Page images
PDF
EPUB

the aberration of the celestial bodies. He now turned his attention towards His theory upon this subject was pub- the improvement of the instruments in lished in the Philosophical Trans- the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, actions for 1728, and extended the it being his opinion that, “ as we adfame of the author all over Europe, vance in the means of making more as an accurate observer, and profound nice inquiries, new points generally philosopher. A very brief account of offer themselves, that demand our attenit must suffice here. Having deter- tion." In consequence of his represen. mined the law of the variation in the tation, a sum of £1,000 was granted, motion of the fixed stars, Dr. Bradley in 1748, to be expended on astronomical was at first inclined to attribute it to apparatus, which, under his superinthe nutation of the earth's axis ; but tendence, with the assistance of Mr. immediately abandoned this hypothesis, John Bird, and Mr. Graham, soon beupon seeing that stars which, from the came one of the most perfect in Europe. equality of their polar distances, ought Among other instruments which were 10 have had the same nutation, sus- set up at the observatory, was the new tained very different changes of de naval quadrant, of which he afterwards clination. He had been some time made such important use. In 1748, he making observations with Graham's was chosen a foreign member of the instrument, without the desired effect, Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris ; when the discovery of Roemer, concern- and, about the same time, he became ing the successive propagation of light, entitled to Bishop Crew's benefaction came into his mind. He then instantly of £30 a-year to the lecturer in expesaw, that all the phenomena which he rimental philosophy at Oxford. In had observed, might be occasioned by 1751, he was offered the valuable living the motion of the earth in its orbit, of Greenwich, but he conscientiously combined with the successive propaga- declined it; alleging, that the duty of tion of light.

a pastor was incompatible with his In 1730, he was appointed to succeed other studies and engagements. The Mr.Whiteside, as lecturer in astronomy king was so pleased with this instance and experimental philosophy, in the of his integrity, that he immediately University of Oxford ; and, in 1737, he granted him a pension of £250 a-year, published his Observations on the Comet which has since been regularly paid to which appeared at the beginning of the astronomer-royal. In 1752, he was that year. Halley, who was the astro- elected one of the council of the Royal nomer-royal at Greenwich, and now Society; in 1754, a member of the growing old, offered to resign his situa- Academy of Sciences at Petersburgh, tion in favour of the subject of our me- by diploma, from the whole body; and, moir; but his death took place before in 1757, admitted a member of the the arrangement could be effected. On Academy of Sciences at Bologna. He that event, however, which occurred in was subsequently chosen into the PrusFebruary, 1742, Bradley was appointed sian Academy of Science and Belles his successor, through ihe influence of | Lettres at Berlin. He pursued his the Earl of Macclesfield, and in the studies with such unabated vigour, that, same year he was created D.D. by the towards the close of his life, he began University of Oxford. He had not long to fear that he should survive his raentered upon the duties of his new ap- tional faculties. He died, however, pointment, before he made such obser- without having experienced this calavations as enabled him to arrive at his mity, on the 13th of July, 1762, at important discovery of the nutation of Chalford, in Gloucestershire. He was the earth's axis. This he communicated a widower at the time of his death, to the Royal Society, in 1745, in a having left one daughter by his wife, letter addressed to the Earl of Maccles- whom he married in 1744. field, which is said to be equally re- “The public character of Dr. Bradmarkable for its philosophical precision, ley,” says one of his biographers, " as and for the simplicity and modesty with a man of science and discernment, is which it is written. ' His discovery was well established by his works. His rewarded by the Royal Society's annual private character was in every respect gold medal.

