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ion, that for almost all boys who learn this | A letter from the learned Mr. Abraham Gronovius,
Secretary to the University of Leyden, to Mr.
tongue, [the Latin] it would be much safer to
An act of the Commission of the General Assembly
At Edinburgh, 13th of November, 1740, post me. ridiem.
A PETITION having been presented to the late General Assembly, by Mr. William Lauder, Teacher of Humanity in Edinburgh, craving, That Dr. Arthur Johnston's Latin Paraphrase on the Psalms of David, and Mr. Robert Boyd, of Trochrig, his Hecatombe Christiana, may be recommended to be taught in all grammarschools; and the assembly having appointed a committee of their number to take the desire of the foresaid petition into their consideration, and report to the Commission: the said committee offered their opinion, that the Commission should grant the desire of the said petition, and recommend the said Dr, Johnston's Paraphrase to be taught in the lower classes of the schools, and Mr. George Buchanan's Paraphrase on the Psalms, together with Mr. Robert Boyd of Trochrig's Hecatombe Christiana in the higher classes of schools, and Humanityclasses in universities. The Commission having heard the said report, unanimously approved thereof, and did, and hereby do, recommend accordingly. Extracted by
WILLIAM GRANT, Cl. Ecl. Sc.
Clarissimo Viro, Wilhelmo Laudero, Abrahamus Gronovius, S. P. D.
POSTQUAM binæ literæ tuæ ad me perlatæ fuerunt, duas editiones carminum H. Grotii, viri vere summi, excussi; verùm ab utraque tragœdiam, quam Adamum Ersulem incripsit, závu, abesse deprehendi; neque ullum ejusdem exemplar, quamvis tres editiones exstare adnotaveram, ullibi offendere potui, adeo ut spe, quam vorabam desiderio tuo satisfaciendi, me prorsus excidisse existimarem.
Verùm nuperrime fortè contigit, ut primam Tragedia Grotianæ editionem Haga, An. 1601. publicatam, beneficio amicissimi mihi viri nactus fuerim, ejusque decem priores paginas, quibus præter chorum actus primus comprehenditur, a Jacobo meo, optimæ spei adolescente, transcriptas nunc ad te mitto. Vale vir doctissime, meque ut facis amare perge. Dabam Lugd. Bat. A. D. Iv, Eid. Sept. A. D.
A Second Letter from the same Gentleman to Mr.
POSTEAQUAM tandem Jacobus meus residuam partem, quam desiderabas, Tragedia Grotiana transcripserat, ut eâ diutius careres, committere nolui: quod autem citius illam ad finem perducere non potuerit, obstiterunt variæ occupationes, quibus districtus fuit. Nam præter scholastica studia, quibus strenuè incubuit, ipsi componenda erat oratio, qua rudimenta linguæ Græcæ Latinæque deponeret, eamque, quod vehementer lætor, venustè, et quidem stilo ligato, composuit, et in magna auditorum corona pronuntiavit. Quod autem ad exemplar ipsum, quo Adamus Ersul comprehenditur, spectat, id lubens, si meum foret, ad te perferri curarem, verùm illud a clarissimo possessore tanti estimatur, ut persuasum habeam me istud minimè ab ipso impetraturum: et sanè sacra carmina Grotii aded rarò obvia sunt, ut eorundem exemplar apud ipsos remonstrantium ecclesiastas frustra quæsiverim.
Opus ipsum inscriptum est HENRICO BOR
Though Gronovius here mentions only three editions of this noble and curious performance, the Adamus Exsul of Grotius; yet it appears from the catalogue of his works, that no fewer than four have been printed, two in quarto, and two in octavo, in
- This honourable gentleman is now his Majesty's the years 1601, 1608, and 1635; two having been made, Advocate for Scotland. one in quarto, the other in octavo, Anno. 1601.
