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against the nature of
e hidden from our reason by an impenetrable veil, trying to submit the world to his conjectures, consuming almost all his life in these vain efforts, and at length plunging himself into an abyss of misery. Here, like himself, I have need of all your indult gence; perhaps the details into which I am about to enter wilí, appear foreign to the place in which I speak, but it is here, I think, that the terrible example they give ought to be heard with the greatest interest: I have already told you that Priestley was a minister of religion, and I am forced to add, that he professed four different creeds before he could decide on teaching one of them in his public capacity. Brought up in all the severity of the presbyterian faith, which we call Calvinistic, and in all the bitterness of predestination, such as Gomar taught it, he scarcely began to reflect, before he turned to the milder doctrine of Arminius. But, as he advanced, he always seemed to find too much to believe; he therefore adopted the tenets of the Arians, who, after having invaded Christianity from the time of the successors of Constantine, have now no other asylum than in England, but whose faith is decorated by the names of Milton, Clarke, and Locke, and even, as report says, that of Newton, and whose reputations, in some measure, repair the loss of former power.
Arianism, while it declares Christ to be a creature, believes him, nevertheless, to be a being of a superior nature, produced before the world, and the organ of the Creator in the production of other beings. This is the doctrine clothed in the magnificent poetry of the Paradise Lost. After baving long professed this, Priestley abandoned it, in order to be come an Unitarian, or that which we call Socinian. There are few, perhaps, among those who now hear me, who have ever informed themselves, in what these two sects differ. It is, that the Socinians deny the pre-existence of Christ, and only look upon him as a man, though they revere in him the Saviour of the world; and they acknowledge that the Divinity was united to him, in order to effect this great work. This subtle shade between two heresies, for thirty years occupied that bead which required for the most important questions of science, and, without comparison, caused Priestley to write more volumes than he ever produced on the different species of air ..... His last moments were full of those feelings of piety, which had animated his whole life, the improper control of which had been the foundation of all his errors. He caused the Gospel to be read to him, and thanked God for having allowed him to lead an useful life, and granted him a peaceful death. Among the list of his principal blessings, he ranked that of having personally known almost all his contemporaries. 'I am going to sleep, as you do,' said he to his grandchildren, who were brought to him, but we shall wake again together, and, I hope, to eternal happiness;' thus evincing in what belief he died. These were his last words; such was the end of that man, whom his enemies accused of wishing to overthrow all morality and religion, and, nevertheless, whose greatest error was to mistake his vocation, and to attach too much importance to his individual sentiments, in matters where the most important of all feelings ought to be the love of peace."--pp, 188-191.
Adanson, whose name is associated with the celebrated and extraordinary tree called the Baobab (Adansonia digitata), which he discovered in Africa, forms the subject of an highly interesting
eloge. He was born in Provence, and manifested at a very early age a passion for natural history. At the period when he had finished his educational studies, the natural history of Africa was altogether unknown; he consequently turned his ambition to that region, and thought nothing of the difficulties and perils which beset him in a journey thither. At twenty-one he embarked for Senegal, and after a few years of research there, and in several parts of Africa, he returned to Paris laden with knowledge, and materials of precious value, but was vastly lowered in circumstances. His Natural History of Senegal contains a wonderful body of curious and original intelligence, and it is remarkable for being the first attempt of which any trace can be found to establish a principle of classification amongst the Testacea, which is found in the organization of the animals instead of the shells. But Adanson was another of the innocent victims who lost their fortunes by the revolution. Reduced as he bad been by his expensive travels, he still had sufficient to enable him to keep a small plantation of foreign trees, to the cultivation and care of which he devoted the whole of his time. But the furious rabble destroyed it, and into such a state of destitution was poor Adanson reduced, that, when he was invited to become one of the earliest members of the Institute, he was obliged to refuse the invitation because she had no shoes!”
In the eloge on Lassus we have some curious facts. He was a surgeon, and though skilful in his profession, was so very unfortynate as to attempt to bleed one of his royal patients without suc, cess. The world was astonished, and the whole faculty cried out, “What! two punctures and no blood come! Frightful.” Never theless Lassus afterwards became a distinguished teacher of science, We pass over the eloges of De Saussure and others, and come to the one of Fourcroy in which Cuvier appears to put forth all his reg!
