in men of much less genius, by his worldly sagacity and common sense: the whole tone of his conversation was eminently rational—replete, no doubt, with benevolence, with humour, and with lively illustration, but . never for a moment forsaking the walk of sound reflection and wisdom.

It is also to be remarked, as a still stronger proof of his possessing this enviable faculty, that throughout his whole life, even when engaged most deeply in abstracting studies and pursuits, he maintained his credit as a prudent man of the world. A strong feeling of nationality was another of the-features of his character, though perhaps it ought, in some measure, to be identified with his tendency to admire whatever belonged to the past. He loved Scotland and Scotchmen, but, it may be remarked, fully as much with a view to what they were, and what they did long ago, as to their later or present condition. Of the common people, when they came individually before him, it cannot be said that he was a despiser; to them, as to all who came in his wav, he was invariably kind and affable. Never

theless, from the highly aristocratic tone of his mind, he had no affection for the people as a body. He seems to have never conceived the idoa of a manly and independent character in middle or humble life; and in his novels, where an individual of these classes are introduced, he is never invested with any virtue, unless obedience, or even servility to superiors, be of the number. Among the features of his character, it would be improper to omit noticing his passion for field sports, and for all the machinery by which they are carried on. He was so fond of a good horse, that he would turn the most serious conversation, in order to remark the strength and speed of one of these animals which he saw passing. He has also recorded his attachment to dogs, by being frequently drawn with one by his side. Considered simply as a writer of the English language, he does not rank high. His sentences are not only deformed to a great degree by the errors called Scotticisms, but are often constructed in a slovenly and defective manner. It is also obvious that, in his attempts to compose history, he neither takes the pains necessary for insuring correctness, nor can prevent his imagination from giving too much aid to the picture. It was not, perhaps, altogether without grounds, that General Gourgaud spoke of his Life of Napoleon as the last romance by the author of Waverley.

It is by far the greatest glory of Sir Walter Scott, that he shone equally as a good and virtuous man, as he did in his capacity of the first fictitious writer of the age. His behaviour through life was marked by undeviating integrity and purity, insomuch that no scandalous whisper was ever yet circulated against him. The traditionary recollection of his early life, is burdened with no stain of any sort. His character as a husband and a father is altogether irreproachable. Indeed, in no single relation of life does it appear that he ever incurred the least blame. His good sense, and good feeling united, appear to have guided him aright through all the difficulties and temptations of life: and even as a politician, though blamed by many for his exclusive sympathy in the cause of established rule, he was always acknowledged to be too benevolent and too unobtrusive to call for severe censureAlong with the most perfect uprightness of conduct, he was characterized by extraordinary simplicity of manners. He was invariably gracious and kind, and it was impossible ever to detect in his conversation a symptom of his grounding ths •lightest title to consideration upon his literary fame, or of his even being conscious of it.

Sir John Leslie.

Novr. 3, 1832.—At his seat of Coates, Fifeshire, Professor Sir John Leslie.

This eminent philosopher was born in April, 17(16, and wasorigmallydestined by his parents to follow the humble occupation connected with a small farm and mill. Before, however, he reached his twelfth year, his fondness for calculation and geometrical exercises introduced him to the late Professor John Robinson, and through him to Professors Playfair and Stuart. When they first saw him he was still a boy, and they were much struck with the extraordinary powers which he then displayed. After some previous education, his parents were induced, in consequence of strong recommendations, to enter him a student at the University of St. Andrews. Having passed some time in that ancient seminary, he removed to Edinburgh, and while a student in the university there, he was introduced to and employed by Dr. Adam Smith, to assist the studies of his nephew, Mr. Douglass, afterwards Lord Reston. Disliking the church, he proceeded to London, after completing the usual course of study in Edinburgh. Hecarried with him some recommendatory letters from Dr. Smith; and recollected that one of the most pressing injunctions by which he was honoured by that illustrious philosopher was, to be sure, if the person to whom he was to present himself was an author to read his book befoie approaching him, so as to be able to speak of it, if there should be a fit opportunity.

Mr. Leslie's first important undertaking was a translation of Button's Natural History of Birds, which was published in 1793, in 9 8vo. volumes.

Thesum he received for it, laid the foundation of that pecuniary independence, which, unlike many other men of genius, his prudent habits, fortunately enabled him early to attain. The preface to this work, which was published anonymously, is characterized by all the peculiarities of his later style: but it also speaks a mind of great native vigour and lofty conceptions, strongly touched with admiration for the sublime and the grand in nature and science. Some time afterwards he proceeded to the United States of America, as a tutor to one of the Randolphs.

