« PreviousContinue »
in the dining-room. Having waited logical literature, and left a vast mass some time, he became impatient, and of unpublished manuscripts relating removed the cover from a chicken, to chronology and church history, which he presently ate, putting the which were examined by a committee bones back into the dish and replacing of the Royal Society; but none were the cover. After a short interval, thought worth printing, except his ObNewton came into the room, and, with servations upon the Prophecies of the usual compliments, sat down to Daniel and the Apocalypse, which apdinner ; but, on taking up the cover, peared in 1733, quarto. Besides the and seeing only the bones of the bird foreign edition of his principal publi. left, he observed, with some little sur- cations, all his works were published prise, “ I thought I had not dined, but by Dr. S. Horsley, London, 1779, five I now find I have."
volumes, quarto. The best edition of It is said of him, that he did once in the Principia is that of Lesueur and his life go "a wooing;" and, as was to Jacquier, four volumes, quarto, Geneva, be expected, had the greatest attention 1739-42; four volumes, octavo, Glasand indulgence paid to the little pecu- gow, 1822. In person, this intellectual liarities which ever accompany great | Colossus was of a middle stature, ingenius. Knowing he was fond of clining, latterly, to corpulence. His smoking, the lady assiduously provided eye was lively and piercing; and his him with a pipe, and they were then aspect, in itself mild and gracious, was seated, as if to open the business of rendered doubly so by a fine head of Cupid. Sir Isaac smoked a few whiffs hair, which was as white as silver. To
- seemed at a loss for something the time of his last illness, he had upon whiffed again-and, at last, drew his his countenance the bloom, colour, and chair nearer the lady. Sir Isaac got cheerfulness of youth. His sighi was hold of her hand-now her palpitations so good, that he never resorted to spec. began-he will kiss it, no doubt, thought tacles; and he never lost but one tooth she, and then the matter is ended. Sir in his life. Isaac whiffed with redoubled fury, and To sum up our account of Newton, it drew the captive hand nearer to his may be said of him, that if all the phihead-already the expected salute had losophers that ever lived were divided vibrated from the hand to the heart into two classes, all but himself would one finger was gently separated from be one, and he the other; nor did Pope the others- when lo! the succeeding ever more happily combine poetry with motion converted it into a tobacco truth, than when he said, stopper!"
During the latter half of his life, Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night, he devoted much of his time to theo- God said " Let Newtoo be," and all was ligbt.
This eminent astronomer was born struct a quadrant, which he performed at Denby, in Derbyshire, on the 19th without help, and before he had heard of August, 1646, and received his edu- of any artificial tables. His studies, cation at the free-schoo of Derby, though discountenanced by his father, where he remained until the year 1662, he continued to pursue with equal when ill-health prevented him from ardour and success; and, with the asmaking further academical progress. sistance only of such books as fell in On his return home, Sacrobosco's book, his hands by chance, he performed, De Sphærâ, falling into his hands, he with great rapidity, several important immediately conceived a fondness for astronomical calculations. At length, astronomical studies; and, in a short one which he had made of an eclipse of time afterwards, the perusal of Pale's the sun, which was to happen on the Art of Dialling enabled him to con- 22nd of June, 1666, having been shewn
to Mr. Halton, that gentleman sent tion. In 1673, he wrote a small tract him Ricciolus's Almagest, Kepler's concerning the true diameters of all Rudolphine Tables, and other mathe the planets, which he lent to Newton, matical works, to which he was before who made use of it in the fourth book a stranger. After an attentive perusal of his Principia. In 1674, he wrote of them, and particularly of Ricciolus, an ephemeris, shewing the futility of in whom he detected many errors, he astrology; and, at the request of Sir attempted the discovery of a demon- Jonas Moore, made a table of the strable equation; but, in endeavouring moon's true southings for that year ; to establish his first opinion, “that the from which, and Mr. Philip's theory of natural days were always equal, and the tides, the high waters being comthat there needed no equation of time," puted, he found that they shewed the he proved the contrary : first, that the times of the turn of the tides very near ; eccentricity of the earth's orbit from whereas the ordinary seamen's coarse the sun's centre caused an inequality ; rules would err sometimes two or three and, afterwards, that the ecliptic's ob- hours. In this year, he made a pair of liquity caused another inequality of the barometers, which were presented, by apparent day, which two causes, ap Sir Jonas Moore, to the king, who, plied together, would make the absolute about the same time, appointed Mr. equation of time.