BONIO, PRINCIPI CONDEO; et forma libri est in quarto, ut nullo pacto literis includi possit. Ce terùm, pro splendidissima et Magnæ Britanniæ principe, cui meritò dicata est, digna editione Psalmorum, ex versione metrica omnium ferè poëtarum principis JOHNSTONI maximas tibi grates habet agitque Jacobus. Utinam illustrissimus Bensonus in usum serenissimi principis, atque ingeniorum in altiora surgentium, eâdem formâ iisdemque typis exarari juberet divinos illos Ciceronis de Officiis libros, dignos sane, quos diurnâ nocturnâque manu versaret princeps, a quo aliquando Britannici regni majestas et populi salus pendebunt! Interim tibi, eruditissime vir, atque etiam politissimo D. Caveo, pro muneribus literariis, quæ per nobilissimum Lawsonium ad me curàstis, magno opere me obstrictum agnosco, eademque summa cum voluptate a me perlecta sunt.
Dubam Leidis, A. D. xiv. KAL.
Maias, A. D. MDCCXLVII.
For had I designed (as the vindicator of Milton supposes) to impose a trick on the public, and procure credit to my assertions by an imposture,
Filius meus te plurimùm salutat.
Vale doctissime vir, meisque verbis D. Ca- I would never have drawn lines from Hog's veum saluta, atque amare perge, Tuum,
translation of Milton, a book common at every sale, I had almost said at every stall, nor ascribed them to authors so easily attained: I would have gone another way to work, by translating forty or fifty lines, and assigning them to an author, whose works possibly might not be found till the world expire at the general conflagration. My imposing therefore on the public in general, instead of a few obstinate persons, (for whose sake alone the stratagem was designed) is the only thing culpable ia my conduct, for which
AND now my character is placed above all suspicion of fraud by authentic documents, I will make bold at last to pull off the mask, and de-again I most humbly ask pardon : and that this, clare sincerely the true motive that induced me and this only, was, as no other could be, my to interpolate a few lines into some of the au- design, no one I think can doubt, from the thors quoted by me in my Essay on Milton, account I have just now given; and whether which was this: Knowing the prepossession in that was so criminal, as it has been represented, favour of Milton, how deeply it was rooted in I shall leave every impartial mind to determine.
many, I was willing to make trial, if the partial admirers of that author would admit a translation of his own words to pass for his sense, or exhibit his meaning: which I thought they would not: nor was I mistaken in my conjecture, forasmuch as several gentlemen, seemingly persons of judgment and learning, assured me, they humbly conceived I had not proved my point, and that Milton might have written as he has done supposing he had never seen these authors, or they had never existed. Such is the force of prejudice! This exactly confirms the judicious observation of the excellent moralist and poet :
AN ACCOUNT OF AN ATTEMPT
Pravo favore labi mortales solent,
Ir is well known to seamen and philosophers, that after the merous improvements produced
ASCERTAIN THE LONGITUDE.+
FIRST PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1755.
The person here meant was the learned and worthy Dr. Isaac Lawson, late physician to the English army in Flanders: by whom Mr. Gronovius
did me the honour to transmit to me two or three acts of the Adamus Exsul of Grotius, trauscribed by his son Mr. James. The truth of this particular
by the extensive commerce of the later ages, the great defect in the art of sailing is ignorance
consists perfectly well with the knowledge of the Doctor's brother John Lawson, Esq. counsellor at law; who also had the same thing lately confirmed to him by Mr. Gronovius himself in Holland.
+ An Account of an attempt to ascertain the Longitude at Sea, by an exact Theory of the Varia.
of longitude, or of the distance to which the ship has passed eastward or westward from any given meridian.
That navigation might at length be set free from this uncertainty, the legislative power of this kingdom incited the industry of searchers into nature, by a large reward proposed to him who should show a practicable method of finding the longitude at sea; and proportionable recom pences to those, who, though they should not fully attain this great end, might yet make such advances and discoveries as should facilitate the work to those that might succeed them.
