he had not the true mathematical instinct; I might say quite, unanimous feeling in he had no taste for the more refined Cambridge that Whewell was the right methods of modern analysis, and so far man, almost the only possible man, to as I know he made no real mathematical succeed him. It has been hinted that his advance. The history and philosophy of marriage with Miss Marshall brought him science were more practicable to him; he under the notice of influential patrons, took a keen interest in watching the and facilitated his appointment. Such, course of science, and in certain branches, however, was not the belief in Cambridge; especially that of the theory of tides, he there was a quite predominant feeling attempted to make contributions; but any that he and no one else must be master, addition to our physical knowledge which and Sir Robert Peel was not the man to he may have made bears no comparison disregard a feeling, with the existence of with the greatness of his mental endow- which I know that he was made well acment, and must not be taken as a measure quainted. of the man. The phrase, invented, I As master of Trinity he was the promthink, by Sir David Brewster, according inent feature of the university till the day to which science was his forte and om- of his death. He was not the best math. niscience his foible, is one which must ematician, nor the best scholar, nor the not be taken too strictly. Doubtless he best divine; nor was his judgment always extended his thoughts and studies over that which the majority of the members so wide a field that they could not fail to of the university chose to follow. He ex. be sometimes deficient in depth and thor- bibited occasionally sad defects of temper, oughness, but it is not true that in any and with many he was no favorite; but proper sense of the word he had a great there was no one who, on the whole, could scientific gift.

be put in the same class with him for Neither was he great as a college tutor intellect and industry and force of characor lecturer, or as a writer of books for the ter combined. I may add that his hospi. university; he had not the temperament tality and his geniality as a host lest nothwhich made him sympathize with his ing to be desired. pupils and they with him; he had not An anecdote illustrative of his singular the peculiar gist of imparting knowledge readiness in expressing his thoughts was easily and agreeably; and his books were told me by Dr. Cartmell, the late master very hard and crude, and totally devoid of of Christ's College. Dr. Cartmell, when elegance. I may add that he was not vice-chancellor, met the master of Trinity great as an examiner; he did not suffi- one afternoon, and falling into conversaciently consider what the examinees were tion with him concerning the University likely to know; nor did he take sufficient Comunission, which had then been repains to put his questions clearly, or to cently issued, expressed his opinion that make them exact. On one occasion, when it would be an advantage to the university I had the honor of examining with him,

Dr. Whewell would commit to paper the adjudication of a prize, which hung his views upon a subject which was then doubtfully between two candidates, de. so interesting to all its members. Whewpended ultimately upon their respective ell said he would think about it, and successes in Whewell's papers; where went for his afternoon ride; that same upon it appeared that both the one and evening, at about seven or eight o'clock, the other, though able mnen, had been there arrived at Christ's College lodge an able to accomplish so little – the result elaborate paper which the master of Trinfor each was, in fact, so near zero — that ity had composed. after careful consideration he could not He always appeared to me to be a good, determine that one was better or worse because a genuine, conversationalist. He than the other. “ There is not enough,” | did not indulge in the monologue, but, as said he, very emphatically, “to form an a rule, listened patiently to the person opinion."

with whom be conversed, and was content Nevertheless, every one felt in those to take turn and turn about. Sydney days that Whewell was our great Cam Smith wrote from London: “When are bridge man; people might peck at him, you coming to thunder and lighten abuse his books, find fault with his tem- amongst us?” The simile was witty, as per, and what not, but every one honored Sydney Smith's sayings usually were; and him and felt proud of him. When the there was lightning in Whewell's convermastership of Trinity College became sation, as well as audible thunder somevacant, in 1841, by the resignation of Dr. times; but the former was generally more Wadsworth, there was an almost, perhaps | notable than the latter, and the abundance

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

of his resources was so great that upon mind seemed to have preserved somealmost any subject he seemed to be able thing of the old Cambridge feeling, which, to argue best, and to know most, in any by idolizing Newton's methods, retarded company in which you chanced to meet for years the progress of English mathehim.

matics. He was unable to gain much acSometimes, Johnson - like, he would ceptance for his views, but it cannot be knock his enemy down with the butt-end denied, that if mathematics be regarded of his argument. He demolished a nota- simply as mental training, the danger ble Oxonian brother, reputed to have a which he feared is a real one, and the temperament similar to his own, with warnings which he gave so abundantly whom he was maintaining a discussion are not to be altogether despised. upon Gothic architecture, with the follow- The same tone of mind manifested it. ing weighty sentence: “I studied archi- self in all his conversation, his sermons, tecture under Rickman a man who his speeches. Even in an after-clinner never expressed an opinion upon a sub- speech on a public occasion, I have heard ject unless he felt assured that he thor- him, as chairman, reason out the whole oughly understood it."

question of after-dinner speeches almost A story used to be told of him, that on in the form of a syllogism.

