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ing deserts and rocky valleys, where the Edinburgh. At the university the same simoom sported with the lives of the daring rapidity of comprehension and masculine travellers, and the red-hot sun glared down depth of thought (grown more acute and in wonderment upon their pale faces. They stronger by exercise) which had distinguished followed the sceptic through the arcana of his boyhood's career distinguished his adolesnature, reconciling the cosmogony of revela- cence, and indicated the future destiny of tion with the discoveries of modern science, the man. While scarcely recognized as a and refuting infidelity upon the material young man by those coeval with him, he basis of its self-assumed arguments. Where- was admitted to the intimate fellowship and ever mind could exercise a legitimate majesty, friendship of the then distinguished professor Scotchmen have majestically exercised it. of natural philosophy, Robison ; of the faIn every region subject to human dominance mous Playfair, professor of mathematics; they have asserted a special dominion. and the great Dugald Stewart, who filled
To Sir David Brewster incontestibly be the chair of moral philosophy. At the age of longs the greatest name on the roll of scien- nineteen he had won from the university the tific Scotchmen. Although only a professor honorary title of M.A., and subsequently in what may be termed an obscure Scottish he obtained a license to preach the Gospel university, he has acquired a cosmopolitan as a minister of the Scottish Established reputation and an imperial throne beside the Church. The genius of the young licentiate Humboldts and Aragos of Europe. His has had, prior to this period, however, been been one of the world's great voices, speak- moving in its own spontaneous course ; and ing to humanity from the depths of a stu- had now attained a force which no circumdious experience, and awakening the echoes stances were able to counteract, and a direcof an active and productive futurity by the tion which no prospects of professional preoriginality and variety of his discoveries. ferment could subvert. He had become wed
There is nothing that excites the wonder ded to the study of the physical sciences, of a reflective being so much as the power and absorbed in the observation of God's and influence of genius ; it speaks with heart, power, and wisdom, and glory, as exemplified soul, and mind; and the hearts, souls, and in nature. In the year 1801 he devoted himself minds of common men are inevitably moved with singular zeal to the study of optics, and by its power. It struggles through the ster- during twelve years continued his beautiful nest difficulties, bearing above the reach of and interesting experiments. The results of fate and the adversities of circumstances the these elaborate and long-continued researchidea which constitutes its life; and it strides es were presented to the public, in 1813, on from disappointment to disappointment, in a “ Treatise upon New Philosophical Inand from injustice to injustice, until it attains struments.” to sympathy and competent criticism. The In 1807, while prosecuting his optical and progress of Sir David Brewster through life other studies, the University of Aberdeen has been (like that of all men of genius) conferred upon the young philosopher the & progress of toil, and disappointment, and title of LL.D., the highest literary distinction injustice; it has also been an illustrious and in the gift of any Scottish senatus academicus, noble progress, however ; illustrious in this, and one which is seldom accorded to young that the greatest savants in the world have men of twenty-six years of age. In 1808 distinguished him and honored him ; and Dr. Brewster was elected a Fellow of the noble, insomuch that the warmth of his heart Royol Society of Edinburgh; and in the same and the enthusiasm of his nature have in- year he became editor of the " Edinburgh creased with his years.
