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show him, I will look upon as a very great act of friendship to me, of which he and I will retain the most grateful sense, if he is so happy as to be preferred. I persuade myself, you will find him ready at all times to be advised by you, as I have found him. Indeed, if justice had been done him, he should long ago have been advanced for his merit. I ever am. D. B., your most affectionate, humble
A Letter from Mr. Mac-Laurin, late Professor of Mathe-
of giving you this trouble, from the desire I have
COLIN MAC-LAURIN. College of Edinburgh, Nov. 30th, 1742.
A Letter from the Authors of the "Universal History," to Mr. Lauder.
volume of our
London, August 12th, 1741. LEARNED SIR,-When we so gladly took the first opportunity of reviving the memory and merit of your incomparable Johnston, in the first "Universal History," our chief aim was to excite some generous Mecenas to favour the world with a new edition of a poem which we had long since beheld with no small concern, buried, as it were, by some unaccount ble fatality, into an almost total oblivion: whilst others of that kind, none of them superior, many vastly inferior, to it, rode unjustly, as we thought, triumphant over his silent grave.
And it is with great satisfaction that we have seen our endeavours so happily crowned in the edition you soon after gave of it at Edinburgh, in your learned and judicious vindication of your excellent author, and more particularly by the just deference which your learned and pious convocation has been pleased to pay to that admira
We have had since then, the pleasure to see your worthy example followed here, in the several beautiful editions of the honourable Mr. Auditor Benson, with his critical notes upon the work.
in the choice and variety of his metre, it is as plain, that he has given his poetic genius such an unlimited scope, as has in many cases quite disfigured the peculiar and inimitable beauty, simplicity, and energy of the original, which the former, by a more close and judicious version, has constantly and surprisingly displayed. Something like this we ventured to hint in our note upon these two noble versions: to have said Imore, would have been inconsistent with our designed brevity.
We have likewise since seen what your opponent has writ in praise of the one, and derogation of the other, and think you have sufficiently confuted him, and with respect to us, he has been so far from giving us any cause to retract what we had formerly said, that it has administered an occasion to us of vindicating it, as we have
after to Mr. A. B. who was pleased to give lately done by some critical notes on your excellent Johnston, which we communicated soon them a place in his last edition of him, and which we doubt not you have seen long ago. How they have been relished among you we know not, but with us they have been thought sufficient to prove what we have advanced, as well as to direct the attentive reader to discover new instances of your author's exactness and elegance, in every page, if not almost in every line.
We gratefully accept of the books and kind compliments you were pleased to transmit to us by Mr. Strahan, and had long since returned you our thanks, but for the many avocations which the great work you know us to be engaged in doth of necessity bring upon us; obliging us, or some at least of our society, to make from time to time an excursion to one or other of our two learned universities, and consulting them upon the best method of carrying on this work to the greatest advantage to the public. This has been some considerable part of our employment for these twelve months past; and we flatter ourselves, that we have, with their assistance and approbation, made such considerable improvements on our original plan, as will scarcely fail of being acceptable to the learned world. They will shortly appear in print, to convince the world that we have not been idle, though this sixth volume is like to appear somewhat later in the year than was usual with our former ones. We shall take the liberty to transmit some copies of our new plan to you as soon as they are printed. All we have left to wish with respect to your excellent countryman and his version is, that it may always meet with such powerful and impartial advocates, and that it may be as much esteemed by all candid judges, as it is by, learned Sir, your sincere well-wishers and humble ser
The Authors of the "Universal History."
A Letter from the learned Mr. Robert Ainsworth, Au. thor of the Latin and English Dictionary, to Mr. Lauder.
LEARNED AND WORTHY SIR,-These wait on It was, indeed, the farthest from our thoughts, to enter into the merit of the controversy be- you to thank you for the honour you have done a tween your two great poets, Johnston and Bu-person equally unknown as undeserving, in your chanan; neither were we so partial to either as not to see, that each had their shades as well as lights; so that, if the latter has been more happy
valuable present, which I did not receive till several weeks after it was sent; and since I received it my eyes have been so bad, and my
mites into your treasury of critical notes on his
We beg leave to subscribe ourselves, Sir, &c.
hand so unstable, that I have been forced to | poet, you will permit us to cast the following defer my duty, as desirous to thank you with my own hand. I congratulate to your nation the just honour ascribed to it by its neighbours and more distant countries, in having bred two such excellent poets as your Buchanan and Johnston, whom to name is to commend; but am concerned for their honour at home, who being committed together, seem to me both to suffer a diminution, whilst justice is done to neither. But at the same time I highly approve your nation's piety in bringing into your schools sacred instead of profane poesy, and heartily wish that ours, and all christian governments, would follow your example herein. If a mixture of utile dulci be the best composition in poetry, (which is too evident to need the judg ment of the nicest critic in the art,) surely the utile so transcendently excels in the sacred hymns, that a christian must deny his name that doth not acknowledge it: and if the dulce seem not equally to excel, it must be from a vitiated taste of those who read them in their original, and in others at second-hand from translations. For the manner of writing in the East and West are widely distant, and which to a paraphrast must render his task exceeding difficult, as requiring a perfect knowledge in two languages, wherein the idioms and graces of speech, caused by the diversity of their religion, laws, customs, &c. are as remote as the inhabitants, wherein notwithstanding your poets have succeeded to admiration.