Flamsteed to the new office of astro“At the end of the year 1669, he wrote nomer-royal, with a salary of £100 an almanack for the following year; a-year; and he, accordingly, took up in which he inserted an eclipse' that his residence at the observatory at was omitted in the Ephemerides, and Greenwich, which was shortly afterfive appulses of the moon to fixed wards erected.
* But this,” says he, in a manu In 1681, appeared his Doctrine of script, entitled Self Inspections, “ being the Sphere, a most excellent and use. rejected, as beyond the capacity of the ful work; in which he found how the vulgar, and returned to me,' I ex parallaxes of altitude, longitude, and cerped the eclipse and appulses, and latitude, were made and given by conaddressed them, with some astronomi-struction; and how the times of any cal speculations, to the Royal Society, appearance of a solar eclipse, the parı suppressing my name under my ana then darkened, with the inclination of gram." His communication was most the cusps, might be determined withfavourably received by the Society, and out any calculation of them, by the procured him letters of thanks from help of projection. He followed up Mr. Oldenburgh, the secretary, and Mr. this discovery by the construction of an John Collins, one of the members; in eclipse he had observed at Derby, on liis correspondence with whom will be the 25th of October, 1668; which, with found a number of interesting details a brief description of the method, was respecting the progress of his future laid before the Royal Society, when Sir studies.
Christopher Wren, who was present, In June, 1670, Mr. Flamsteed pro- satisfactorily proved that he had adopted ceeded to London, where he was intro the same plan sixteen years before.' In duced to some of the first mathema 1684, - having previously graduated ticians of the day, from whom he M. A., and taken orders, he was prereceived both attention and assistance; sented to the living of Burstow, near and he, shortly afterwards, entered Blechingley, in Surrey, which he conhimself of Jesus' College, Cambridge, tinued to hold till December, 1719, in where he became acquainted with which month and year he died, leaving Barrow and Newton. In the spring of behind him a widow, by whom he had 1672, he translated into Latin several no children. of Mr. Gascoigne's letters; and from In addition to the works already some of them, showing how the images mentioned, he communicated several of remote objects were formed in the other papers to the Philosophical distinct base of a convex object glass, Transactions; but his most important he got his dioptrics in a few hours, work, Historia Cælestis Britannicæ, was having previously read those of Des not ready for publication until 1725, Cartes without gaining much instruc- when it appeared in three volumes,
folio, and was justly pronounced " a all the astronomical observations made noble and lasting monument to his before his time, with a description of memory." The first volume contains the the instruments employed; as also of observations of Mr. William Gascoigne his own observations and instruments; (the inventor of the method of measur a new Latin version of Ptolemy's cataing angles in a telescope, by means of logue of one thousand fixed stars, and screws) with those of Flamsteed him. Ulegh-Beigh's places annexed on the self, taken at Derby, between 1675 and Latin page, with corrections; a small 1689, together with a number of curious catalogue of the Arabs; Tycho Brahe's, observations, and necessary tables to be of about seven hundred and eighty used with them at the Royal Observa- fixed stars ; the Landgrave of Hesse's, tory. The second volume contains his of three hundred and eighty-six ; Heveobservations, made with a mural arch lius's, of one thousand five hundred and of near seven feet radius, and one hun- thirty-four; and a catalogue of some dred and forty degrees on the limb, of of the southern fixed stars, not visible the meridional zenith distances of the in our hemisphere, calculated from obfixed stars, sun, moon, and planets, servations made by Dr. Halley, at St. with their transits over the meridian; Helena, and adapted to the year 1726. also observations of the diameters of the Flamsteed was held in great esteem sun and moon, with their eclipses, and by his illustrious contemporaries, both those of Jupiter's satellites, and varia- native and foreign ; and tions of the compass, from 1689 to 1719; greatest admirers may be ranked Newwith tables, shewing, how to render ton, Halley, and Cassini, to some of the calculation of the places of the whose doctrines he was occasionally stars and planets easy and expeditious: opposed. He is represented to have to which are added, the moon's place at spent the latter, as he had done the her oppositions, quadratures, &c.; also, former, part of his life, in promothe planets' places, derived from the ob- ting true and useful knowledge, by servations. In the third volume will the constant exercise of his own great be found a catalogue of the right abilities, and by taking all possible ascensions, polar distances, longitudes, methods to obtain whatever lights the and magnitudes, of near three thousand discoveries of others might afford him. fixed stars, with the corresponding va In private life he was cheerful and conriations of the same.