estimable. Temperate in hís enjoyments, mild and benevolent in his dis- the Royal Observatory. These, after position, indifferent to the calls of having been for some time detained wealth, distinction, and even of fame; by his representatives, were presented he was indebted to his uncommon to Lord North, and, by him, to che merit alone for the friendship and regard University of Oxford, of which he was of the most eminent men of his time. chancellor, on condition of their printHis manner was engaging and com- ing and publishing them. It was not, municative; and his language, in con- however, till 1798, that any part of the versation, clear, impressive, and fluent, work appeared, when the first volume though he was rather more disposed to was published, under the title of Astrolisten than to speak. That he pub- nomical Observations made at the Royal lislied so little, may, perhaps, be ascribed Observatory at Greenwich, from the to his scrupulous accuracy, which ren- year 1756 to the year 1762. The tables dered him diffident, or, more probably, contained in it are, observed transits of to the calm and placid temper of his the sun, planets, and fixed stars, from mind, which did not strongly urge him the zenith southward ; meridional disto solicit that attention he could at tances of the fixed stars, from the zenith pleasure command." Dr. Bradley left northward; with zenith sector, and behind him no less than thirteen folio, likewise apparent right ascensions: the and two quarto, volumes, in manu- whole comprising seven hundred and script, of observations made by him at fifty-seven pages.

GEORGE EDWARDS.

THIS eminent naturalist was born at lege of Physicians. Here he had comWest Ham, in Essex, in 1693 ; and fortable apartments, and access to a being destined for a commercial life, large collection of books, by consulting was placed with a tradesman in Lon- which, he was enabled to make considon. His master happening to be a man derable improvement in his favourite of learning, young Edwards derived pursuit. The result of his labours apmuch benefit from his society; which peared in 1743, when he published the circumstance, together with that of his first volume of his History of Birds, in apartment being made the repository quarto, with fifty-two coloured plates, of the library of a deceased physician, from original drawings, and full degave him an inclination for literature, scriptions in French and English. Three and a turn for scientific inquiry. His more volumes of this magnificent work, tastes were, probably, encouraged by which the author dedicated to God, his parents, as, upon his expressing a with all the usual formularies, appeared determination to quit trade, he was successively, in 1747, 1750, and 1751. furnished with the means of travelling The last was not confined to birds, but abroad, and of otherwise improving his contained also sixteen plates of sergrowing partiality for the beauties of na- pents, fishes, and insects.

In 1758, ture and art. On his return to England, 1760, and 1763, he published, in suche applied himself, with great assiduity, cessive parts, as supplementary to the to the study of natural history, particu- above work, his Gleanings of Natural larly ornithology, the subjects of which History, consisting of coloured plates of he drew with singular correctness. His birds, fishes, insects, and plants, most of performances were universally admired, them nondescripts. His labours altoand by the prices which they obtained, gether comprise upwards of six hunlie was enabled to obtain a more than dred subjects in natural history, first decent subsistence. His acquaintance delineated and described by himself. was now sought by many eminent men These publications extended his reof science; and, in 1733, the recom- putation among the votaries of natural mendation of Sir Hans Sloane procured history in all parts of the civilized him the place of librarian to the Col- world; and, among others to whom he

became known, the illustrious Linnæus his books, appeared in 1770, under the not only corresponded with him, but title of Essays. During the latter part completed the general index to his of his life, he was severely afflicted, works, according to Edwards's system. having, at the same time, to endure the The Copleian medal was awarded to him agonies of the stone, and of a cancer, by the Royal Society, in 1750, for his which deprived him of the sight of one History of Birds; and, in 1757, he was eye. He bore, with great fortitude and elected a member of that body. He was resignation, his sufferings, which were also aggregated to several of the learned terminated by his death, in July, 1773. societies in different parts of Europe. Books and conversation formed his In 1769, having previously disposed of chief amusement in bis later years. In bis immense collection of drawings to mixed company, his diffidence and Lord Bute, he resigned bis office of humility prevented bim from shining, librarian at the College of Physicians, but with his intimate friends few could and retired to Plaistow, in Essex. His be more entertaining or communicative. last publication, which consisted of Besides the works before-mentioned, he miscellaneous pieces, chiefly collected contributed several papers to the Philofrom the prefaces and introductions to sophical Transactions.

JOHN HARRISON.

