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contains some translations from Ovid's “Metamorphoses,' which then appeared for the first time ; and a portion of a • Treatise on the Christian Religion,' the commencement of a work intended to be of considerable extent. A Latin tract, entitled, “Dissertatio de insignioribus Romanorum Poetis,' which was found among the manuscripts of Lord Somers, and printed in 1739, has also been ascribed to Addison, though on very doubtful grounds. When he was called to office on the death of Queen Anne, he had formed, we are told, the design of compiling an English dictionary, on the model of that of the Della Crusca academy,-a task which he left to be probably better performed by Johnson, who, with some deficiencies for such a work, which belonged to Addison in an equal degree, certainly brought to it more reading than his predecessor would have done, to say nothing of his extraordinary felicity in definition, in which it is not likely that any other writer would have rivalled him. The last performance which our author contemplated was a paraphrase of some of the Psalms; but this he was prevented from commencing by the relapse from which he never recovered.
Addison's literary life, as we have seen, extends over the space of about a quarter of a century, and during the greater portion of this
period he may be considered as having occupied a place in the very first rank of the eminent writers of the time. Nor has the reputation which he enjoyed in his own day failed to receive, in great part at least, the sealing verdict of posterity. It may, perhaps, be doubted, however, whether those of his writings which still retain most of their popularity are exactly the portion of his literary labours on which either he himself would have desired, or his contemporaries expected, that his permanent fame should principally rest. He not only, like many more of the prose classics of our own and other languages, commenced his career as a poet, but he continued to pursue to the last the more ambitious road of verse. Yet even in his own day Pope had here fairly thrown him into the shade. Perhaps he never quite forgave Pope for thus plucking from his grasp the laurel crown of Dryden, to which he had aspired to succeed; and there may be some foundation for the suspicion which has been entertained of the jealousy which rankled under his pretended friendship for the rising poet, and for the stories of the way in which it was manifested on one or two occasions, which we find in the scandalous chronicles of the time. The publication of the first book of a rival translation of the Iliad, by his dependant, Tickell, at the moment when that by Pope was in the course of delivery to his subscribers, was, as is well-known, keenly resented by the latter as a most unkind blow dealt at him, if not by Addison, at least by his permission,bis suspicion, or conviction, in fact, being that the version was Addison's own. Sir William Blackstone, who has discussed the whole of the imputations resting upon Addison for his conduct to Pope, in a very able paper printed by Dr Kippis in the second edition of the Biographia Britannica,' while he conclusively vindicates the subject of our present article from many of these calumnies, and repudiates the notion of his having come forward on this occasion to attempt to do his friend an injury under the cover of Tickell's name, allows that “the publica. tion was indiscreet and ill-timed."
The Letter from Italy,' and the Campaign, so much applauded on their
first appearance, are now nearly forgotten. They contain some sonorous enough versification, and a few passages of considerable rhetorical splendour,—but little or nothing of “the vision and the faculty divine.” The latter production has been characterized by Warton—who was certainly not disposed unduly to depreciate the poetical genius of the author, since he classes him along with Dryden, in the second rank of our national poets—as too much of a “ Gazette in rhyme;"—and the former is certainly a very uninspired piece of composition for such a subject. In writing Cato, Addison took refuge in a style of poetry, where he had not to encounter Pope's rivalry. This famous tragedy abounds in eloquent declamation ; but is neither very poetical, nor very dramatic. Even its original success, as has been already hinted, was probably as much due to the political animosities, which it was felt to gratify, as to any purer feelings of admiration which it excited; but, had the case been otherwise, the attraction excited by such a play as
Cato,' when it first came out, would be to be easily accounted for without conceding to it much real poetical merit. There is much in it to tickle the ear, if not to fill the imagination or excite the passionsmany happy turns of rhetoric, if little of an animating soul of poetry,many strokes of art, if few of nature. These qualities take the vulgar taste,--and in the first boisterous judgment of the public, are apt to pass for all in all. But gradually time sets matters right; and the few, who are the makers of fame, prevail over the many,
for while succeed in bestowing a noisy popularity. The fame of Addison now is founded on his prose writings,—on those fugitive essays which perhaps he himself looked upon as the mere sportive exercises of his pen, to be forgotten as soon as they had served the purpose of the moment. Yet these charming effusions will probably be admired while our language lives. Many of them, it is curious enough, are in reality much more poetical even, although in the undress of
of the author's verse ;—we need hardly recall to the recollection of any reader the Vision of Mirza, and other imaginations nearly as exquisitely beautiful. But it is the rich, exuberant, and original, yet at the same time refined and classic humour, of many of these papers for which the genius of Addison deserves its highest panegyric. This is his own domain, where he indeed has “no brother near his throne." In mere wit, and also in farcical power, many have excelled him ; but who has ever matched the inexpressibly delicious insinuation of his quiet, easy, yet searching raillery, or the cordiality and perfect nature of some of his delineations of character in the same style! As the Vision of Mirza is more poetical, Sir Roger de Coverley is more dramatic, a thousand times, than any thing in Cato.' Prose seems to have been the natural and destined region of Addison's genius; in its temperate clime he moved in freedom,—while his wings flagged, or were only lifted with awkward and constraining effort in the torrid zone of poetry. Hence another, and far from the lowest of the titles, which make up the fame he now enjoys. Even as to manner, but a feeble imitator while he writes in verse, he is the inventor of a style of his own in prose,-a high and rare distinction. Here, no imitator himself, he has been imitated less or more by almost every writer who has succeeded him. It is this excellence, perhaps, which more than any
other has contributed to elevate him to the rank he enjoys as one of the
popular classics of our language, and which will do most to retain him in that station. Without this, even his humour and his imagination would not perhaps have saved him from neglect; for no writer, it is worthy of remark, has ever attained an enduring fame in literature. whose style was none of his chief recommendations.
