Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

that every one feels, as to the permancy of the new regulations, excites a jealousy, which is at the same time, the source of acts of undue severity, and improper lenity ; both of which add to the present discontent of those who feel themselves aggrieved. When regulations in these circumAtances, are dictated even by the kindest beneficence, the moft rigid' equity, and consummate wisdom, they would be often so ill received, as to be again rejected. But, where selfish principles in any way can interfere,---where. equity must be sacrificed to conveniency,—and where ignorance and folly bear their share in council; the chance for such tranquillity being permanent, is infinitely diminished : But if no fingle person can be found, who possesses unmixed beneficence, inflexible justiàe, and consummate wisdom; far ess can a multitude of men be found, who will be capable of acting on these principles."

From this mode of reasoning, without entering into any particular examination of circumstances, the true friends of freedom will be moderate in their congratulations of the happiness of the people in France. That their government can long continue precisely on the same footing as at prefent, few people will expect ; that the changes which are to ensue, will prove very detrimental to many individuals, sensible men will think highly probable ; that the convulgons they will occasion may be few, and their terminá. tions happy; every humane person, who contemplates the prefent fituation of France, will be disposed devoutly to pray for: One thing alone seems to be so highly probable, as to be next to certainty, viz. that in no future period, will the governors of France, whoever these may be, ever dare to adopt some of those arbitrary modes of government, that were formerly carried into practice; and it is to be hoped, that others of an equally destructive tendency, will never be adopted in their stead."

Whatever be the result of the internal struggles of France, the conseqnence of them at present, is a total annihilation, for the time, of her infuence on the affairs of the other European nations. This has already paved the way for fome transactions, that never could have taken place withi. out it, and will lay the foundation of others, that may long be felt in the political affairs of Europe.

To be continued.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

S: 70 Cursory Hints and Anecdotes of the late Doctor WILLIAM · CULLEN of Edinburgh, continued from page 121. "

It would seem as if Doctor Cullen had considered the proper business of a preceptor to be that of putting his pupils into a proper train of study, so as to enable them to profecute these studies at a future period, and to carry them on much farther than the short time allowed for academical prelections would adinit. He did not, therefore, so much strive to make those who attended his lectures deeply versed in the particular details of objects, as to give them a general view of the whole fubject ; to shew what had been already attained respecting it; to point out what remained yet to be discovered; and to put them into a train of study, that should enable them, at a future period, to remove those difficulties that had hitherto obstructed our progress ; and thus to advance of themselves to farther and farther degrees of perfection. If thes; were his views, nothing could be more happily adapted to it than the mode he invariably pursued. He first drew, with the striking touches of a master, a rapid and general outline of the subject, by which the whole figure was seen at once to start boldly from the canvas, distinct in all its · Vol. I. : :

parts, and unmixed with any other object. He their began anéw to retrace the picture, to toueh up the lef* fer parts, and to finish the whole in as perfect a manner as the state of our knowledge at the time would permit. 'Where materials were wanting, the picture there continued to remain imperfe&t. The wants were thus rendered obvious; and the means of supplying these were pointed out with the most careful discrimi. nation. The student, whenever he looked back to the subject, perceived the defects; and his hopes being awakened, he felt an irrefiftible impulse to explore that hitherto untrodden path which had been pointed out to him, and fill up the chasm which still remained. Thus. were the active faculties of the mind most powerfully excited ; and instead of labouring himself to supply de ficiencies that far exceeded the power of any one man to' accomplish, he fet thoufands at work to fulfil the talk, and put them into a train of going on with it, when he himself should be gone to that country " from whose dread bourne no traveller returns."

It was to these talents, and to this mode of applying them, that Doctor Cullen owed his celebrity as a profel for; and it was in this manner that he has perhaps done more towards the advancement of science than any other man of his time, though many individuals might perhaps be found who were more deeply versed in the particular departments he taught than he himself was. Chemistry, which was before his time a most disgufting pursuit, was by him rendered a study fo pleasing, foeasy, and so attractive, that it is now profecuted by numbers as an agreeable recreation, who, but for the lights that were thrown upon it by Cullen and his pupils, would never have thought of engaging in it at all; though perhaps they never heard of Cullen's name, nos have at this time the most diftant idea that they owe any obligations to him. The fame thing may, no doubt, be faid of the other branches of fcience he taught, though of these the writer cannot fpeak from his own

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

knowledge. Such indeed were the extensive views he took of every subject, and so luminous was the arrangement he put them in, and so vigorous were the powers of his mind, that the writer has often regretted he was ever permitted to teach any one branch of science longer than two or three years; during which time he could Have formed a school capable of going on without his. aid. After this was accomplished, Cullen should have been appointed to teach another branch, and another ftill, till he had gone round the whole circle of the fciences. This idea will no doubt to many appear absurd ;- but to those who have had opportunities of hearing him incidently in conversation touch upon subjects, on which it could scarcely be thought his other avocations would have allowed him to spend a thought, will not be surprised at this idea. No one will suppose that either Logic or Mathematics would be studies that could have much attracted his notice; yet the writer of this has incidently heard Doctor Cullen, in the course of not many minutes conversation, throw out such ideas on both these fubjects, as plainly shewed, that had he been required to give lectures upon them, he could have done it in a manner that would have been equally pleasing and attonithing, nearly as on chemistry, or any other subject he ever taught; and as a professor of natural philofophy, it is perhaps imposlīble to form an idea of the ardour 'he would have excited, or the innumerable exertions that would have been made in consequence of it, to perfect this great and most useful branch of science.

To draw a just character of Doctor Cullen, would require talents much greater than the writer of these remarks can claim, and a degree of knowledge he does not poffefs : He therefore declines the talk. The following traits, communicated by a friend, appear to him fo juft, that he begs leave here to tranforibe them." They were written by a man who knew the Docto well, in his public as well as his private capacity,

and a declines thed, appear teh

î

6. There are three things which certainly distinguisha 6.ed Cullen in a very eminent manner as a professor. .' In The energy of his mind, by which he viewed “ every subject with ardour, and combined it imme“ diately with the whole of his knowledge..sisi w

" The scientific arrangement which he gave to his “ subject, by which tiere was a lucidus ordo to the “ dullest, scholar. He was the first person in this coun.. " trý who made chemistry cease to be à chaos....!

" A wonderful art of interesting the students in “ every thing which he taught, and of raising an emu* lative enthusiasm among them.". ! ii vonios

Let it not, however, be imagined, because of these just eulogiums, that the writer of this article withes to reprefent Doctor Cullen as a perfect character, utterly devoid of fåults : Far from it. To say that he never deviated into error, would not only be absurd, but it would be to contradict, in direct terms, the defcription that has been given of the peculiar bent of his talents, and of his peculiar disposition of mind. It is impof fible that men of such a lively imagination as he was, whatever be the stretch of their talents, should not at times lose sight of lesser objects, when contemplating those of greater importance. The distinguishing characteristics of men of great talents, have ever been ra. ther great beauties than an exemption from faults. The works of Shakespear abound with defects that writers of a mediocrity of talents never could have been guilty of--and so it was perhaps with Cullen. It was, however, a peculiar excellence, resulting from the mode of analy's that Cullen daily adopted in his search after truth, that his pupils thus became habituated to such a strict method of reasoning, and such a careful discrimination of circumstances, that they were enabled easily to perceive the casual errors even of their preceptor himself; and no sooner did these occur to himself, (which was often the case,) or were pointed out by others, than he instantly not only relinquished them,

« ZurückWeiter »