Encyclopædia,” whose publication he conSir David Brewster is a native of the tinued to supervise, and to the pages of town of Jedburgh, in Roxburghshire, where which he contributed, till its close in 1830, he was born on the 11th of December
, 1781. a period of twenty-two years. The pastimes The family of the illustrious savant is distin- of men of genius, and the accidents which guished for vigor and originality of mind, seem fortuitously to happen to them, have and in his earliest years he exhibited these often been the blessings of the world. The family characteristics. He early acquired the mysteries of God's providence are so veiled ordinary branches of a Scottish education ; from mortal eyes, and the agencies of his and, having shown himself to be possessed will are often so obscure, that human specuof great aptitude for learning, he was sent lation can seldom elucidate them; and, even to complete his studies for the ministry of if our comprehension does reach them somethe Church of Scotland at the University of I times, our rhetoric is inadequate for their
we are con
definite expression. To the Christain the | adjudged to him the half of the physical infidelity of a Gibbon or a Hume seems a prize of 3000 francs, awarded for the two moral calamity; yet, when we behold the most important scientific discoveries which array of genius which seemed to spring from had been made, during the two previous the unknown to meet and controvert them years, in Europe ; and in the same year -genius that infused new life into the droop- invented the kaleidoscope. This instrument, ing spirit of virtue and truth
so valuable and important to the printer of strained to pause and reflect upon the hidden cloth (whose inventive powers would, but nature of those decrees of Providence which for its assistance, be immensely inadequate sometimes become thus visible. We are not to sustain the variety of patterns demanded sufficiently acquainted with the eternal pur- by the fashionable appetite), was patented, poses of God to discuss the nature of those and ought to have remunerated its inventor ; circumstances which are generally termed but the commercial spirit of Great Britain accidental. Their occurrence is accounted prompted its adherents to evade the patent, trivial, and is truly involved in the mys- and to seek their own aggrandizement at terious ; but the ideas which they suggest, the expense of the philosopher. Everybody and the results to which they lead, are some- knew and acknowledged the inventor, and times of the highest importance to humanity. consequently he obtained what is called fame; While engaged, in 1811, in writing an article but, for the tens of thousands of kaleidoupon “ Burning Instruments” for the “Edin- scopes which were sold both for use and burgh Encyclopædia,” Dr. Brewster was led amusement, he obtained not one penny of to consider the proposal of Buffon to con- remuneration. struct a lens of great diameter, out of a sin- In 1819 the indefatigable and indomitable gle piece of glass, by cutting out the central savant obtained the gold and silver Rumford parts in successive ridges, like the steps of a medal from the Royal Society of London, stair. This proposal Dr. Brewster declared for his discoveries on the polarization of to be practically impossible, but it induced light; and in the same year he established, in his suggestion for constructing a lens by conjunction with Professor Jameson, the building it up of several circular segments; Edinburgh Philosophical Journal,” which and thus forming an apparatus for the illu- attained to its sixteenth volume. mination of lighthouses, of unequalled power.
In 1825 the Institute of France elected Dr. This beautiful and useful invention was after- Brewster a corresponding member of that wards more fully developed by the learned distinguished body; and the Royal Acadphilosopher in the “Edinburgh Transactions,” emies of Russia, Prussia, Sweden, and Denand is now generally applied to the purpose mark, vied with each other in investing bim which he had indicated. In this consists with the highest distinctions which they the crowning glory of science, it illumines could confer upon a foreigner. These honthe world's dark path, leads it from the orary titles, although they conferred no real shades of a general barbarism, and points lustre on the man to whom they were given, it towards a brighter and a better day. It nevertheless opened up to bim a correspondis the lighthouse of the future, burning ence with the greatest 'intellects and ceamidst the darkness of mental night and the lebrities in the world. They brought him storms of selfish ignorance, and steadily and nearer to Biot, and Cuvier, and Aragoconstantly performing a circle of disinterested those great French discoverers of new worlds admonition and warning. This splendid in- of science. They introduced him intimately vention now pierces with its brilliant beams and personally to the many-knowledged far into the night, in order to reach the eyes Humboldt, and to all the other distinguished of the wayfaring mariner, to warn him of the men of Germany. hidden rocks that beset his liquid path ; and In 1831 Dr. Brewster proposed a meeting little does he think, as he beholds its admon of all those persons in Britain most distinitory beams and blesses God for this illus- guished in the peculiar paths of research tration of his providence and care, that men which he had himself pursued and adorned ; once reckoned the invention in the catalogue and this re-union of savants led to the formaof accidents. In 1815 the Copley medal tion of the “ British Association for the Adwas conferred upon Dr. Brewster for one of vancement of Science.” his optical discoveries ; and shortly after Perhaps the circumstance is attributable to obtaining this distinguished mark of merit, he a twist in human nature, perhaps to the catwas admitted a Fellow of the Royal Society alogue of perverted and debased justice ; of London. In 1816 the Institute of France | but still it is a fact, that men are far more