This celebrated mechanic was the son everything of the kind then made, of a carpenter, at Foulby, near Pontefract, and scarcely erred a second in a month. in Yorkshire, where he was born, in the This success probably induced Mr. year 1693. He received but a very limited Harrison to attempt to gain the reward education, and as soon as he was able, of £20,000, which government were assisted his father in his business, which empowered, by an act of parliament, comprehended the occasional survey of passed in the fourteenth of Queen Anne, land, and repairing of clocks and watches. to offer for discovering the longitude. For this latter department he evinced a He, accordingly, made drawings of a maparticular predilection; and, as early as chine he had planned for this purpose ; his sixth year, when he lay sick of the and, in 1728, came to London, and presmall-pox, is said to have amused him- sented them to Dr. Halley, then astroself in bed, for hours, by watching the nomer-royal. Dr. Halley referred him movement of a small time-piece, which to Mr. George Graham, by whose adwas placed open upon his pillow. In vice he returned home, completed, and 1700, he removed, with his father, to made trial of, his machine, during very Barrow, near Barton-upon-Humber, in bad weather, upon the river Humber, Lincolnshire, where his thirst after in- and, in 1735, came back with it to the formation developed itself in a very metropolis. It was examined by the striking manner. He frequently sat up Royal Society, who subscribed a favourwhole nights, employed in writing or able certificate of its properties; in condrawing; and having been lent a manu sequence of which, it was put on board script copy of Professor Saunderson's of a man-of-war, in 1736, and sent, with lectures, he carefully and neatly trans the maker, on a voyage to Lisbon and cribed them), together with all ihe dia- back, to make trial of its exactness. grams. With a mind so inquiring, and He was enabled to correct the deada genius totally unfettered, Harrison reckoning nearly a degree and a balf, found his energies rather invigorated, and received, in the following year, a rethan weakened, by the want of educa- ward of £500 from the commissioners tion. In 1726, he had attained to such of the longitude, who recommended him skill in horology, as to be able to con. to proceed with the improvement of his struct iwo wooden clocks, with an time-piece. He completed a second in escapement and compound pendulum 1739, of simpler construction and greater of his own invention: they surpassed accuracy: qualities which were still more

[blocks in formation]

predominant in his third machine, which accuracy of his fourth machine, which erred only three or four seconds in a is emphatically called Harrison's timeweek. It procured him the Royal So- keeper, was fürther proved by a dupli. ciety's annual gold medal, and he con- cate of it, constructed by Mr. Kendal, sidered it the ne plus ultra of his art ; which, during a three years' circumnabut further experiments convinced him vigation of the globe, by Captain Cook, that it was possible to achieve still answered as well as the original. The greater perfection. This he attempted in subject of our memoir employed the a fourth time-keeper, which he finished latier part of his life in making a fifth in 1759, in the form of a pocket-watch, time-keeper, which was tried for ten about six inches in diameter. A trial weeks, at the King's Observatory at of its accuracy was made in two voyages, Richmond, in 1772, and found to err which his son took with it, to the West only four seconds and a half in that Indies; and as it corrected, in both time. Its ingenious constructor died at voyages, the longitude within the limits London, in 1776, in the eighty-second required by Queen Anne's act, Mr. year of his age. Harrison applied to parliament for the Mr. Harrison never became a man of reward of £20,000. Half of it was paid the world, and possessed little knowto him in 1765, and he subsequently ledge of other subjects besides mechareceived the remainder, but not without nics, on which he conversed with clearsome trouble and repeated applications. ness, precision, and modesty. From the “ This delay," says his biographer, “in peculiar and uncouth phraseology, howissuing to him his full reward, originated ever, in his Description concerning 'such in the anxiety of the commissioners of Mechanism as will afford a nice or the longitude to do justice to the public, true Mensuration of Time, &c., it is apat the same time that they encouraged parent that he found some difficulty in merit in an individual; by obtaining expressing his ideas in writing. This from the inventor a full and clear dis- work includes an account of his new covery of the principles on which his musical scale, or mechanical division of time-piece was constructed, and by hav- the octave, according to the proportion ing it satisfactorily ascertained that they which the radius and diameter of a circle were such as rendered it of general use, have respectively to the circumference. by enabling other artificers, with rea- Mr. Harrison had a delicate musical ear, sonable skill, in reasonable time, and at and, in his youth, was the leader of a a reasonable expense, to make similar distinguished band of church singers. machines."

Some experiments which he made on Mr. Harrison received altogether the sound, and a curious monochord of his sum of £24,000 from the board of lon- own improvement, are said to have been gitude, besides several hundred pounds equally accurate with those in which he from the East India Company. The was engaged for the mensuration of time.

FRANCIS HUTCHESON.