" When a one occasion he was engaged in argument number of persons are met together on a concerning a subject, in discussing which social occasion, it is necessary that some his antagonist took his stand upon a cer. one should express the thoughts and feel. tain article in an encyclopædia, from ings which they have in common, and which, in fact, he appeared to bave gained which have brought them together.” the greater part of his knowledge. The That was the major premiss. “I appear discussion was somewhat shortened by a to be the person upon whom the duty quiet remark dropping from Whewell's devolves upon this occasion.". That was lips: “Yes; I wrote that article." I re- the minor premiss. Accordingly I will member to have had a somewhat similar proceed to submit to you a series of experience on a small scale. Speaking to toasts." That was the conclusion. He him concerning a certain term used in appealed to reason, even in the case of mathematical language, I was surprised his horse. I was riding with him one day to hear him say, I invented that term;" when his horse became somewhat fidgety; and be referred me to the memoir in instead of using such language as horses which it had first been used.

to understand, Whewell looked Whewell's mind was essentially argu- down at his beast, and said sternlymentative. He had a great fear, not I “How can you be so absurd ?” think always groundless, lest young men, This hard, argumentative quality of in reading mathematics, and adopting the brain was, however, compatible with the algebraical methods of modern times, coexistence in his mental constitution of should use those methods too much as a a decidedly poetical vein. It was not mill for grinding out results, and should merely that he obtained the chancellor's substitute them for reasoning, instead of medal as an undergraduate, and that he employing them intelligently as aids to wrote sonnets and elegiacs, and held the reasoning faculty." Men rush,” he strong opinions concerning Wordsworth; would say, "to differentiation on the but his whole soul was full of poetry, and slightest provocation.” My own opinion his chief work, the “ History of the Inused to be that he pushed this view too ductive Sciences,” owes much of its far, and that if he had had his way, Cam- charm to this feature of its author's mind. bridge studies, in the success of which he Sir John Herschel, if I am not mistaken, took such a constant and lively interest, in the critique on the history, which apwould not have been helped, but hin-peared in the Edinburgh Review, called dered; he would have been glad, as far attention to the dramatic form in which as possible, to reduce all demonstrations the progress of science had been chronito a Newtonian form; I doubt whether cled. We have the prelude of a certain he ever completely enjoyed the inodern epoch, then the epoch itself, then the application of mathematical analysis to sequel. Doubtless the history of natural physics, still less mathematical analysis science is not the field in which we should for its own sake. He seemed to think expect to find much room for the develthat a result was not thoroughly reasoned opment of the poetical faculty; but the out, unless you could, as in a proposition readableness of Whewell's book — and of Euclid or a lemma of Newton, see right for my own part I regard it as specially through it from beginning to end; his readable – is, I think, very much due to


[ocr errors]

as we

the possession by the author of a share | name and his works live? Certainly he of that gift which makes a poet. I do will not appear so remarkable to those not know whether the collection of elegi. who follow him as he did to his contemacs, which he composed when in seclu- poraries; his grand form and presence, sion, after the death of his first wife, and and all that is connected with the living which are contained in Mrs. Stair Doug- man, have passed away, and will not leave las's volume, will be regarded as any indi- even that amount of mark upon the sands cation of poetical power; he had, I may 1 of time which has been left by some notobserve by the way, a great belief in the able characters. Neither will his name adaptability of English to hexameters be associated with any special discovery and pentameters, in which, perhaps, not in science or otherwise; nay, even his many Englishmen share; but certainly, magnum opus, the “History and Philosas an indication of deep feeling, and as a ophy of the Inductive Sciences,” is not proof of the indomitable activity of his only open to criticisin as to the principles mind, which must always be doing some- upon which it is based, but also from its thing, these verses are very striking: very nature is liable to be suserseded by