One of the most vivial, and the facetious Tom Brown valuable parts of this volume is the was occasionally to be found among the preface, which contains an account of guests at his table.
ABRAHAM SHARP, descended from becoming acquainted with Mr. Flaman ancient family at Little Horton, near steed, the celebrated astronomer, he Bradford, in the West Riding of York- then engaged himself as clerk to a mer. shire, was born there about the year chant in London, in whose house the 1651. After he had completed his former lodged. He had no reason to education, he was apprenticed to a mer. regret this step, which led to his emchant, at Manchester, but his attach- ployment in the dock-yard at Chatment to mathematics was too strong to ham, under Mr. Flamsteed, who, subseallow him to follow the business for quently, invited him to be his assistant which he was designed. He accord- in fitting up the observatory at Greeningly removed to Liverpool, and applied wich, which had been erected about the himself, without restraint, to mathema year 1676. A catalogue of three thou. tical and astronomical studies ; opening, sand fixed stars was here formed, in at the same time, a school for writing which he had a considerable share ; and accounts, as a means of procuring but his nightly observations brought on a subsistence. For the purpose of an illness which compelled him to desist
from his operations, and retire to his or solid bodies, of many bases, both the house at Horton. Here, on the recovery regular one and others; to which are of his health, he built an observatory, added, twelve new ones, with various fitted up with instruments all of his own methods of forming them; and their making, and some of his own invention. exact dimensions in surds or species, Resuming his employment at Green- and in numbers." Mr. Sharp passed the wich, he was employed chiefly in the latter years of his life at his native place, construction of the mural arc which and died there on the 18th of July, he completed, in a very masterly man 1742, in the ninety-first year of his age. ner, in the course of fourteen months. This eminent man had as much Mr. Smeaton observes, that this mural eccentricity as genius; though the one, arc may be considered as the first good probably, was the cause of the other. and valid instrument of the kind, and He kept four or five apartments in his that Mr. Sharp was the first who cut house, into which he permitted none of accurate and delicate divisions upon his family to enter, without special perastronomical instruments. Sharp also mission. He received but a few favoured rendered Flamsteed valuable assistance visitors, and these were admitted, on in the second volume of his Historia making a signal, by rubbing a stone Cælestis, and made some curious draw- against a certain part of the wall of the ings of the constellations, which are house. He was remarkably abstemious, said to have exceeded the engravings of and, instead of taking his meals with them in beauty.
his family, had them placed, from withIn 1699, he undertook the quadra- out, behind a small sliding panel, in the ture of the circle, deduced from two wall of his study, where they often different series, by which the truth of remained, untouched, for several hours. it was proved to seventy-two places of He was never married; and, indeed, figures, as appears in the introduction the ceremony of courtship to such a man to Sherwin's Tables of Logarithms. In as Sharp would have been an absolute 1718, he published a book, entitled impossibility. To his scientific talents, Geoinetry Improved, in which not only Newton, Halley, and Flamsteed have the geometrical lines on the plates, but borne testimony; and such is said to the whole engraving of the letters and have been the accuracy of his computafigures was done by himself. At the tions, that there was scarcely an eminent same time, observes his biographer, mathematician of the day who did not " this elaborate treatise affords an ho- apply to him in all troublesome and nourable proof of the author's great delicate calculations. The execution abilities, as a mathematician; and con of his hand was equally ready to aid tains things well worthy of attention : the contrivance of his head, in meFirst, a large and accurate table of seg- chanics ; and few, or none, it is said, of ments of circles, with the method of its the mathematical instrument makers, construction, and various uses in the could exceed him in exactly graduating solution of several difficult problems.- or neatly engraving any mathematical Secondly, a concise treatise of polydra, or astronomical instrument.