After a brilliant recapitulation of the struggles of his youth, his vigorous resistance of injustice and poverty, and an ample account of the discoveries of Fourcroy, Cuvier enters upon a scription of him as a lecturer. “We fancy," writes the accomplished biographer, “we again find in these assemblies a whole people animated by the voice of a single orator; and again see those schools, where chosen disciples came to penetrate the oracles of a sage. The lectures of M. Fourcroy corresponded to this twofold picture: Plato and Demosthenes seemed to be united in him; and it is almost necessary to be one or the other, to give an idea of them.
Connection of method, abundance of elocution, elevation, precision, elegance of terms, as if they had been selected long beforehand; rapidity, brilliancy, novelty, as if suddenly inspired; a flexible, sonorous, and silvery voice, yielding to every motion, penetrating into the corners of the largest audience-room; -nature had bestowed every thing on him. Sometimes his discourse flowed smoothly and majestically; the grandeur of his metaphors, and the pomp of his style, were all imposing; then, varying his accents, he passed in
sensibly to the most ingenuous familiarity, and fixed attention by sallies of the most fascinating gaiety. Hundreds of auditors, of all classes, all nations, were to be seen whole hours, closely pressed against each other, almost fearing to breathe, their eyes fixed on his, suspended to his mouth, as the poet says (pendent ab ore loquentis). His look of fire darted over the crowd; in the farthest rows he distinguished that mind which was difficult to convince, and still doubted, or the slow comprehension which did not completely understand; for these he redoubled his arguments and his similes, and varied his expressions until he found those which would convince; language seemed to multiply its riches for him, and he did not quit his subject till he saw all his numerous audience equally satisfied.
In the reign of terror, Fourcroy was, from particular circumstances, in the lucky condition of being able to save many persons from an untimely and ignominious death; when Lavoisier was arrested it was generally concluded that his life would be secured by the interference of Fourcroy, but the former ultimately fell a victim to the monsters of the revolution, and the report was spread immediately that Foureroy employed his interest in promoting his destruction, in order to get rid of the only powerful rival which he had in chemistry. But the real truth was, that, at the moment of Lavoisier's arrest, the life of Fourcroy bimself was put into jeopardy, so that all power of rendering assistance to others must have been utterly withdrawn from him. Cuvier, in alluding to this delicate transaction used the following remarkable expressions:-"Perhaps I may be blamed for recalling these sad recollections; but, where a celebrated man has been so unfortunate as to be accused, as M. Fourcroy was, where this accusation occasioned the torture of his life,-the historian would in vain strive to bury it in oblivion, by being himself silent. We'ought now to say, that if, in the strict researches we have made, we had found the slightest proof of so horrible an atrocity, no human power could have forced us to sully our lips by his eloge, to make the roofs of this temple resound with our praises,—this temple, which ought to be no less the asylum of honour than of genius."
