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which had been the cause of so many carriage, but what would it avail me to dreadful accidents. After various ex have it said that Sir Humphry drives periments, he effected three modes of his carriage and four ?" lighting the mines in safety ; these Five papers relating to fire-damp in were, the blowing lamp, the pi-ton coal mines, and the combustion of exlamp, and the sale lamp: The prin- plosive mixtures, were read before the ciple of safety consists in their being all Royal Society between the 4th of May, extinguished when the air becomes so 1813, and the 23rd of January, 1817, mixed with fire-damp as to be ex for which Sir Humphry Davy was plosive ; but their being thus extin awarded the Rumford medal. He guished was an inconvenience which it afterwards received, from the Emperor was highly necessary to remedy. He Alexander of Russia, a superb silverhad already ascertained the important gilt vase, of the value of £200 ; and, in fact, that explosive mixtures could not 1818, he was created a baronet. In the be fired in metallic tubes whose diame same year, having made some experiIers bore a certain proportion to their ments upon a few specimens of papyri lengths. By an obvious deduction, it from the ruins of Herculaneum, he was, followed that, by lessening the diame at his own request, sent by government ler, he might shorten the tube; and to Naples, for the purpose of unfolding that its length might hus be reduced to these records. After two months unthe thickness of an ordinary metallic successful trial, however, he returned plate; a number of perforations made to England, in 1820; and, on the 30th in such a plate would be a collection of of November, was elected president of small tubes; the plate thus perforated the Royal Society. In his address to would resemble wire-gauze.

Wire the menibers upon taking the chair, he gauze was tried, and Davy, with almost observed, “ Alihough your good opinion overpowering joy, beheld that, whilst has, as it were, honoured me with a Ight was still preserved, it was an im rank similar to ihat of general, I shall penetrable barrier to explosion. . This always be happy to act as a private little Hercules of science was intro- soldier in the ranks of science." To. duced in the coal mines in 1816; and, wards the latter part of this year, ap: i: September, 1817, Sir Humphry plication was made to the president and Davy was invited, by a numerous body council of the Royal Society, to furnish of coal-owners, to dine with them, at the government with advice relative to the Queen's Head, at Newcastle. Mr. the best method of manufacturing sheet Lamb:on presided on the occasion, and, copper, so as to preserve it, when in after certain toasts had been drunk, he use as sheathing on ships' botroms, rose, and, in the name of the gentle from the corrosive effects of oxidation. men assembled, presented to their dis- Sir Humphry singly undertook the intinguished guest'a splendid service of quiry. After a number of experiments plate, of the value of nearly L2000. This connected with voltaic action, which noblé tribute had been richly earned. appeared to him satisfactory and conDavy had declined to take oui a patent clusive, he communicated io the go. for the invention, by which he would, vernment that he had fully succeeded beyond doubt, have obtained from tive in the required discovery of a remedy to ten thousand a-vear. When remon

for the corrosion of copper sheathing. strated with for thus neglecting his per. On putting, however, his plan into sonal interest, he replied, “ My sole execution, for which purpose he made object lias been to serve the cause of two voyages to sea, it was found a humanity; and if I have succeeded, I complete failure. This caused him am amply rewarded in the gratifying much mental inquietude, from the reflection of having done so. I have sarcasms which were, in consequence, enough for all my views and purposes ; levelled against him, and a fit of apomore wealth might be troublesome, and plexy ensuing, he was recommended to distract my attention from those pur- revisit Italy. From hence, so unfasuits in which I delight; more wealth vourable was the state of his health, could not increase either my fame or that he sent a letter to the Royal Inmy happiness. It might, undoubtedly, stitution, resigning his presidentship. enable ine to put four horses to my | He returned to London in the winter of

to

return.

most in

1827; but, in the spring of the follow- farourable, his voice unpleasant, and ing year, he was again advised to try his figure awkward : as he became the effect of Italian air ; and he ac conscious of these imperfections, he cordingly quitied England, never became also soured that Nature had not

On his arrival at Rome, he been more bountiful in the exterior amused himself with writing his Con embellishments of his person. From solations in Travel, or the Last Days of the first moment of his success as a a Philosopher. These last days were lecturer at the Royal Institution, he now at hand: whilst in a very weak seemed ashamed of the simplicity of state, from an attack of paralysis, he his character; because his audience requested to be removed to Geneva, consisted of noble personages, he felt and there, in the presence of his brother abashed that he had not been born a and wife, he died, on the 29th of May, duke. By some, he was accused of 1829. Je left no children, and be affectation in his public addresses; but queathed the bulk of his property lo it is not unlikely that much of this Lady Davy and his brother, the share arose from a desire to disguise the disof the latter being nearly £10,000. cordancy of his voice. He could, un

In Sir Humpliry Davy were strikingly fortunately, derive but little assistance united a powerful imagination and a from his ear, which was solid judgment : it has been said of musical ; he could never, in fact, catch him that, if he had not been the first the simple air of Go Save the king. chemist, he would have been the first Whilst member of a volunteer corps, he poet of his age. lle was eminently could never keep step; and though he fertile in invention, and remarkably took private lessons of a serjeant, lie patient in investigation : "his mind was still trod upon the heels of the foreno less logical and precise than it was

rank man.