Whewell's heart was very much in the other works, written by those who came study of moral philosophy. He held the after the first historian and philosopher, professorship for many years, and may and who have the benefit of his previous almost be said to have founded it. Be- efforts. The growth of science during fore his time the chair bore the name of the past half-century has, in fact casuistry. I believe it was accepted by well know, and as we may learn more Wirewell, with the express condition that particularly from Sir Jolin Lubbock's late casuistry should be interpreted to mean presidential address at the jubilee meetmoral philosophy; and the formal name ing of the British Association — been so of the professorship is now moral theol. prodigious, that a history written in 1837 ogy, casuistical divinity, and moral philos- inust even now be well nigh out of date. ophy. I do not venture to express a judg. Nevertheless it must not be too hastily ment upon the results of Whewell's assumed that the work which Whewell studies, as contained in his published was able to do has been without permavolumes; but I imagine that these vol. nent fruit. In the first place, when be umes will not rank with his work on the wrote his greatest work, he was probably inductive sciences.

the only Englishman who was capable of His Bridgewater Treatise had great conceiving the work, or of carrying out popularity for many years after its publi- the conception; certainly there were not cation, and is not yet, I suppose, quite many who had the intellectual grasp or out of date; but his most popular work the industry necessary to success.

Then was one which was published anonymous, again, as was remarked by Sir John Herly, “ The Plurality of Worlds." His name schel, whatever may be thought about this might as well have been printed on the or that portion of the book, it undoubttitle page; ex pede Herculem; no one edly left the subject in a very different had ever much doubt as to the author; if position from that which it occupied bethey had, it would have been dispelled by fore. The tree of knowledge received a an appendix which soon appeared, in shake from the hand of a giant, and a which the author set up all his critics in quantity of ripe fruit fell, though much a row and knocked them down like nine was left behind. In fact, the principle of pins one after another. I venture to Whewell's efforts seems to be well indiprophesy that this volume will long find cated by the colophon which he adopted readers; not because it appears to me for his works, and the motto which he convincing, quite the contrary; but the took from the old Greek game; he handed question of the habitability of the planets on the lamp; he gave his knowledge to and the condition of their inhabitants, if others in order that they might give it to any, is one of those which is sure to crop those who should follow in the intellecup from time to time, which can never be tual race. And though his actual books conclusively answ

swered, and in discussing may become antiquated, as probably they which it is almost impossible that “ The will, still it may well be believed that they Plurality of Worlds” can ever cease to be will have had an effect in settling the an element.

foundations of scientific knowledge, which This remark leads to the more general will be long felt, and will be of permanent question which must necessarily occur to value when the volumes themselves have the mind of all those who knew'Whewell, ceased to be generally read. In this reor who have known about him — will his spect there may possibly be some analogy

[ocr errors]



between Whewell and his great philosophical predecessor whom he so much Would you tell lies to cheat the people? No! delighted to honor. Bacon has produced I'm a plain man, and tell you plainly - No ! an effect upon scientific thought which But if you will tell lies, cut a broad slice no one would care to measure by the With a free hand, and don't be over-nice ! amount of actual reading which his works receive: doubtless the great chancellor's

THE GOLDEN AGE. writings have a vitality, as proved by re- My friend, your golden age is gone, cent editions of his works, which whew. But good men still can bring it back again; ell's cannot be expected to manifest; but Rather, if I must speak the truth, I'll say the spirit of Bacon is far more vital than The golden age of which the poet sings his printed books, and it may be that the In flattering phrase, this age at no time was impulse and the direction given to scien- On earth one whit more than it is to-day;

And, if it ever was, 'twas only so, tific and philosophical thought by Whew. As all good men can bring it back to-morrow. ell's writings may have an influence upon men's minds deep and permanent, and

SELF-KNOWLEDGE. not to be adequately measured by the sale

'Tis no doubt pleasant of his printed works.

Ourselves with our own selves to occupy,

Were but the profit equal to the pleasure.
Inwardly no man can his inmost self
Discern; the gauge that from himself he takes

Measures him now too small, and now too
From Blackwood's Magazine.


Only in man man knows himself, and only WORDS OF WISDOM FROM GOETHE.

Life teaches each man what each man is worth.

WOULDst thou be a happy liver,
Let the past be past forever !

When two men quarrel, who owns the coolest

head Fret not, when prigs and pedants bore you;

Is most to blame.
Enjoy the good that's set before you ;
But chiefly hate no man; the rest

Leave thou to God, who knows what's best.

Reader. LIFE THE SCHOOL OF MANHOOD. What means this rabble of low people here A noble man may to a narrow sphere

Quack doctor, juggler, beggar, gondolier? Not owe his training. In his country he

Hast seen no good society, that you And in the world must learn to be at home,

Should waste good verse on such uncultured And bear both praise and blame, and by long

crew ?