EDMUND HALLEY, son of a soap-became captain at the age of fifteen. boiler, was born at Haggerston, in the In 1673, he was entered a commoner of parish of S. Leonard, Shoreditch, on Queen's College, Oxford, at which time ihe 29th of October, 1656. He was a he was not only skilled in every branch youth of the most promising genius; of classical learning, but also in plane and his father having acquired an ample and spherical trigonometry, navigation, fortune, spared no expense in his edu and astronomy. These sciences he cation, which he, in the first instance, pursued at the university with unrereceived at St. Paul's School, where he mitting industry, of which he gave a
proof by publishing, in 1675, when he long afterwards, conferred upon him, of was only nineteen years of age, A the Southern Tycho." In 1679, he pubDirect and Geometrical Method of lished his Catalogus Stellarum AustraFinding the Aphelia and Eccentricity lium, sive Supplementum Catalogi of the Planets, which gave to the Kep- Tychonici, &c., which was succeeded lerian theory of planetary motion its by two other treatises, entitled Modi first geometrical foundation, and was quidam pene Geometrici pro parallaxi spoken of, by M. Mairan, as a work | Luna investiganda, and Quædam Luwhich might justly excite the envy of naris Theoriæ emendationem spectanthe most skilful astronomers of the time. tia. Immediately after the publication On the 17th of June, 1675, he made of these works, he was selected, by some observations on an eclipse of the the Royal Society, to go to Dantzic, moon; and, in the July and August of for the purpose of settling a dispute the following year, upon a spot in the between Mr. Hooke and Hevelius, sun, by means of which he absolutely respecting the preference of plain or determined the motion of the sun round glass sights in astroscopical instruits own axis, a phenomenon until then ments, which he decided in favour of not fully ascertained. In the latter the latter. In 1680, he set out on a month, he also observed an occultation continental tour, in company with Mr. of Mars by the moon, which subse- | Robert Nelson, and, in his way to quently enabled him to settle the longi- Paris, he was the first who saw the retude of the Cape of Good Hope, against markable comet which appeared that the objections of the French astro- year. During his stay in the French nomers. He likewise made several capital, he visited the celebrated Cascorrections, in the best astronomical sini, and endeavoured to settle a triendly tables then extant, of the planets of correspondence between the two royal Saturn and Jupiter; and, previous to astronomers of Greenwich and Paris. leaving Oxford, had discovered the me- He passed the greater part of the year thod, now well known, of constructing 1681 in Italy; and upon his marriage, solar eclipses, in which, however, he in the following year, with Mary, was preceded by Sir Christopher Wren, daughter of Mr. Tooke, auditor of the and followed by Flamsteed, as will be exchequer, he took a house at Islingseen in our memoir of the latter. ton, where he fitted up an observatory
About this time, he formed the reso- for his astronomical researches. lution of perfecting the whole scheme In 1683, he published his Theory of of the heavens, by the addition of such the Variation of the Magnetical Com stars as lay too near the south pole to pass, wherein he supposes the whole have come within the observation of globe of the earth to be one great magFlamsteed and Hevelius. For this pur- net, having four magnetical poles, by pose, he made a voyage to St. Helena, which, in ihose parts of the world adwhere he arrived in February, 1677; jacent to any of them, the needle is and after passing about eighteen months governed ; the nearest pole, or point of in making astronomical observations, attraction, being always predominant he returned to England in November, over the most remote; an hypothesis 1678, and presented a planisphere to which, with some amendments, it will the king, who gave him a mandamus be seen that he subsequently established. to the University of Oxford for the de- In the same year he commenced, and gree of M. A., and he was shortly after- pursued for sixteen months, a series of wards chosen a fellow of the Royal lunar observations, with a view to findSociety. "To these honours," observes ing the longitude at sea, by the motion one of his biographers," he was justly of the moon; and, during that period, entitled; for though there were two he detected several important errors in accounts of the southern stars then ex- the tables of the Sarotic period, which tant, yet both of them were so very he ultimately restored to its ancient imperfect and inaccurate, that Mr. reputation. In 1684, he turned his atHalley's catalogue was an acquisition tention to Kepler's sesquialterate propor. to the astronomical world entirely new, tion; but being unable to demonstrate and gave him an indisputable claim to in any geometrical way, his conclusion, the title which Mr. Flamsteed, not " thai the centripetal force must de