Considering the various means by which this important inquiry has been pursued, I found that the observation of the eclipses, either of the primary or secondary planets, being possible but at certain times, could be of no use to the sailor; that the motions of the moon had been long attended, however accurately, without any consequence; that other astronomical observations were difficult and uncertain with every advantage of situation, instruments, and knowledge: and were therefore utterly impracticable to the sailor, tost upon the water, ill provided with instruments, and not very skilful in their application.
The hope of an accurate clock or time-keeper is more specious. But when I began these studies, no movements had yet been made that were not evidently inaccurate and uncertain: and even of the mechanical labours which I now hear so loudly celebrated, when I consider the obstruction of movements by friction, the waste of their parts by attrition, the various pressure of the atmosphere, the effects of different effluvia upon metals, the power of heat and cold upon all matter, the changes of gravitation and the hazard of concussion, I cannot but fear that they will supply the world with another instance of fruitless ingenuity, though I hope they will not
leave upon this country the reproach of unrewarded diligence.
I saw therefore nothing on which I could fix with probability of success, but the magnetical needle, an instrument easily portable, and little subject to accidental injuries, with which the sailor has had a long acquaintance, which he will willingly study, and can easily consult.
By the splendour of this golden encourage-vigators of those times; who sailing commonly ment many eyes were dazzled, which nature on the calm Mediterranean, or making only never intended to pry into her secrets. By the short voyages, had no need of very accurate obhope of sudden riches many understandings were servations; and who, if they ever transiently set on work very little proportioned to their observed any deviations from the meridian, strength, among whom whether mine shall be either ascribed them to some extrinsic and accinumbered, must be left to the candour of pos- dental cause, or willingly neglected what it was terity for I, among others, laid aside the bus- not necessary to understand. iness of my profession, to apply myself to the study of the longitude, not indeed in expectation of the reward due to a complete discovery; yet not without hopes, that I might be considered as an assistant to some greater genius, and receive from the justice of my country the wages offered to an honest and not unsuccessful labourer in science.
But when the discovery of the new world turned the attention of mankind upon the naval sciences, and long courses required greater niceties of practice, the variation of the needle soon became observable, and was recorded in 1500 by Sebastian Cabot, a Portuguese, who, at the expense of the king of England, discovered the northern coasts of America.
tion of the Magnetical Needle; with a Table of Variations at the most remarkable cities in Europe, from the year 1660 to 1860. By Zachariah Williams.
The magnetic needle from the year 1300, when it is generally supposed to have been first applied by John Goia, of Amalphi, to the seaman's use, seems to have been long thought to point exactly to the north and south by the na
As the next century was a time of naval adventures, it might be expected that the variation once observed, should have been well studied: yet it seems to have been little heeded; for it was supposed to be constant and always the same in the same place, till in 1625 Gellibrand noted its changes, and published his observations.
From this time the philosophical world had a new subject of speculation, and the students of magnetism employed their researches upon the gradual changes of the needle's direction, or the variations of the variation, which have hitherto appeared so desultory and capricious, as to elude all the schemes which the most fanciful of the philosophical dreamers could devise for its explication. Any system that could have united these tormenting diversities, they seem inclined to have received, and would have contentedly numbered the revolutions of a central magnet, with very little concern about its existence, could they have assigned it any motion, or vicissitude of motions, which would have corresponded with the changes of the needle.
Yet upon this secret property of magnetism I ventured to build my hopes of ascertaining the longitude at sea. I found it undeniably certain that the needle varies its direction in a course eastward or westward between any assignable parallels of latitude: and supposing nature to be in this as in all other operations uniform and consistent, I doubted not but the variation preceeded in some established method, though per
haps too abstruse and complicated for human | who, though perhaps very learned in their own comprehension. studies, have had little acquaintance with mine. This difficulty however was to be encounter-Yet even this may be borne far better than the ed; and by close and steady perseverance of petulance of boys whom I have seen shoot up attention I at last subdued, or thought myself into philosophers by experiments which I have to have subdued, it; having formed a regular long since made and neglected, and by imsystem in which all the phenomena seemed to provements which I have so long transferred be reconciled; and being able from the varia- into my ordinary practice, that I cannot rememtion in places where it is known to trace it to ber when I was without them. those where it is unknown; or from the past to predict the future: and consequently knowing the latitude and variation, to assign the true longitude of any place.
