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How much more humbly and justly the sublime philosopher himself estimated his acquirements, we may see from the following note.
• Sir Isaac said a little before his death, “ I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself, in now and then finding a pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” MSS. Conduitt. Newton begins his first letter to Dr, Bentley, in 1692, thus : “ When I wrote my treatise about our system, I had an eye upon such principles as might work with considering men for the belief of a Deity, and nothing can rejoice me more than to find it useful for that purpose. But if I have done the public any service this way, it is due to nothing but industry and patient thought.” Four Letters, &c. Edit. 1796, 8vo. p. 173.
. Our limits will not permit us even to sketch a memoir of his life; we shall therefore only state that he was born at Woolsthorpe near Grantham, went to two little day schools in the neighbourhood till he was twelve years old, and then attended a great school at Grantham for some years longer; after which his mother took himn home, intending to bring him up to the management of his own small paterual estate. But bis genius broke through the restraint of such ignoble employment, and he entered himself at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1660. Here began his career of mathematical and astronomical glory; in which he persevered, through very few changes of life, brightening in his course, as he advanced to his meridian, and broadening as he went down till the day of his death, which happened at Kensington, in 1726-7. The documents concerning him in this volume are' Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton sent by Mr. Conduitt to M. Fontenelle, in 1727;' the · Pedigree of Newton, from the entry made by himself in the Col. lege of Arms :'( A remarkable and curious conversation between Sir Isaac Newton, and Mr. Conduitt;' and a letter from Dr. Stukeley to Dr. Mead dated Grantham, June 26, 1727. . We shall make our extracts from the first and last of these artícles. That part of a great man's life, in which the size and featnres of his mind, if we may use so bold a form of speech, are as decidedly formed and fixed as the bulk and strength of his body, the period from boyhood to maturity, is in general miserably deficient of illustration and anecdote in biographical accounts. We shall therefore confine our selections, chiefly, to circumstances relative to Sir Isaac Newton in this most interesting æra of his life.
• Sir Isaac used to relate that he was very negligent at school, and very low in it, till the boy above him gave him a kick on the belly, which put him to a great deal of pain. Nos content, with having thrashed his ad
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versary, Sir Isaac could not rest till he had got before him in the school, and from that time continued rising till he was the head boy. MS. Con. duitt.' p. 159.
The following particulars are given of his studies at oɔllege.' . He always informed himself before hand of the books his tutor in, tended to read, and when he came to the lectures, found he knew more of them than his tutor: the first books he read for that purpose were Saunderson’s Logic, and Kepler's Optics.
"A desire to know whether there was any thing in judicial astrology first put him upon studying mathematics ; he discovered the emptiness of that study, as soon as he erected a figure, for which purpose he made use of two or three problems in Euclid, which he turned to by means of an index, and did not then read the rest, looking npon it as a book con. taining only plain and obvious things. He went at once upon Descartes's Geometry, and made himself master of it, by dint of genius and application, without going through the usual steps, or having the assistance of any other person.
In 1664 he bought a prism, to try some experiments upon Descartes's doctrine of Colours, and soon found out his own theory, and the erroneousness of Descartes's hypothesis. About this time he began to have the first hint of his method of Auxions; and in the year 1665, when he retired to his own estate, * on account of the plague, he first thought of his system of gravity, which he hit upon by observing an apple fall from a tree.
• He laid the foundation of all his discoveries before he was twenty-four years old, and communicated most of them in loose tracts and letters to the Royal Society, of which an ample account is given in the Commercium Epistolicum. 1
• At the university, he spent the greatest part of his time in his closet, and when he was tired with his severer studies of philosophy, his relief and amusement was going to some other study, as history, chronology, divinity, and chemistry, all which he examined and searched thoroughly, as appears by the many papers he has left on those subjects. After his coming to London, all the time he had to spare from his business, and the civilities of life, in which he was scrupulously exact and complaisant, was employed in the same way, and he was hardly ever alone without a pen in his hand, and a book before him: and in all the studies he undertook, he had a perseverance and patience equal to his sagacity and invention.' p. 163.