Your main contest seems to me, when stript of persons, whether the easy or sublime in poesy be preferable; if so,
Non opis est nostræ tantam componere litem: nor think I it in your case material to be decided. Both these have their particular excellences and graces, and youth ought to be taught wherein (which the matter ought chiefly to determine) the one hath place, and where the other. Now since the hymns of David, Moses, and other divine poets intermixed with them, (infinitely excelling those of Callimachus, Alcæus, Sappho, Anacreon, and all others,) abound in both these virtues, and both your poets are acknowledged to be very happy in paraphrasing them, it is my opinion both of them, without giving the least preference to either, should be read alternately in your schools, as the tutor shall direct. Pardon, learned Sir, this scribble to my age and weakness, both which are very great, and command me wherein I may serve you, as, learned Sir, your obliged, thankful, and obedient servant,
Spitalfielas, Sept. 1741.
A Letter from the Authors of the "Universal History,"
to Mr. Auditor Benson.
Dr. Isaac Watts, D. D. in his late Book, entitled "The Improvement of the Mind," Lond. 1741, p. 114. Upon the whole survey of things, it is my opi nion, that for almost all boys who learn this tongue, [the Latin,] it would be much safer to be taught Latin poesy (as soon, and as far as they can need it) from those excellent translations of David's Psalms, which are given us by Buchanan in the various measures of Horace; and the lower classes had better read Dr. Johnston's translation of those Psalms, another ele gant writer of the Scots nation, instead of Ovid's Epistles; for he has turned the same Psalms, perhaps with greater elegancy, into elegiac verse, whereof the learned W. Benson, Esq. has lately published a new edition; and I hear that these Psalms are honoured with an increasing use in the schools of Holland and Scotland. A stanza, or a couplet of those writers would now and then stick upon the minds of youth, and would furnish them infinitely better with pious and moral thoughts, and do some thing towards making them good men and christians.
An act of the Commission of the General Assembly of the
13th of November, 1740, post meridiem.
SIR, It is with no small pleasure that we see Dr. Johnston's translation of the Psalms revived in so elegant a manner, and adorned with such a just and learned display of its inimitable beauties. As we flatter ourselves that the character we gave it in our first volume of the "Universal History," did in some measure con- *This honourable gentleman is now his Majesty' tribute to it, we hope, that in justice to that great | Advocate for Scotland.
WILLIAM GRANT,* Cl. Ecl. Sc
A letter from the learned Mr. Abraham Gronovius, Se. | ceps, a quo aliquando Britannici regni majestas cretary to the University of Leyden, to Mr. Lauder,
concerning the Alamus Ersul of Grotius. Clarissimo Viro, Wilhelmo Laudero, Abra
hamus 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 Exsulem inscripsit ó rávu, 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 Grotiana editionem Hage, An. 1601, publicatam, beneficio amicissimi mihi viri nactus fuerim, ejusque decem priores paginas, quibus præter chorum actus primus comprehenditur, a Jacobo meo, optima 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. MDCCXLVI.
A second letter from the same gentleman to Mr. Lauder, on the same subject.
Clarissime atque Eruditissime Vir! Posteaquam tandem Jacobus meus residuam partem, quam desiderabas, Tragedia Grotianæ 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 orat 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 æstimatur, ut persuasum habcam me istud minimè ab ipso impetraturum et sanè sacra carmina Grotii adeò rarò obvia sunt, ut eorundem examplar apud ipsos remonstrantium ecclesiastas frustra quæ
Opus ipsum inscriptum est HENRICO BORBONIO, PRINCIPI CONDEO; et forma libri est in quarto, ut nullo pacto literis includi possit. Ceterùm, pro splendidissima et Magnæ Britannia 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 prin
Though Gronovius here mentions only three editions of this noble and curious performance, the Adamus Ersul 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 the years 1601, 1609, and 1635; two having been made, one in quarto, the other octavo, Anno
et populi salus pendebunt! Interim tibi, eruditissime vir, atque etiam politissimo D. Caveo, pro muneribus literariis, quæ per nobilissimum Lawsonium ad me curâstis, magno opere me obstrictum agnosco, eademque summa cum voluptate a me perlecta sunt.
Filius meus te plurimùm salutat.