When Sir Isaac Newton had declined the office assigned him, it was given to Mr. Molineux, one of the commissioners of the Admiralty, who engaged in it with no great inclination to favour me; but however thought one of the instruments, which, to confirm my own opinion, and to confute Mr. Whiston's, I had exhibited to the Admiralty, so curious or useful, that he surreptitiously copied it on paper, and clandestinely endeavoured to have it imitated by a workman for his own use.
With this system I came to London, where having laid my proposals before a number of ingenious gentlemen, it was agreed that during the time required to the completion of my ex-| periments, I should be supported by a joint subscription to be repaid out of the reward, to which they concluded me entitled. Among the subscribers was Mr. Rowley, the memorable constructor of the orrery; and among my favourers was the Lord Piesley, a title not unknown among magnetical philosophers. I frequently showed upon a globe of brass, experiments by which my system was confirmed, at the house of Mr. Rowley, where the learned and curious of that time generally assembled.
This treatment naturally produced remonstrances and altercations, which indeed did not continue long, for Mr. Molineux died soon afterwards; and my proposals were for a time forgotten.
I will not however accuse him of designing to condemn me, without a trial; for he demanded a portion of my tables to be tried in a voyage to America, which I then thought I had reason to refuse him, not yet knowing how difficult it was to obtain, on any terms, an actual examination.
At this time great expectations were raised by Mr. Whiston, of ascertaining the longitude by the inclination of the needle, which he supposed to increase or diminish regularly. With this learned man I had many conferences, in which I endeavoured to evince what he has at last confessed in the narrative of his life, the uncertainty and inefficacy of his method.
About the year 1729, my subscribers explained my pretentions to the Lords of the Admiralty, and the Lord Torrington declared my claim just to the reward assigned in the last clause of the act to those who should make discoveries conducive to the perfection of the art of sailing. This he pressed with so much warmth, that the commissioners agreed to lay my tables before Sir Isaac Newton, who excused himself, by reason of his age, from a regular examination: but when he was informed that I held the variation at London to be still increasing, which he and the other philosophers, his pupils, thought to be then stationary, and on the point of regression, he declared that he believed my system visionary. I did not much murmur to be for a time overborne by that mighty name, even when I believed that the name only was against me: and I lived till I am able to produce, in my favour, the testimony of time, the inflexible enemy of false hypotheses; the only testimony which it becomes human understanding to oppose to the authority of Newton.
My notions have indeed been since treated with equal superciliousness by those who have not the same title to confidence of decision; men
About this time the theory of Dr. Halley was the chief subject of mathematical conversation; and though I could not but consider him as too much a rival to be appealed to as a judge, yet his reputation determined me to solicit his acquaintance and hazard his opinion. I was introduced to him by Mr. Lowthorp and Dr. Desaguliers, and put my tables into his hands; which, after having had them about twenty days under consideration, he returned in the presence of the learned Mr. achin, and many other skilful men, with an entreaty that I would publish them speedily; for I should do infinite service to mankind.
It is one of the melancholy pleasures of an old man, to recollect the kindness of friends, whose kindness he shall experience no more. I have now none left to favour my studies: and therefore naturally turn my thoughts on those by whom I was favoured in better days: and 1 hope the vanity of age may be forgiven, when I declare that I can boast among my friends, almost every name of my time that is now remembered: and that in that great period of mathematical competition scarce any man failed to appear as my defender, who did not appear as my antagonist.