We have often been delighted to contemplate, in Sir Isaac Newton's character, the admirable association of excellent moral qualities with transcendant powers of intellect.
• Notwithstanding the extraordinary honours that were paid him, he had so humble an opinion of himself, that he had no relish of the applause, which was so deservedly paid him ; and he was so little vain and desirous of glory from any of his works, that he, as it is well known, would have
* At Woolsthorpe, where his mother lived. The apple tree is now remaining and is shewed to strangers. We Vol. V.
let others run away with the glory of those inventions, which have done so much honour to human nature, if his friends and countrymen had not been more jealous, than he, of his and their glory. He was exceedingly courteous and affable, even to the lowest, and never despised any man for want of capacity, but always expressed freely his resentment against any immorality or impiety. He not only shewed a great and constant regard to religion in general, as well by an exemplary course of life, as in all his writings ; but was also a firm believer of revealed religion, which appears by the many papers he has left on that subject; but his notion of the Christian religion was not founded on a narrow bottom, nor his charity and morality so scanty, as to shew a coldness to those who thought otherwise than he did, in matters indifferent; much less to admit of persecution, of which he always expressed the strongest abhorrence and detestation. He had such a meekness and sweetness of temper, that a melancholy story would often draw tears from him, and he was exceedingly shocked at any act of cruelty to man or beast ; mercy to both being the topic he loved to dwell upon. An innate modesty and simplicity shewed itself in all his actions and expressions.
• He was never married; he was very temperate in his diet, but never observed any regimen. He was blessed with a very happy and vigorous constitution ; he was of a middle stature, and plump in his latter years ; he had a very lively and piercing eye, a comely and gracious aspect, and a fine head of hair, as white as silver, without any baldness, and when his peruke was off, was a venerable sight. And to his last illness he had the bloom and colour of a young man, and never wore spectacles, nor lost more than one tooth to the day of his death. pp. 164, 165. · «On Saturday morning, the 18th, he read the newspapers, and held a pretty long discourse with Dr. Mead, and had all his senses perfect ; but that evening at six, and all Sunday, he was insensible, and died on Monday the 20tt. of March, between one and two o'clock in the morning. He seemed to he te stamina vitæ (except the accidental disorder of the stone) to have carried him to a much longer age. To the last he had all his senses and faculties strong, vigorous, and lively, and he continued writing and studying many hours every day to the time of his last illness. p. 166.
The following additional information, concerning his habits and indications of character in early life, is extracted from the letter of Dr. Stukeley to Dr. Mead.
• Every one that knew Sir Isaac, or have heard of him, recount the pregnancy of his parts when a boy, his strange inventions, and extraordinary inclination for mechanics. That instead of playing among the other boys, when from school, he always busied himself in making knick-knacks and models of wood in many kinds. For which purpose he had got dittle saws, hatchets, hammers, and all sorts of tools, which he would use with great dexterity. In particular they speak of his making a wooden clockAbout this time, a new windmill was set up near Grantham, in the way to Gunnerby, which is now demolished, this country chiefly using water mills. Our lad's imitating spirit was soon excited, and by frequently prying into the fabric of it, as they were making it, he became master enough to make a very perfect model thereof, and it was said to be as
clean and curious a piece of workmanship, as the original. . This sometimes he would set upon the house-top, where he lodged, and clothing it with sail-cloth, the wind would readily turn it ; but what was most extraordinary in its composition was, that he put a mouse into it, which he called the miller, and that the mouse made the mill turn round when he pleased; and he would joke too upon the miller eating the corn that was put in. Some say he tied a string to the mouse's tail, which was put into a wheel, like that of turnspit dogs, so that pulling the string made the mouse go forward by way of resistance, and this turned the mill. Others suppose there was some corn placed above the wheel, this the mouse endeavouring to get to, made it turn. Moreover Sir Isaac's water clock is much talked of. This he made out of a box he begged of Mr. Clark's (his landlord) wife's brother. As described to me, it resembled pretty much our com mon clocks and clock-cases, but less ; for it was not above four feet in height, and of a proportionable breadth. There was a dial plate at top, with figures of the hours. The index was turned by a piece of wood, which either fell or rose by water dropping. This stood in the room where he lay, and he took care every morning to supply it with its proper quantity of water; and the family upon occasion would go to see what was the hour by it. It was left in the house long after he went away to the University. pp. 176. 177.