BORN A. D. 1646.-DIED A. D. 1719.
John FlAmsteed, the celebrated astronomer and mathematician, was the son of Stephen Flamsteed, a substantial yeoman of Derby, where he was born in the year 1646. He was educated at the freeschool of Derby. But at fourteen years of age, and while head-scholar, he was afficted with a severe fit of sickness, which, being followed by other distempers, prevented his going to the university, as had been originally intended.
He was taken from school in the year 1662, and, within a month or two after, had John de Sacrobosco's book · De Sphærâ' lent him, which he set himself to read without any instruction. This accident, and the leisure which he now had, laid the ground-work of all that accurate mathematical and astronomical knowledge for which he became afterwards so celebrated. He had already read a great deal of history, ecclesiastical as well as civil, but this subject was entirely new to him, and he was greatly delighted with it. Having translated a portion of Sacrobosco's treatise, he proceeded to make dials by the direction of such books as he could procure ; and having changed a piece of astrology, found among his father's books, for Street's Caroline Tables,' he learned the method of computing eclipses, and set himself to calculate the places of the planets. He spent some part of his time, however, in astrological studies; yet he never was captivated with the solemn pre tensions of that vain science.
Having calculated by the “Caroline Tables' an eclipse of the sun, which was to happen on the 22d of June, 1666, he communicated it to a relation, who showed it to Mr Hatton of Wingfield-manor in Derbyshire. This gentleman-who was a good mathematician, as appears from some of his pieces published in the appendix to Foster's · Mathematical Miscellanies'-came to see Mr Flamsteed soon after ; and finding he was little acquainted with the astronomical performances of others, sent him Riccioli's Novum Almagestum,' and Kepler's Rudolphine Tables,' with some other mathematical books to which he was before a stranger; and from this time he prosecuted his studies with great vigour and success.
In 1669, he calculated some remarkable appulses of the moon to the fixed stars, by the · Caroline Tables ;' and directed them to Lord Brouncker, then president of the Royal society. This communication was so much approved, that it procured him letters of thanks from Mr Oldenburg, the secretary, and from Mr John Collins, one of the members. In June 1690, his father-who had hitherto discountenanced his studies taking notice of his correspondence with several ingenious men whom he had never seen, advised him to make a journey
to London that he might be personally acquainted with them. Young Flamsteed gladly embraced this proposal, and visited Mr Oldenburg and Mr Collins, who introduced him to Sir Jonas Moore, one of the most eminent mathematicians of the day. Sir Jonas took Mr Flamsteed under his protection, presented him with Townley's micrometer, and undertook to procure him glasses for a telescope at a moderate rate. Flamsteed soon after went to Cambridge, where he visited Barrow, Rae, and Newton; and at the same time entered himself a student of Jesus-college. Sir Jonas Moore contributed to his expenses.
In the spring of the year 1672, he extracted some observations from Gascoigne's and Crabtree's Letters on Mathematical Subjects, which had not been made public, and which he translated into Latin. He finished the transcript of Mr Gascoigne's papers in May; and spent the remainder of the year in making observations, and in preparing calculations of the approaches of the moon and planets to the fixed stars for the following year. These were published by Oldenburg in the Philosophical transactions with some observations on the planets which Mr Flamsteed in parted to him. In 1673, he wrote a small tract on the true and apparent diameters of all the planets when at their greatest and least distances from the earth. In 1674, he wrote an Ephemeris, in which he exposed the falsity of astrology, and the ignorance of those that pretended to skill in this pseudo-science, and gave a table of the moon's rising and setting, together with the eclipses and approaches of the moon and planets to the fixed stars. This was communicated to Sir Jonas Moore, for whom Mr Flamsteed made a table of the moon's true southing that year.