At what period Mr. Leslie first struck into that brilliant field of inquiry where he reading, and his happy memory, had enabled him to attain, borne few of his contemporaries, in the same walks of science, may have excelled him in profundity of understanding, in philosophical caution, and in logical accuracy: but we doubt if any surpassed him, whilst he must be all >wed to have surpassed many, in that creative faculty, one of the highest and rarest of nature's gifts, which leads, and is necessary, to discovery, though not all-sufficient of itself for the formation of safe conclusions; or in that subtilty and reach of discernment, which seizes the finest and least obvious relations among the objects of science, which elicits the hidden secrets of nature, and ministers to the new combinations of her powers.

became so conspicuous for his masterly experiments and striking discoveries, regarding radiant heat, and the connexion between light and heat, we are unable to say. His differential thermometer, one of the most beautiful and delicate instruments that inductive genius ever contrived as a help to experimental inquiry, and which rewarded its author by its happy ministry to the success of some of his finest experiments, was invented before the year 1800; as it was described in Nicholson's Philosophical Journal, some time during that year. The results of those fine inquiries, in which he was so much aided by this exquisite instrument, were published to the world in 1804, in his celebrated "Essay on the Nature and Propagation of Heat." The remarkable discoveries which distinguish this publication far more than atone for its great defects of method, its very questionable theories, and its transgressions against that simplicity of style which its aspiring author rather spurned than was enabled to exemplify, but which must be allowed to be aquality peculiarly indispensable to the communication of scientific knowledge. In 1805 Mr. Leslie was elected to fill the mathematical chair in the university of Edinburgh.

In the year 1810, he arrived, through the assistance of his hygrometer, at the discovery of that singularly beautiful process of artificial congelation, which enabled him to convert water and mercury into ice.

Mr. Leslie was removed to the chair of Natural Philosophy in 1819, on the death of Professor Play lair. He had previously published his "Elements ofGeometry," and an account of experiments on instruments depending on the relation of air, heat and moisture. Of his "Elements of Natural Philosophy," afterwards compiled for the use of his class, only one volume has been published. He wrote, besides the works mentioned, some admirable articles in the "Edinburgh Review;" and several very valuable treatises on different branches of physics, in the supplement to the "Encyclopedia Britannica." His last, and certainly one of his best and most interesting compositions, was a "Discourse on the History of Mathematical and Physical Science," during the eighteenth century, prefixed to the seventh edition of that National Encyclopaedia.

It would be impossible, we think, for any intelligent and well constituted mind to review the labours of this distinguished man, without a strong feeling of admiration for his inventive genius and vigorous powers, andof respect for that extensive knowledge which his active curiosity, his various

Letitia Bconaparte.

At Rome, aged 82, Madame Letitia Buonaparte, mother of Napoleon.

It was in the midst of civil discord, fights, and skirmishes, that Carlo Buonaparte married Letitia Ramolini, one of the most beautiful young women in the Island of Corsica. She possessed a great firmness of character, and partook the dangers of her husband during the years of civil war. She is said to have accompanied him on horseback in some military expeditions, or perhaps hasty flights, shortly before the birth of the future emperor; and on the very day of that occurrence, having been induced to attend mass, (it being the festival of Assumption,) she wasobliged to return home immediately, and, as there was no time to prepare a bed or bed-room, she was delivered of the future conqueror upon a temporary couch prepared for her accom • modation, and covered with an ancient piece of tapestry representing the heroes of the Iliad.

Though left a widow in the prime of life, Feb. 24, 1785, she had already borne her husband thirteen children, of whom five sons and three daughters survived him. 1. Joseph, the eldest, who now bears the name of Count Survilliers, and is resident in this country; 2. Napoleon himself; 3. Lucien, now Prince of Cassino; 4. Louis, oncekingofHnlland, nowcountde St. Leu, and resident in Italy; and 5. Jerome, once king of Westphalia, now duke of Montfort, in Wurtumburg; having married a sister of the king of Wurtumburg, and cousin to the emperor of Russia. His palace at Rome is the rendezvousforall the distinguished travellers from the north of Europe who visit Italy. The females were: 1. Maria-Anne, afterwards Elza, grand duchess

of Tuscany; she died at Trieste in 1890; 2. Pauline, Princess of Borghese; she died at Florence in 1825; and 3. Caroline, wife of Murat, king of Naples, and afterwards of Marshal Macdonald, now living in Austria as countess of Lipano.

Baron Tenterden.

AVn. 4,1832.—At his house in London, aged 78, Charles Abbott, Baron Tenterden, of Hendron, Middlesex, Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench.