By these friends I was encouraged to exhibit to the Royal Society, an ocular proof of the reasonableness of my theory, by a sphere of
iron, on which a small compass moved in various directions, exhibited no imperfect system of magnetical attraction. The experiment was shown by Mr. Hawkesbee, and the explanation with which it was accompanied, was read by Dr. Mortimer. I received the thanks of the society; and was solicited to reposit my theory properly sealed and attested among their archives, for the information of posterity. I am informed, that this whole transaction is recorded in their minutes.
After this I withdrew from public notice, and applied myself wholly to the continuation of my experiments, the confirmation of my system, and the completion of my tables, with no other companion than Mr. Gray, who shared all my studies and amusements, and used to repay my communications of magnetism, with his discoveries in electricity. Thus I proceeded with incessant diligence; and perhaps in the zeal of inquiry did not sufficiently reflect on the silent encroachments of time, or remember, that no man is in more danger of doing little, than he who flatters himself with abilities to do all. When I was forced out of my retirement, I came loaded with the infirmities of age, to struggle with the difficulties of a narrow fortune, cut off by the blindness of my daughter from the only assistance which I ever had; deprived by time of my patron and friends, a kind of stranger in a new wor where curiosity is now diverted to other objects, and where, having no means of ingratiating my labours, I stand the single votary of an obsolete science, the scoff of puny pupils of puny philosophers.
In this state of dereliction and depression, I have bequeathed to posterity the following table; which, if time shall verify my conjectures, will show that the variation was once known; and that mankind had once within their reach an easy method of discovering the longitude.
I will not however engage to maintain, that all my numbers are theoretically and minutely exact; I have not endeavoured at such degrees of accuracy as only distract inquiry without benefiting practice. The quantity of the variation has been settled partly by instruments, and partly by computation; instruments must always partake of the imperfection of the eyes and hands of those that make, and of those that use them; and computation, till it has been rectified by experiment, is always in danger of some omission in the premises, or some error in the deduction.
It must be observed, in the use of this table, that though I name particular cities for the sake
of exciting attention, yet the tables are adjusted only to longitude and latitude. Thus when I predict that at Prague, the variation will in the year 1800 be 244 W., I intend to say, that it will be such if Prague be, as I have placed it, after the best geographers, in longitude 14 30′. E. latitude 50 40.; but that this is its true situation, I cannot be certain. The latitude of many places is unknown, and the longitude is known of very few; and even those who are unacquainted with science, will be convinced that it is not easily to be found, when they are told how many degrees Dr. Halley, and the French mathematicians, place the Cape of Good Hope distant from each other.
Those who would pursue this inquiry with philosophical nicety, must likewise procure better needles than those commonly in use. The needle, which after long experience I recommend to mariners, must be of pure steel, the spines and the cap of one piece, the whole length three inches, each spine containing four grains and a half of steel, and the cap thirteen grains and a half.
The common needles are so ill formed, or so unskilfully suspended, that they are affected by many causes besides magnetism; and among other inconveniences have given occasion to the idle dream of a horary variation.
I doubt not but particular places may produce exceptions my system. There may be, in many parts of the earth, bodies which obstruct or intercept the general influence of magnetism; but those interruptions do not infringe the theory. It is allowed, that water will run down a declivity, though sometimes a strong wind may force it upwards. It is granted, that the sun gives light at noon, though in certain conjunctions it may suffer an eclipse.
These causes, whatever they are, that interrupt the course of the magnetical powers, are least likely to be found in the great ocean, when the earth, with all its minerals, is secluded from the compass by the vast body of uniform water. So that this method of finding the longitude, with a happy contrariety to all others, is most easy and practicable at sea.
This method, therefore, I recommend to the study and prosecution of the sailor and philosopher; and the appendant specimen I exhibit to the candid examination of the maritime nations, as a specimen of a general table, showing the variation at all times and places for the whole revolution of the magnetic poles, which I have long ago begun, and, with just encouragement, should have long ago completed.