Of contest and collision nicely know
Himself and others, - not in solitude,

Oh yes ! your good society, in the mint
Cradling his soul in dreams of fair conceit.

Of courts 'tis coined, and very well I know A foe will not, a true friend dare not, spare So fine and featureless, it leaves no hint

him ; And thus in strife well-tried powers he

For smallest touch of nature to a poet. grows,

SELF-LIMITATION. Feels what he is, and feels himself a man.

The smallest man may be complete, if KNOWLEDGE OF MEN.

he confine his activity within the natural No man fears men, but he who knows them range of his capacities and dexterities; not ;

but even superior talents will be obscured, And he who shuns them may not hope to know defeated, and destroyed, if this indispenthem.

sable instinct of self-limitation is wanting. THE WISDOM OF LIFE.

Mistakes arising from this defect will

come more and more to the front in mod. Use well the moment ; what the hour Brings for thy use is in thy power ;

ern times; for who shall be able to satisfy And what thou best canst understand,

the demands of an age, living under the Is just the thing lies nearest to thy hand.

stimulus of a constant high pressure, and

the excitement of a hot-spurred progresPATIENCE.

sion ? Nay, don't lose heart; small men and mighty nations,

THE WORLD, AND HOW TO USE IT. Have learned a great deal when they practise Live with the world whoso has nerve patience.

To make the world his purpose serve ;



But, if you leave your lofty level

To do the world's vile command,

Your purpose told to others, is your own
You were as well to let the devil

No longer; with your will once set at large
Keep all your gear in hand.

Blind accident will sport. Who would comCONSCIENCE AND ACTION.

mand The man of action has no conscience in Mankind must hold them fast by swift surprise. the moment of action ; only the observer Nay, more; even with the strongest will we passes a severe judgment.

To do great things, crossed by a thousand


With petty contradiction. Who spouts his message to the wilderness

RICHES. Lightens his soul, and feels one burden less : But to the people preach, and you will find Every one who knows to use the wealth They'll pay you back with thanks ill to your which he possesses, has enough: to be mind.

wealthy is a cumbrous business, unless MONUMENTS.

you know how to use your resources. The marble bears his name, and tells his story.

GOD. INNATE IDEAS. But you'll forgive me, if I hint the truth :

There is a universe within, You gild the monument in honest sooth,

The world we call the soul, the mind : Not for his honor, but for your own glory.

And in that world what best we find

We stammer forth, and think no sin

To call it God, and our God, and
Envy must be : e'en let her feed her grudge ! Give heaven and earth into his hand,
Truth will shine out, when time shall be the And fear his power, and search his plan
judge ;

Darkly, and love him, when we can. 'Tis an old use that hath been, and will be, That where the sun his liberal light may throw,

THE INFINITE. The heat comes with it, and the grass will Wouldst thou with thy bounded sight grow.

Make survey of the Infinite,

Look right and left, and everywhere,

Into the finite - you'll find it there.

may be proud ? the young : for why? the

Of life is theirs, and Time is on their side.

The Pater noster is a goodly prayer,

That helped poor sinners out of many a scrape :

And if one prays it noster Pater, Divide and rule, the politician cries;

Well, let it help him in that shape !
Unite and lead, is watchword of the wise.


Man was not born to say I will be free; Go north and south on German ground,

No higher good a noble man may wish, Eastward and westward wander,

Than with a loyal heart to serve a prince Two nasty things you'll find abound

Whom he respects and honors.
Tobacco-smoke, and slander.


A noble master all may well obey
Your lazy loon, if dainty pigeons

Whose word convinces, where his will comUp to his mouth well roasted flew,

mands. He would not taste them, no, not he, Unless well carved and served up too !


You're a disciple of no school,

And own no living master's rule;
An ill-starred devil is the man,

Nor have dead men in Greece or Rome Who will not do the thing he can;

Taught you things better learned at home; And what he can't, with blind ambition

This means, if I am not mistaking Will do, and works his own perdition.

You're a prime fool of your own making. TO-DAY.

GOD. To-day, to-day, only show valiant face, No ! such a God my worship may not win, And you have gained a hundred days of grace. Who lets the world about his finger spin

A thing extern : my God must rule within, SOLITUDE AND SOCIETY.

And whom I own for Father, God, Creator, In still retreat a thoughtful talent thrives, Holds nature in himself, himself in nature : But in the stream and current of the world And in his kindly arms embraced, the Whole The character grows strong.

Doth live and move by his pervading soul.

« VorigeDoorgaan »