This eminent judge was born at Canterbury, Oct. 7, 1762. His father was a hair-dresser, whose house stood on the left hand side of the western entrance to the cathedral, and who has been described as 'a tall, erect, primitive looking man, with a large club-pigtail behind him, and the instruments of his business under one arm, attended frequently by his son (the Chief Justice) a youth as decent, grave, and primitive-looking as himself

Mr. Abbott was entered as a member Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in the year 1780 or 1781, about six years after Lord Eldon, aad his brother, Lord Stowell, had become members of University College; the latterof these able men being the tutor of his college, whilst Mr. Abbott was at Oxford. Thus at the same period, there were three men at the university (one of them a scholar holding an exhibition not exceeding sixteen pounds per annum, the twoothers holding fellowships not exceeding one hundred and twenty pounds annually), who were destined to become the three heads of the law—the one as Lord Chancellor, the second as Lord Chief Justice, and the third as Judge of the Admiralty and Prerogative Courts. Perhaps there were not at the time three more simple, humble, modest-looking men within the compass of the university, and certainly notthrec men from whose air and deportment any one would less have augured such a splendid futurity.

Like Lord Eldon and Lord Stowell, Mr. Abbott was very soon elected to a fellowship in his college, and, like the latter of these noblemen, he became a tutor.— Whilst in this office, one of the sons ofSir Francis Buller, the eminent judge, fell under his tuition, and the father became so much pleased with the talents of Mr. Abbott, that he immediately adopted him into his patronage, and recommended him to quit his collegiate life, and to take his chance at the bar. Mr. Abbott complied with the recommendation, giving up his tutorship, but keeping his fellowship. H« came up to town, entered himself as a student of law, and commenced the study of reports and the practice of special plead

Whilst at the bar, Mr. Abbott wrote his celebrated work upon Shipping, which he dedicated to Lord Eldon, at that time Lord Chancellor, stating that his lordship had himself suggested the work, and that he had undertaken it by his advice. It is very strongly marked with that common sense and diligent reading which had always characterized the author.

On the 17th of January, 1816, Mr. Justice Heath died, and a vacancy occurred in the Common Pleas. It was immediately filled up with the name of Mr. Abbott; who was sworn into the degree of Serjeant-at-law on the 12th of February; on the same morning he was sworn a Judge of the Common Pleas. Upon taking nis place, he was almost unknown in the court, and his elevation excited very general surprise.

In his performance of the duties of this office, Mr. Justice Abbott displayed that degree of useful knowledge, for which the Lord Chancellor had given him credit; and when the death of Sir Simon Le Blanc occurred, in the following April, and opened a place in the Court of King's Bench, the Chancellor again advanced Mr. Justice Abbott; who, together with Sir George S. Holroyd, Sir James Allan Park, and Sir James Burroughs, was knighted on the 21st of May. In the Court of King's Bench, he had a better opportunity for displaying his talents of business, his competency, his prudence and his aversion to all innovation upon the received practice of the court and its officers. The frequent indisposition of Lord Ellenborough afforded him these occasions, and his conduct gave the fullest satisfaction to the Chancellor. Accordingly, the death of Lord Ellenborough no sooner afforded a third opportunity for his further advancement, than in Nov. 1818, he was made Chief justice of the King's Bench.

To extensive acquaintance with the common law of England, the deceased judge united extraordinary (though not invariable) calmness of temper; the more remarkable, as he was constitutionally vehement and imperious; patience in watching and balancing the arguments of counselon the facts disclosed in evidence; and skill in laying the merits of the most complex case before a jury. Although without much personal dignity beyond what was inseparable from suavity of manners, directed by good sense, Lord Tentcrden

continued to keep his court in most admirable order. The most arrogant spirits sank habitually under his steady and grave rebuke. As a judge between private individuals, he was ever upright and dispassionate.

When the late Lord Gifford was raised to a peerage, in Jan. 1824, it was generally understood, that the same dignity was also offered to Sir Charles Abbott, but declined. It was afterwards conferred, by patent, dated April 25, 1827.

Lord Tenterden married, July 13,1795, Mary, eldest daughter of John Lagien Lamotte, Esq. of Basildon, Berks, by whom he had two sons and two daughters.

Count O'rieixy.

At Vienna, at the patriarchal age of 92, Andrew Count O'Rully, general of cavalry in the Austrian army, chamberlain commander of the imperial military order of Maria Theresa.

This venerable soldier may be considered as having been the last warrior of the distinguished class of Irish officers, the contemporaries or elives of the Lacys, Dauns, Loudons, Browns, and Bradys, so renowned in the reigns and wars of Maria Teresa and Joseph the second—that is, during the seven years' war, and the campaigns against the Turks. Count O'Reilly was the second son of James O'Reilly, of Ballincough, county of Westmeath (Ireland,) and Barbara, daughter of Thomas Nugent, Esq. of Dysart, (grand daughter of Thomas, fourth Earl of Westmeath.) General O'Reilly filled in succession all the military grades in the Austrian service, with the exception of field-marshal.