FRANCIS HUTCHESON, son of a / ments soon procured him the acquaintdissenting minister, was born in the ance and friendship of many persons north of Ireland, in 1694. After a pre- distinguished for their rank and learnvious course of education, he, in 1710, ing, and, in particular, of Lord Molesentered a student of the University of worth. This nobleman is said to have Glasgow, where he studied the classics, assisted him in his Inquiry into the philosophy, and divinity, for six years. Ideas of Beauty and Viriue, which apOn his return to his native country, he peared in 1725, without the author's was licensed to preach among the dis

The work created a great sensasenters, and was about to accept the tion in the literary world, and Lord pastorship of a congregation, when he Granville, then lord-lieutenant, was so received an invitation to set up an aca- struck with its merits, that he sent to demy at Dublin. Here his accomplish- his bookseller to inquire who the writer

name.

was, and left a letter to be conveyed to from all parts of England and Ireland; him. Mr. Hutcheson was shortly after- and the credit of the university was wards introduced to his lordship, who, greatly increased by the admirable manduring the whole period of his vice- ner in which he performed his duties. royalty, treated him with particular He died, universally respected and lamarks of familiarity and esteem. Either mented, in 1747, in the fifty-ibird year the talents, however, or the reputation of his age. of the subject of our memoir, raised him One of Dr. Hutcheson's most celeenemies as well as friends, and he was brated works did not appear till 1775, twice prosecuted in the Archiepiscopal when his son, Dr. Francis Hutcheson, court, for undertaking the instruction of published, in two volumes, quarto, his youth, without having subscribed to the System of Moral Philosophy. The work ecclesiastical canons, or obtained a li- | is divided into three parts: in the first of cense from the bishop. Both attempts which, the author endeavours to develope failed, in consequence of the friendship the several principles of the human mind, of Archbishop King towards Hutcheson. as united in a moral constitution, and He was also much esteemed by the pri- from thence to point out the origin of mate, Dr. Boulter, from whom he pro- our ideas of moral good and evil, and of cured the donation of a yearly fund, for our sense of duty, or moral obligation. an exhibitioner, to be educated to any This leads him to the inquiry of what of the learned professions at Glasgow. must be the supreme happiness of man

In 1728, he published his Treatise of kind; and, in the second and third part, the Passions, &c., a work which was he goes on to deduce the particular laws scarcely less admired than his former of nature, or rules necessary to be obone, even by those who were opposed served for promoting the general good, to his philosophy. In the same year, in our common intercourse with one some letters, signed Philaretus, appeared another as members of society. His in The London Journal, calling in ques- leading philosophical doctrine is, that tion some parts of the doctrine of his we have a moral sense implanted in our Inquiry, &c., which, together with our natures, or an instinct, like that of selfauthor's answers, were afterwards pub- preservation, which, independently of lished in a separate pamphlet. In 1729, any arguments taken from the reasonhe received an invitation to fill the chair ableness and advantages of any action, of moral philosophy in the University of leads us to perform it ourselves, or to Glasgow, which he accepted, and, about approve it when performed by others. the same time, was admitted to the de- The various abilities and talents of gree of LL.D. Had he remained in Dr. Hutcheson were united with the Ireland, it is probable that his friends highest integrity of mind, and the most might have obtained him preferment, amiable and engaging disposition. His as they had neither want of inclination conversation has been called, by one of nor power to serve him; but “ he had his biographers, a school of virtue to private reasons,” says his biographer, those who had the happiness to enjoy Dr. Leechman, “ which determined him it. A remarkable vivacity," adds the neither to seek promotion, nor to en- same authority, “ of thought and excourage the most probable schemes pro- pression, a perpetual flow of cheerfulposed to him for obtaining it."

ness and good-will, and a visible air of As a lecturer, Dr. Hutcheson amply inward happiness, made him the life sustained his own reputation, and and genius of society, and spread an realized the expectations that had been enlivening influence everywhere around formed of him. Pupils flocked to him him."

EDMUND STONE. This distinguished and ingenious but the precise place of his birth is not self-taught mathematician, is supposed known. He is said to have reached an to have been a native of Argyleshire, advanced age in 1760, and would seem

« PreviousContinue »