Vale, doctissime vir, meisque verbis D. Caveum saluta, atque amare perge, Tuum. ABRAHAMUM GRONOVIUM. Dabam Leidis A. D. XIV. KAL. Maias,
A. D. MDCCXLVII.
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 declare sincerely the true motive that induced me to interpolate a few lines into some of the authors quoted by me in my Essay on Milton, which was this: Knowing the prepossession in favour of Milton, how deeply it was rooted in 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 judg ment 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:
Pravo favore labi mortales solent,
Ad pœnitendum rebus manifestis agi. For had I designed (as the vindicator of Milton supposes) to impose a trick on the public, and I would never have drawn lines from Hog's procure credit to my assertions by an imposture, 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, the world expire at the general conflagration. whose works possibly might not be found till 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 culpaple in my conduct, for which again I most humbly ask pardon: and that this and this only, was, as no other could be, my design, no one I think can doubt, from the account 1 have just now given; and whether that was so criminal, as it has been represented, I shall leave every impartial mind to determine.
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 Ersul of Grotius, transcribed by his son Mr. James. The truth of this particular consists perfectly well with the knowledge of the Doctor's brother John Lawson, Esq. coun sellor at law; who also had the same thing lately con firmed to him by Mr. Gronovius himself in Holland.
AN ACCOUNT OF AN ATTEMPT
ASCERTAIN THE LONGITUDE.*
FIRST PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1755.
It is well known to seamen and philosophers, of the atmosphere, the effects of different effluvia that after the numerous improvements produced by the extensive commerce of the later ages, the great defect in the art of sailing is ignorance of longitude, or of the distance to which the ship has passed eastward or westward from any given meridian.
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 unre warded 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 ho will willingly study, and can easily consult.
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 navigators of those times; who sailing commonly on the calm Mediterranean, or making only short voyages, had no need of very accurate observations; and who, if they ever transiently observed any deviations from the meridian, either ascribed them to some extrinsic and accidental cause, or willingly neglected what it was not necessary to understand.
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 recompenses 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. By the splendour of this golden encouragement many eyes were dazzled, which nature never intended to pry into her secrets. By the hope of sudden riches many understandings were set on work very little proportioned to their strength, among whom whether mine shall be numbered, must be left to the candour of posterity: for I, among others, laid aside the business 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 But when the discovery of the new world not without hopes, that I might be considered turned the attention of mankind upon the naval as an assistant to some greater genius, and re-sciences, and long courses required greater ceive from the justice of my country the wages niceties of practice, the variation of the needle offered to an honest and not unsuccessful labourer soon became observable, and was recorded in in science. 1500 by Sebastian Cabot, a Portuguese, who, at the expense of the king of England, discovered the northern coasts of America.
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 observa
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: tions. and were therefore utterly impracticable to the From this time the philosophical world had a sailor, tost upon the water, ill provided with new subject of speculation, and the students of instruments, and not very skilful in their ap-magnetism employed their researches upon the plication.
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
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, An Account of an attempt to ascertain the Longitude could they have assigned it any motion, or vicisat Sea, by an exact Theory of the Variation of the Mag-situde of motions, which could have correspondnetical Needle; with a Table of Variations at the most ed with the changes of the needle.
remarkable cities in Europe, from the year 1660 to 1860.
By Zachariah Williams.
Yet upon this secret property of magnetism I
ventured to build my hopes of ascertaining the | Yet even this may be borne far better than the longitude at sea. I found it undeniably certain petulance of boys whom I have seen shoot up that the needle varies its direction in a course into philosophers by experiments which I have eastward or westward between any assignable long since made and neglected, and by improve parallels of latitude: and supposing nature to ments which I have so long transferred into be in this as in all other operations uniform and my ordinary practice, that I cannot remember consistent, I doubted not but the variation pro- when I was without them. ceeded in some established method, though perhaps too abstruse and complicated for human comprehension.
When Sir Isaac Newton had declined the office assigned him, it was given to Mr. Molineux, one of the commissioners of the Admiralty, who enThis difficulty however was to be encoun-gaged in it with no great inclination to favour tered; and by close and steady perseverance of me; but however thought that one of the instru attention I at last subdued, or thought myself to have subdued, it; having formed a regular system in which all the phenomena seemned to be reconciled; and being able from the variation in places where it is known to trace it to 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.
ments, which, to confirm my own opinion, and to confute Mr. Whiston's, I had exhibited to the Admiralty, so curious or useful, that he surrepti tiously copied it on paper, and clandestinely endeavoured to have it imitated by a workman for his own use.
This treatment naturally produced remon strances and altercations, which indeed did not continue long, for Mr. Molineux died soon afterwards; and my proposals were for a time for⚫ gotten.
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 exami
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 experiments, 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 fa-nation, vourers 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.
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 endeavored 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 pretensions 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 have 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 who, though perhaps very learned in their own studies, have had little acquaintance with mine.
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. Machin, and many ot!.er 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 I 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 vari ous 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 scaled and attested among their ar chives, for the information of posterity. I am informed, that this whole transaction is recorded in their minutes.
After this I withdrew from public notice,