He was, it would appear, daring and comprehensive; nothing as little attached to painting as to was too wichty for its grasp, nothing music; for when taken to the Louvre, too ininute for its observation ; like the he passed hastily along the gallery trunk of the elephant, it could tear up without directing his attention to a the oak of the forest, or gently pluck single painting, simply observing to his the acorn from its branch." It is, how- companion, "What an extraordinary ever, certain that, notwithstanding his collection of fine frames !" The same own extraordinary powers, and the apathy was shewn in the lower aparthiglı station to which he had been ele ments, and not even the Apollo, the rated, he entertained an unworthy Laocoon, nor the Venus de Medicis, jealousy of the merits of others. The could extort an approving smile from brilliant reputation of Faraday, whom him; but, upon observing a figure treated he had first introduced to public notice, in the Egyptian style, and sculptured gave him some inquietude ; he felt in alabaster, he enthusiastically exthere could not be two suns in the same claimed, “Gracious powers! what a system, and he knew he had passed beautiful stalactite !" "He was, indeed, the meridian of his glory. To the same enthusiastic in everything that apperunhappy temperament may possibly be tained to his own professional pursuits, attributed the circumstance of his op or that fell in with his own habits or posing, with all his efforts, the election amusements : he gloried in Nelson, and of Ampère as a foreign member of the would dwell upon his name with rapRoyal Society; although, as we have ture; not because he won the battle of before stated, he had received from that the Nile, but that, after he had lost his distinguished individual the highest right arm, he used to fish with the marks of attention during his visit to left,-a sport of which Davy was pasParis, and had, for many years, held sionately fond. with him a friendly correspondence Notwithstanding his respect for rank upon subjects of science.

and fashion, as he increased in fame, it In youth, his temper was mild and does not appear that he mich altered his disposition amiable ; but as he ad either in the simplicity of his manners vanced in years and reputation, he be or dress. Volta, to whom he was introcame occasionally captious and irascible. duced at Pavia, had attired himself in When a boy, his countenance was un full dress to receive him, but is said to

have started back with astonishment what is his name?" Humphry on seeing the English philosopher make Davy, of the Royal Institution," as his appearance in a dress of which an coolly answered the other.

“ Good English artisan would have been heavens !" exclaimed the stranger ; ashamed. The following anecdote is told " was that really Davy?--how have of him :-Whilst staying for the night, I exposed my ignorance and preat a small inn, in North Wales, with sumption !" his friend, Mr. Purkis, a third traveller Sir Humphry Davy's last communientered into conversation with both, and, cation to the Philosophical Transactions as it happened, talked very learnedly was entitled, Remarks on the Electri. about oxygen and hydrogen, and other city of the Torpedo, in which he makes matters relative to chemical science. out that the electricity of the torpedo When Davy, who had listened with has no effect on the most delicate galgreat composure to all that had been vanometer. He is also known as the said, retired to rest, Mr. Purkis asked author of an interesting work on angling, the stranger what he thought of his called Salmonia ; which, together with friend who had just left him." He his Consolations in Travel, published appears," coolly replied the other, posthumously, have procured him a " rather a clever young man, with some high reputation as a writer, indepengeneral scientific knowledge :-pray | dently of his philosophical publications.

DAVID BREWSTER.

DAVID Brewster, one of the cemented together at an angle; and, most learned natural philosophers of the eye being necessarily placed at one the present day, was born in Scotland, end, some of the cement, which had about the year 1785. The greater part been pressed through between the of his numerous treatises are inserted plates, appeared to be arranged into a in the Transactions of the Edinburgh regular figure. The remarkable sym. Royal Society, of which he is secretary. metry which it presented, led to Dr. He' is principally celebrated as the in- Brewster's investigation of the cause of ventor of the kaleidoscope, an instru- this phenomenon; and, in so doing, he ment constructed for the purpose of discovered the leading principles of the creating and exhibiting an infinite kaleidoscope. variety

of beautiful and perfectly sym- Having thus brought the kaleidometrical forms. The idea of the dis