promptly rewarded and distinguished for the power and wisdom. The savant who most execution of feats of destruction, than for liberally expounds the mysterious attributes the graceful and untiring exercise of that of nature, and demonstrates the order and benign genius which seeks only to do good. regularity that reigns in its great cosmos,
In 1831 this grand-master of science re- most liberally and abundantly interprets the ceived the decoration of the Hanoverian voice of the everlasting God, and exhibits to Guelphic Order; and in 1832 William IV. humanity the government of infinite wisdom. was graciously pleased to knight him. To Sir David Brewster most honorably
The labors of Sir David Brewster have belongs the title of the people's philosopher; not been merely experimental; the literary he who has raised himself into the highest works which he has edited have of them and brightest constellation of scientific glory, selves been sufficient to win for him the fame has not disdained to illumine the home of of a laborious and accomplished writer. A the lowly mechanician with the lustre of his review of his philosophical discoveries and discoveries and the excellence of his Chrisscientific inventions induces us to pause and tian beneficence. His treatise on the kaleidoask the question, " How does he accomplish scope, and his letters on “ Natural Magic,” these things, in addition to his duties as a will long preserve his memory amongst
the professor and to his exertions as an editor ?" | humbler dabblers in the sciences. Ordinary ability feels itself sufficiently em- His life of Sir Isaac Newton, in the “Famployed to meet the exigencies of one of those ily Library,” is one of his most excellent and onerous department of duty, and yet this sa- valuable works ; it is glowing with brilliant vant seems to know no difficulty in his accom- eulogy and graceful criticism. To M. Arago plishment of them all; the laboratory, the has been universally conceded the character bureau, and the atelier, each claims his atten- of a most generous critic and an elegant tion, and the zeal of his spirit sustains him panegyrist. From the tribune of the Acadeto discharge the duties of them all.
my of Sciences at Paris he has delivered At St. Andrews he discourses to the Scottish some of the most beautiful and profound students of natural philosophy in an obscure eloges that ever living genius poured over cloister; in his closet he examines the won- the coffined clay of departed eminence. To drous things that are above and around us ; Sir David Brewster belongs, in an equal dewhile the scientific world stands respectfully gree, the generous and sympathetic attributes by to listen to the teachings of his experi- which distinguish the famous Frenchman. ence. In his social position he is scarcely His style is as rich and ornate as his more than an ill-remunerated Scottish teach- highly-cultivated intellect; it is as powerful er in a provincial college ; in his actual, he is as his earnestness, and as ardent as his enone of the most accomplished and profound of thusiasm. His criticism of men of science in the European imperial dignitaries of science. the “ Edinburgh Review," and the other
Sir David Brewster is one of the editors literary vehicles open to his pen, are all of the “ London and Edinburgh Philosophical characterized by that clearness and eloquence Magazine;" and the pages of the “Edin which are always associated with knowledge burgh"and North British Reviews” are opu- and allied to generosity. lent with illustrations of his genius and ener- Humboldt has casually declared, in the gy. He has been a constant and eloquent con- most celebrated of his works, that he has tributor to almost all the scientific works of no aptitude for speculative philosophy, and note in Great Britain ; and his prelections he therefore refrains from adventuring into are as familiar to the French and Germans the regions of metaphysics and theology. as to his own countrymen. Like M. Fran- | Like Newton, however, Sir David Brewster çois Arago, Sir David Brewster has popu- preserves, amidst the triumphs of his scienlarized science. He has placed its instru- tific career, the faith and humility of a Chrisments in the hands of laughing childhood ; tain ; as the unseen things of this life have and he has rendered its language intelligible been laid open before the importunities of to the least educated inquirer. His treatise his inquiry, he has been strengthened more upon optics in the “ Cabinet Cyclopædia” and more in that faith and sense which bear has largely conduced to familiarize the popu- the soul above the glorious of this mundane lar mind with the nature and utility of scien- world, into that brighter and more glorious tific re: earch. The most common and casual universe which God has prepared for the phenomena, reduced to a system, cannot fail soul's exigencies, and the Redeemer has to interest the reflective mind, and to im- purchased for ransomed man. press it with a serious cognizance of God's The last and crowning circumstance of Sir VOL. XVIII, NO. II.