Dr. Stukeley tells us that much of his information respecting Sir Isaac, was supplied by Mrs. Vincent, an elderly matron, to whom it is supposed the philosopher had formerly been attached. Mr. Clark, also, informed himn that
o The room where Sir Isaac lodged, was his lodging room too when a lad, and that the whole wall was still full of the drawings he had made upon it with charcoal, and so remained till pulled down about sixteen years ago, as I said before. There were birds, beasts, men, ships, and mathematical schemes, and very well designed.
06 We must understand all this while, that his mother had left Wolsthorp, and lived with her second husband at North-Witham. But upon his death, after she had three children by him, she returned to her own house, which likewise, it ought to be remembered, was rebuilt by him. She upon this was for saving expences as much as she could, and recalled her son Isaac from school, intending to make him serviceable in managing of the farm and country business at Wolsthorp ; and I doubt not but she thought it would turn more to his own account, than being a scholar. Accordingly we must suppose him attending the tillage, grazing, and the like. And they tell us that he frequently came to Grantham market, with corn and other commodities to sell, and to carry home what necessaries were proper to be bought at a market town for a family; but being young, his mother usually sent a trusty old servant along with him, to put him into the way of, business. Their inn was at the Saracen's Head in Westgate, where as soon as they had put up their horses, Isaac, generally left the man to manage the marketings, and retired instantly to Mr. Clark's garret, where he used to lodge, near where lay a parcel of old books of Mr. Clark's, which he entertained himself with, whilst it was time to go home again ; or else he would stop by the way between home and Grantham, and lye under a hedge studying, whilst the man went to town and did the business, and called upon him in his return. No doubt the man made remonstrances of this to his mother. Likewise when at home, if his mother ordered him into the fields, to look after the sheep, the corn, or upon any other rural employment, it went on very heavily through his manage. His chief delight was to sit under a tree, with a book in his hands, or to busy him. self with his knife in cutting wood for models of somewhat or other that struck his fancy : or he would get to a stream and make mill wheels." ; pp. 179, 180...
It would be quite superfluous to apologise to our readers for extracting, from a volume which few of them will ever see, such copious details concerning a man who is the glory both of their country and of human nature. Art. IV. The New Testament, in an Improved Version, upon the Basis of
Archbishop Newcome's New Translation ; with a corrected Text, and
Paul, and John. Published in Conformity to the Plan of the late Rev.
(Continued from p. 39.)
proved Version, and the less considerable work before us, under the distinct heads of the text which forms their basis, the distribution of the text,the mode of translating peculiar expressions --the style,-the degree of impartiality that is manifested, and the character of the notes.
1. On the Text. Archbishop Newcome's translation, which is assumed in both the volumes before us, was made from Griesbach's N. T. 1775; but, in the “Improved Version, the text is conformed to his second and more perfect edition, the result of the laborious exertions of a long life, principally spent in scriptural studies. Whoever would form 'a fair estimate of this edition of the Greek Testament, it is necessary that he possess a competent proficiency in the critical science, that he diligently study the Prolegomena to each volume, and that he have been for some time in the habit of using the edic' tion, noting the text, and pondering its evidences. To examine at length the character of the whole, would require a volume of no moderate size. Such a work would involve a.. revisal of Griesbach's estimate of the value of every authority, whether manuscript, ancient version, or citation ;-an adjustment of each to its 'proper recension, according to the classification derived from Bengelius aud Semler; and an application of the evidence thus ascertained, according to the strict canons of criticism, to about one hundred thousand cases. Such a labour, however, is not 'necessary here. A few'experimenta crucis will be found quite satisfactory. We hazard nothing in saying, that the venerable professor has atchieved that