scope to a state of perfection, he, by covery first occurred to him in the year the advice of his friends, took out a 1814, when he was engaged in experi- patent for it; in the specification of ments on the polarisation of light, by which, he describes the kaleidoscope in successive reflections between plates of two different forms. The instrument, glass; an account of which was pub- however, having been shown to several lished in the Philosophical Transactions, opticians in London, became known for 1815, and rewarded, by the Royal before he could avail himself of the Society of London, with the Copley patent, and, being simple in principle, medal. The reflectors were, in some was at once largely manufactured. Tó cases, inclined to each other; and he countenance these piratical proceedings, had occasion to remark the circular it was asserted that Dr. Brewster had arrangement of the images of a candle been anticipated in his invention, by round a centre, or the multiplication of Professor Wood, and Bradley, the the sectors, formed by the extremities astronomer; but it has been sufficiently of the glass plates. In repeating, at a shown, and has been certified by Prosubsequent period, the experiments of fessor Wood himself, Professor Playfair, M. Biot, on the action of fluids upon and Mr. Pictet, of Geneva, that, of the light, Dr. Brewster placed the fluids in kaleidoscope as at present made and a trough, formed by two plates of glass, used, Dr. Brewster is the original dis“ As to the effect," says Mr. It should be stated, however, in conPlayfair," the thing produced, by the nexion with the history of the kaleidokaleidoscope, is a series of figures, pre- scope, that Kircher and B. Porta have sented with the most perfect symmetry, suggested a polygonal speculum; but, 80 as always to compose a whole, in undoubtedly, the practical application which nothing is wanting, and nothing of the principle to reflectors, inclined redundant. It matiers not what the towards each other at small angles, was object be, to which the instrument is wholly a suggestion of Dr. Brewster's. directed, if it oniy be in its proper place, The production of the kaleidoscope the effect just described is sure to take excited a singular sensation; and it is place, and with an endless variety. In calculated that not less than two hunihese respects, the kaleidoscope appears dred thousand were sold in three to begin to be singular among oprical months, in London and Paris together, instruinents. Neither the instruments though, out of this number, Dr. Brewster of Bradley, nor the experiment, or says, that not, perhaps, one thousand theorem in Wood's bouk, have any were constructed upon scientific prinresemblance to this; they go no further ciples, or capable of giving anything than the multiplication of the figure." like a correct idea of the power of the “ Dr. Brewster's invention," he adds, kaleidoscope. Dr. Brewster is the " is quite singular among optical in- editor of 'The Edinburgh Philosophical struments; and it will be matter of Journal, and of The Edinburgh Ency. sincere regret, if any imaginary or clopædia; and has published a variety of vague analogy, between it and other treatises, respecting polarisation of light. optical instruments, should be the He is said to possess a great fund of means of depriving the doctor of any / general information, and is not more part of the reward to which his skill, distinguished for his scientific attainingenuity, and perseverance, entitle himments, than for the politeness of his so well.

coverer.

manners.

LITERATURE.

WILLIAM WYCHERLEY.

was

WILLIAM WYCHERLEY, the son in a bookseller's shop at Bath, or Tunof a gentleman of Cleve, in Shropshire, bridge, when Lady Drogheda came in, was born there about the year 1640. and happened to inquire for The Plain After having received a school educa- | Dealer, which he had then written, tion, he was sent to France, where, al. when a friend of Wycherley, who though only sixteen years of age, his stood by him, pushed him towards fine person and engaging manners re. and said, “ There's the plain dealer, commended him to the notice of Madam madam, if you want him." Wycherley de Montausier, whose charms, it is made bis excuses; and Lady Drogheda said, induced him to adopt the Roman said, " that she loved, plain dealing catholic faith. He returned home in best.” He afterwards visited the lady, that persuasion, a short time previously and in some time married her ; but her to the Restoration; and, in the year of jealous disposition rendered his union a that event, became a gentleman com- source of little happiness; and though moner of Queen's College, Oxford; but on her death, a few years after, she being never matriculated, he left the settled her whole estate upon him, the university without taking a degree, and title was disputed; and he became so entered himself a student of the Middle much involved in his circumstances by Temple, with a view of studying the law expenses and other incumbrances, law." This, however, he soon deserted that he at length thrown into for an occupation more congenial to his prison. mind; and plays being then the rage, He remained in confinement for he produced his Love in a Wood, or seven years, when King James the St. James's Park, which brought him Second, going to see his comedy of The into notice among the first noblemen Plain Dealer, was so pleased with the and wits of the day, and into favour entertainment, that he bestowed a penwith the Duchess of Cleveland, and sion of £200 upon the author, and Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who ordered his debis to be paid. Not gave him the commission of captain- furnishing, however, a full account of lieutenant in his own company. His the demands upon him, he still laboured talents also procured him the especial | under pecuniary difficulties for many notice of King Charles the Second, who years, until, in 1715, he married a called upon him during an illness, re- young woman with £1,500, part of commended him to take a journey to which he applied to the liquidation of Montpellier for the restoration of his his debts. He died eleven days after health, and ordered the sum of £500 the celebration of his nuptials, making to be given to him to defray his ex- it his last request to his wife, that she penses. Wycherley accordingly went would not take an old man for her io France; but, on his return, he lost second husband. In addition to the the favour of the king, by his absence plays before-mentioned, he wrote The from court in the prosecution of his Gentleman Dancing Master, and The amour with Lady Drogheda, the com- Country Wife; and his posthumous mencement of which is thus related in works were published by Theobald, Spence's Anecdotes:—“Wycherley was in 1728.

VOL. III.

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