Of the events of his life, which led to his elevation, we attempt not to give even a summary; but cannot omit mentioning the fact, that "by the brilliant charges made by the dragoons of O'Reilly, were the rem nantsof the Austrian army saved from annihilation at the close of the fatal fight of Austerlitz." We find him subsequently— that is, on the 12th of May, 1809, Governor of Vienna. The discomfiture of the archduke Ferdinand's force, by Napoleon, having brought the conqueror under the walls of the capital of the empire, on Gen. O'Reilly devolved the trying and difficult task of making an honourable capitulation with an enemy flushed with pride and victory.

An important incident, in the early part of general O'Rielly's career, is not unworthy of notice, illustrative, as it is, of the manners of the period termed chivalric. He and a brother-officer, the count de Klebelsberg, were rivals in their pretensions to the hand of a rich and beautiful Bohemian heiress, the countess Wuyrbna. As both could not succeed, tiey determined on removing any difficulty the lady might feel in selection by a duel a ovirance. The. intended affair was, however, reported to the authorities, and they were b .th placed under arrest. Their purpose was not, however, to be thus summarily defeated; they accordingly betook themselves to Poland, and their in the neutral territory of Cracow, met and fought. For a considerable time victory was doubtful; at length, however, the antagonist of O'Reilly bit the dust, but not until the latter had received many dangerous wounds. The lady's affections, hand and fortune, were the reward of the conqueror. General O'Reilly died childless.

Capt. Stephen Olnet. At North-Providence, R. I. Nov. 23, Capt. Stephen Olnev, aged 77. Capt. Olney was born in North-Providence, in October, 1755. He was lineally descended from Thomas Olney, joint purchaser of Providence with Roger Williams; and he lived and died on an estate that formed a part of the original purchase. He entered the army of the revolution in 1775, in his 20th year, and marched to Cambridge as lieutenant in Captain Jeremiah Olney's company of Infantry. After the evacuation of Boston by the British, in 1777, he marched with the army to New-York, and was in the disastrous actions on Long Island in that year; also at White Plains and other places in the vicinity of NewYork, and was in the retreat through NewJersey. In 1777, he fought in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. In the severe engagement at Springfield, he received his first wound from a ball in the arm. In the gallant defence of Fort Mercer at Red Bank, when stormed by Count Donop, his youthful bravery was highly distinguished; and he received promotion to a captaincy shortly after. He was next engaged in the battle of Monmouth, and hutted with the armv at Morristown in the winter of 1778. When Cornwnllis was ravaging North-Carolina and Virginia, Captain Olney's company was ordered to join the detachment under the command of the Marquis de Lafayette, who endeavoured to check the progressof the enemy. The prowess of this brave detachment is well recollected. They afterwards re-joined the main army before Yorktown, and assisted in its reduction and the capture of

Cornwallis. The conduct ofCapt. Olney at this place is precious among the deeds of revolutionary valour. It became necessary to the completion of the second parallel of the besiegers to take two redoubts lying several hundred yards in front of the enemy's lines; and it was decided by the commander-in-chief to carry them by storm. To excite emulation, the attack on the redoubt upon the right, was committed to the Americans under the Marquis de Lafayette and Colonel Hamilton, accompanied by Colonel Laurens, and upon the other on the left to the French, commanded by the Baron de Viomesnil, and other officers. Towards night on the 14th Oct. 1781, after a brief exhortation from their commanders, the troops, animated with the assurance that the result of the siege depended greatly on the success of this attack, and that victory would bring their toils to a close, pressed forward with great impetuosity, under the fire of the enemy, the Americans with unloaded muskets being determined to decide the affair by their bayonets. Captain Olney at the head of his company, led the assault on the right redoubt, and hastily passing the abbatis, was the first to mount the parapet, and standing there alone, gave with a loud voice, in the face of the enemy, his heroic command, "Let Captain Otney's company farm lure!" This was a signal for a general attack upon him from witlun, which he parried with his spontoon, receiving, however, several bayonet wounds, one severe, in the side, before the troops poured in, and put an end to all resistance. As he was carried away to the hospital, amidst the applause of the army, the commander-in-chief hearing it said that poor Olney was mortally wounded, happened to inquire who was borne in the Inter on which he lay. Upon this Captain Olney raised his head and replied," A full blooded Yankee;" and this he was, to the last.

Captain Olney soon recovered, and the war being apparently near its conclusion, he resigned his commission, and returned home to the care of his domestic concerns, and to the occupation of an independent, substantial farmer. He was called to represent his native town in the General Assembly, and continued in that office for about twenty years. He was also for many years President of the town council, and held other appointments from the town and state, with ability, honour and entire acceptance, until the weight of age and infirmities induced him to decline all public business.

Captain Olney suffered greatly for several years, from a diseased condition of one of his arms, so that in 1831 amputation became necessary to save his lift. But his

« EdellinenJatka »