Flamsteed having taken the degree of master of arts at Cambridge, resolved to enter into holy orders, and to settle at a small living near Derby, which was in the gift of a friend of his father's. In the meantime, Sir Jonas Moore having notice of his design, wrote to him to come to London, whither he returned in February, 1675. He was entertained in the house of that gentleman, who had other views for him ; but Mr Flamsteed persisting in his resolution to take orders, he did not dissuade him from it. On the 4th of March following, Sir Jonas brought Mr Flamsteed a warrant to be the king's astronomer, with a salary of £100 per annum. This, however, did not induce him to relinquish his design of entering into holy orders, and on Easter following he was ordained at Ely-house by Bishop Gunning.
On the 10th of August, 1675, the foundation of the royal observatory at Greenwich was laid ; and as Mr Flamsteed was the first astronomerroyal for whose use this edifice was erected, it still bears the name of Flamsteed-house. During the building of it, he lodged at Greenwich ; and his quadrant and telescopes being kept in the queen's house there, he observed the appulses of the moon and planets to the fixed stars. In 1681 his · Doctrine of the Sphere' was published in Sir Jonas Moore's System of the Mathematics.' About the year 1684 he was presented to the living of Burslow, near Bleachingly, in Surrey. Of the manner in which Mr Flamsteed obtained this living, the following account is given by Roger North. “ Sir Jonas Moore once invited the lord-keeper North to dine with him at the Tower; and after dinner presented Mr Flamsteed. His lordship received him with much
familiarity, and encouraged him to come and see him often, that he might have the pleasure of his conversation. The star-gazer was not wanting to himself in that; and his lordship was extremely delighted with his accounts and observations about the planets, especially those attendant on Jupiter, showing how the eclipses of them, being regular and calculable, might rectify the longitude of places upon the globe, and demonstrating that light did not pass instantaneously, but in time ; with other remarkables in the heavens. These discourses always regaled his lordship; and a good benefice falling void, not far from the observatory, in the gift of the great seal, his lordship gave it to Mr Flamsteed; which set him at ease in his fortunes, and encouraged his future labours, from which great things were expected ; as applying the Jovial observations to marine uses, for finding longitudes at sea, and to correct the globes, celestial and terrestial, which were very faulty. And in order to the first, he had composed tables of the eclipses of the satellites, which showed when they were to happen, one after another; and of these, finely painted upon a neat board, he made a present to his lordship. And he had advanced his other design of rectifying maps, by having provided large blank globes, on which he might inscribe his places corrected. But plenty and pains seldom dwell together; for as one enters the other gives way ; and, in this instance, a good living, pensions, &c. spoiied a good cosmographer and astronomer; so very little is left of Mr Flamsteed's sedulous and judicious applications that way.”
In justice to Mr Flamsteed, it should be observed, that there appears no ground for North's reflection at the close of the above passage. His astronomical inquiries might not produce all the consequences which he sometimes expected from them; but nothing of this kind seems to have arisen from any want of application in him ; for the Philosophical transactions afford ample evidence of his activity and diligence, as well as of his penetration and exactness in astronomical studies, after he had obtained the preferments that have been already mentioned, and which were all that ever were conferred upon him.
In December, 1719, Mr Flamsteed was seized with strangury, which carried him off on the last day of that month. great part of his life in the pursuit of knowledge, and his uncommon merit as an astronomer was acknowledged by the ablest of his contemporaries ; particularly by Dr John Wallis, Dr Edmund Halley, and Sir Isaac Newton. Amongst his foreign correspondents was the celebrated Cassini.
His · Historia Cælestis Britannica' was published at London, in 1725, in three volumes folio, and dedicated to the king by his widow. Great part of this work had been printed off before his death, and the rest completed, except the prolegomena prefixed to the third volume. The clebrated mathematician, Dr John Keill, observes, “that Mr Flamsteed, with indefatigable pains, for more than forty years watched the motions of the stars, and gave us innumerable observations of the sun, moon, and planets, which he made with very large instruments exactly divided by most exquisite art, and fitted with telescopical sights. Whence we are to rely more upon the observations he hath made, than on those that went before him, who had made their observations with the naked eye, without the assistance of telescopes.”
He spent a