David Brewster's celebrity was his election, tinguished position was no act of judicial on the 2d of January, 1849, as one of the disputation; the friends of the other caneight foreign associate members of the didates immediately withdrew their claims, National Institute of France, which was va- and bent respectfully in approval of the eleccant by the death of M. Berzelius, the cele- tion of the Scottish philosopher. The eight brated chemist. This distinction—coveted associate members of the Institute are genby the most illustrious philosophers of Eu- erally regarded as the greatest celebrities in rope, and of the whole world—is conferred the learned world; and to none of his celeby this academy only after a rigorous ex. brated compeers does the inventor of the amination of the scientific claims of the can- kaleidoscope, the discoverer of the physical didates, who are proposed to the Institute laws of metallic reflection, of the optical by a commission of five members ; of which properties of crystals, and the law of the M. Arago, on the admission of Sir D. Brew- angle of polarization, yield in originality of ster, as on former occasions, was the report-conception and vigor of soul.
The elevation of Sir David to this dis
MAY YOU DIE AMONG YOUR KINDRED.
BY MRS. ABDY.
“ May you
" How much is expressed by the form of oriental benediction, 'May you die among your kindred.'"-GREENWOOD.
" May you die among your kindred;" may you rest your parting gaze
die among your kindred;" may your peaceful grave be made
From Blackwood's Magazine.
DIES BOREALES.-NO. III.
CHRISTOPHER UNDER CANVASS.
TIME - EARLY EVENING. SCENE-Guita NORTH. Billy-mum.
Percha. North — BULLER — SEWARD- TalBoys. The Heavens are high-and TALBOYS.
they are deep. Fear would rise up from
that Profound, if fear there could be in the North. Trim-trim-trim.
perfectly Beautiful! Talboys. Gentlemen, are you all seated ? Seward. Perhaps there is—though it North. Why into such strange vagaries wants a name. fall as you would dance, Longfellow! Seize North. We know there is no dangerhis skirts, Seward. Buller, cling to his and therefore we should feel no fear. But knees. Billy, the boat hook-he will be we cannot wholly disencumber ourselves of he is-overboard.
the emotions that ordinarily great depth inTalboys. Not at all. Gutta Percha is spires—and verily I hold with Seward, while somewhat crank—and I am steadying her, thus we hang over the sky-abyss below with sir.
suspended oars. North. What is that round your waist ? SEWARD. The Ideal rests on the RealTalboys. My Air-girdle.
Imagination on Memory—and the Visionary, North. I insist upon your dropping it, at its utmost, still retains relations with
. It makes you reckless. I did Truth. not ihink you were such a selfish character. Buller
. Pray you to look at our EncampTalboys. Alas! in this world, how are ment. Nothing visionary thereour noblest intentions misunderstood ! I put Talboys. Which Encampment ? it on, sir, that, in case of a capsize, I might Buller. On the hill-side-up yonder-at more buoyantly bear you ashore.
Cladich. North. Forgive me, my friend. But- Talboys. You shou have said so at first. be seated. Our craft is but indifferently I thought you meant that other downwell adapted to the gallopade. Be seated, BULLER. When I speak to you, I mean the I beseech you! Or if you will stand, do bona fide flesh and blood Talboys, sitting by plant both feet-do not-do not alternate so the side of the bona fide flesh and blood --and above all do not, I implore you-show Christopher North, in Gutta Percha, and not off on one, as if you were composing and re- that somewhat absurd, and, I trust, ideal citing verses—There, down you are—and if personage, standing on his head in the wathere be not a hole in her bottom, Gutta ter, or it may be the air, some fathoms bePercha is safe against all the hidden rocks low her keel-like a pearl-diver. in Loch Awe.
Talboys. Put up your hands-50-my Talboys. Let me take the stroke oar. dear Mr. North, and frame the picture.
North. For sake of the ancient houses of North. And Maculloch not here! Why the Sewards and the Bullers, sit where you the hills behind Cladich, that people call
We are already in four fathom water. tame, make a background that no art might TalBoys. The Lines.
meliorate. Cultivation climbs the green Billy. Nea, nea—Mister Talboy. Nane slopes, and overlays the green hill-ridges, shall steer Perch when He's afloat, but t'auld while higher up all is rough, brown, heathcommodore.
ery, rocky-and behind that undulating line, North. Shove off, lads.
for the first time in my life, I see the peaks Talboys. Are we on earth, or in heaven ? of mountains. From afar they are looking Billy. On t' water.
at the Tents. And far off as they are, the