A splendid eulogy follows on an indefatigable and benevolent philosopher, named Dessesserts, to whose noble exertions the French owe the banishment of those horrible machines of whalebone, those swathing clothes, those hot-houses, where the minds and bodies' of infants were imprisoned from their birth. By M. Dessesserts were those mothers recalled to their duty, who abandoned the nourishment of their offspring to others, when capable of affording it themselves; and, though unacknowledged, to M. Dessesserts was Rousseau indebted for the first pages of his Emile.,
The impartiality with which Cuvier selected the most worthy persons, without distinction of country, for his praises, does the highest credit to the memory of that distinguished man, and we are the
more pleased with the justice which he has rendered to two eminent personages belonging to this country, because at the period when he spoke of them there was any thing but a good feeling subsisting between the two countries. Of the celebrated Henry Cavendish, Cuvier tells us that every discovery of his came before the world tinctured with the sublime and marvellous: he weighed the earthlaid down rules for navigating the air, and deprived water of its elementary character; his works are so many master-pieces of wisdom and method, perfect in the whole, perfect in the details, in which no man can find out whereon to prepare a reform, and the splendour of which has only increased with time. There can be no rashness, therefore, says Cuvier, in predicting that he will reflect back upon his house much greater lustre than he has received from it; and that these researches, which, perhaps, excited the pity and contempt of some of his contemporaries, will make his name resound, at an age to which his rank and his ancestry alone would not have transmitted it. Eulogies on Pallas, the sagacious travelleriin the northern part of Asia, on M. Parmentier, the introducer of the potatoe into France, on Count Rumford, Olivier, the oriental traveller, Werner, Desmarets, Riche, Bruguiere, and De Beauvois, the African traveller. But on no occasion did Cuvier exhibit his admiration of disinterested labours in the promotion of science than in his eulogy on Sir Joseph Banks, whose travels and adventures he describes with great vivacity. Considering the period at which this panegyric was delivered by Cuvier, we inust regard it as la proof of the greatest liberality. The savans of England, he declared on the occasion, had taken an equally glorious part as Sir Joseph Banks in those mental labours which are common to all civilized people: “ They have confronted” says the eloquent speaker, " the eternal frosts of either pole; they have not left a corner of the two Oceans unvisited; they have increased the catalogue of nature tenfold; heaven has been peopled by them with planets, satellites, and unheard-of phenomena; we may almost say that they have counted the stars of the milky way. If chemistry has assumed a new aspect, the facts they have furnished have essentially contributed to this metamorphosis. Inflammable air, pure air, phlogistic air, are due to them; they have discovered the decomposition of water, and a number of new metals have been produced by their analyses. The nature of fixed alkalies has only been demonstrated by: them; mechanism, at their voice, has given birth to miracles, and placed their country above all others in almost every species of manufacture."
The account left on record, by the illustrious Baron, of Hauy, the celebrated mineralogist, is full of interest. This great man began life as a chorister, and having one day accidentally walked into the lecture-room of Daubenton at the Garden of Plants during one of the sittings, he heard from the professor a discourse on the
subject of mineralogy, which decided him in the final choice of the pursuit of his life. Several of the succeeding eulogies are detailed by Mrs. Lee, but the specimens now given must be sufficient si
After dwelling briefly on the very celebrated lectures delivered by the Baron on the rise and progress of science, Mrs. Lee proceeds to notice him in his political character as one of the officers of government. Cuvier was appointed in the first place to the temporary office of Commissary of the King, in the discharge of which he had to defend all the bills brought before either house on the part of the government. In 1808 he was raised to the rank of a member of the University Council. During the period of his holding this office, he was employed as one of the commissioners who were to carry on a discussion concerning the University in the presence of Napoleon. It appears that the part which he took in the debate called forth some favourable observations from the emperor, nor was it long until the Baron was placed in the dignified and confidential office of Maitre des Requêtes, the duty being to examine all questions about to be brought forward in the Council of State, to report upon
them to the Council, and to give their own opinions concerning the matter. A still greater proof of the emperor's trust in the Baron's judgment was given by him when he commanded Cuvier to select a library for the use of the King of Rome. The subsequent promotion of the great naturalist to the rank of Counseller of State, was declared by Napoleon himself to have originated in his wish to afford Cuvier, as he expresses it, the opportunity of " resting him." self betimes.”. A few years only elapsed after the date of this appointment when Cuvier was made president of the Comité de l'Interieur. This committee belonged to the Council of State, and had for its especial business to advise with the Minister of the Interior on all administrative questions, to draw up the ordonnances issued from that body, and to prepare the plans of various laws. This committee examined all the disputes which arose between indivi: duals and the administration, authorised the grants of mines, the construction of bridges and roads, superintended the statutes of different societies, and judged if it were advisable to accept legacies or donations to public establishments, the clergy, &c. Another important part of his duties lay in the superintendance of public instruction, and also in municipal and provincial laws; and he never proposed a new regulation or an amendment of an old one, without promulgating the reasons which induced him to propose it. He held the same offices still under the vicissitudes to which the French government was subjected; and, though much blame was imputed for his apparent indifference to every form of government, still it is most probable that the public interest was the sole reason for his retaining them. In 1815 he exhibited in a most unequivocal manner his determination to establish measures of sound policy, and the favourable modification by which the courts, called Prevotal, were deprived of their tyrannical character. These courts were