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is remarkable for the purity of the language, and the elegance of the demonstrations.
But if there were no other merit to recommend it to the student, the construction of the solid figures wherever they are required must render it of superior utility. The time and labour employed in the contrivance and final preparation of these figures greatly exceeded that of the composition of the whole work besides. To furnish 500 copies to the public required the cutting out of more than 20,000 figures, which were afterward to be divided, pierced, fitted, and the whole inserted in the planes to which they are adherent; an immense undertaking, and a species of mechanical employment peculiarly irksome to a man of taste and genius. . This production, the result of so much patient industry and laborious investigation, was sold to Mr. Johnson for the small sum of 401.: and even this was afterward voluntarily remitted by Mr. Walker, as the sale had not indemnified him for the expense of publication. That a work of
such acknowledged merit should have met with so little countenance from the public, strongly argues the decline of mathematical learning, which is perhaps no very favourable
symptom of the literary taste of the age.
Mr. Walker's determination to resign his office was no sooner known, than he was chosen as one of the ministers of the congregation assembling on the High-pavement, Nottingham. His removal thither, in consequence of his acceptance of this situation, was in the autumn of 1774. This may be regarded as an important æra in his life, as from it may be dated his usefulness as a public character. He had very early been thrown into circumstances, that had contributed to give his mind a decided turn for public affairs. In the celebrated election for Durham in 1761, he had been induced, by motives of private friendship, to enter warmly. into the contest; on which occasion his services had attracted particular notice, and were deemed very instrumental to the election of
the successful candidate. During his stay also at Yarmouth, where he subsequently resided, the dissenters possessed a very considerable political influence, which was in general successfully exerted in the choice of a representative of similar views and principles with themselves. Scarcely therefore could he refrain from imbibing a portion of that spirit, with which his friends and acquaintance in general were actuated. He had moreover, both as the effect of his education and of his own reading and reflection, formed very strong and decided notions upon the nature of civil and religious liberty; nor did he deem it inconsistent with his ministerial character, to act up to the spirit of the principles he had imbibed, whenever he conceived, that his public duty required it of him. Possessing such sentiments and a disposition naturally ardent, he entered with more than ordinary zeal into the discussion of all those questions, that in their consequences affected the interests of the public; and, whether the sub
ject had a reference merely to the local concerns of the town in which he resided, or embraced the more extended interests of the community at large, he generally acted a leading and conspicuous part. In this however there was no forward obtrusion of himself, no arrogant desire of dictating to a party, or of attracting the notice of the public; but it was the station which his character and his merit naturally assigned him, and was on the part of his associates a voluntary deference to superior talents and acquirements.
The peculiar circumstances of the situation, in which he was now placed, rendered his exertions as a public character still more extensively useful. The municipal jurisdiction of the town was vested in a corporation, that acted upon the same liberal and enlarged principles, as Mr. Walker had himself adopted for the rule of his public conduct, while the magistracy in general were members of that religious community, to which he was minister. These circum
stances contributed to give a weight to his opinions, which his personal character alone would scarcely have obtained; but being united to such other qualities, as generally give a man an ascendancy in society, they procured him a degree of influence, which few private individuals have ever possessed. These opportunities of public good the active benevolence of his disposition did not permit him to pass unimproved ; but on every occasion, in which his services might be beneficially employed, he exerted himself with a zeal and disinterestedness, that were influenced neither by a desire of popularity, nor an apprehension of personal danger. His removal to Nottingham but barely preceded the commencement of American hostilities; and as he approved neither of the grounds on which they were undertaken, nor the subsequent policy of continuing them, he exerted himself with considerable activity in opposition to so ruinous a mea
For this purpose he did not merely content himself with bearing his testimony