« السابقةمتابعة »
and beloved friend. Both gain by interchange; the one becomes more practical, the other more ideal. As long as the world lasts, men wholly absorbed in the business of the day will be too apt to look upon those who speculate on the subtler qualities of the mind, or the higher destinies of their species, as theorists and dreamers; while, in turn, the conductors of the workingday-world' will be regarded by poets and philosophers as beings of limited views and prejudiced opinions. But the more each are brought in contact with the other,—the more undue prejudices and prepossessions will vanish; and the more chance is there of that compromise between both, in which true wisdom consists. We think that a dim understanding of tbis philosophy is already at work. Whilst some of our most eminent men of letters are devoting their capacities and attainments to practical ends and social purposes, there is growing up amongst the great masses of the Public a juster appreciation of the influences of literature upon political amelioration, and the daily progress of human destinies. The desire of the working classes for knowledge—the spread of Institutes and Book Clubs—the deepening attention towards the elegancies of public art-the common tendency to unite intellectual attainments with liberal opinions—are all lessening the ancient demarcation between the market-place and the closet. In proportion as that demarcation vanishes, shall we approach towards the perfection of that noblest of all national characters, which unites with a hardy and masculine understanding in practical affairs, an appreciation of whatever is noble in sentiment, or beautiful in art.
ART. III.-1. Miscellaneous Works aud Correspondence of the
Rev. James BRADLEY, D.D., F.R.S., Astronomer-Royal, Savilian Professor of Astronomy in the University of Oxford. 4to. Oxford: 1832.*
2. Supplement to Dr Bradley's Miscellaneous Works, with an
account of Harriot's Astronomical Papers. Oxford: 1833.
I" -t is a singular fact in the history of English science, and a
striking proof of the national indifference to the higher efforts of scientific genius, that England has provided no place of record for an account of the lives and labours of her most distinguished philosophers. Those who have presided over our public institutions, who have conducted their affairs with disinterested zeal,-or who have adorned their transactions with the finest researches and discoveries, are allowed to sink unnoticed into the grave, without any eulogium pronounced upon their name, and without any permanent memorial of their history or their achievements. Need we mention, in proof of this, the names of Newton and of Bradley, in the last century, or those of Herschel, of Maskelyne, and of Watt, in the present age? And must we add the painsul counterpart, that a rival nation has paid to British genius the honours denied it at home? The biographers of Newton and Bradley have been obliged to resort for information to their Eloges in the · Memoirs of the French Academy of Sciences;' while those of Herschel and Maskelyne and Watt, must have recourse to the · Memoirs of the National Institute of France!
In the popular departments of literature and science, or in those rare cases, such as that of Sir Humphry Davy, where a philosopher has been able to engraft upon an immortal name a popular and contemporary reputation, public curiosity demands and receives its gratification ;-but in the abstract departments of historical and antiquarian research, as well as in the profound enquiries of mathematics and physics, where powerful minds are struggling unseen, the public take no interest, and the nation provides no remedy.+
* We ought to have given an earlier notice of this interesting work; but the delay has been attended with the advantage of placing the account of the Life and Discoveries of Bradley in its proper chronological order, after our articles on the Lives of Newton and Hampsteed.
+ Among the improvements which liave been introduced into the
These remarks have a peculiar application to the case of Bradley. This eminent individual,—the Astronomer-Royal of England,—the Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford,—the author of two of the grandest discoveries, and of many of the finest observations in modern astronomy, and one to whom Delambre assigns the most distinguished place, next to Hipparchus and Kepler, and whom he ranks above all the other astronomers of every age and of every country,—this great and good man has been allowed to lie seventy years in his grave without any suitable memorial of his life and discoveries !
The difficult task of performing, at the eleventh hour, this great duty to science fortunately devolved upon Mr Rigaud, Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford. His profound acquaintance with the subject, his varied learning, his powers of unwearied research, and the opportunities which an extensive acquaintance afforded him of preserving from oblivion the traditionary materials for a Life of Bradley, have enabled him to produce a volume of deep interest; and one which will be perused with avidity wherever astronomical science is cultivated and esteemed. The • Memoir' itself, which occupies more than one hundred closely-printed quarto pages, is written with great simplicity and perspicuity. It abounds with the most interesting details respecting the private as well as the professional life of Bradley, and is interspersed with instructive and agreeable notices of his scientific friends and contemporaries, and of the instruments and methods which he employed in his enquiries. His discoveries and observations are discussed with a peculiar talent; and the astronomical reader, without being sensible of any digression, feels that he is perusing the history of practical Astronomy in England during the earlier half of the eighteenth century.
Royal Society of London, it would have been desirable to have numbered that of enriching the Philosophical Transactions with biographical sketches of her more eminent Fellows. But while we express ihis wish, we are sufficiently aware of the difficulties which would be encountered in carrying such a plan into effect. The Secretaries, by whom alone this duty could be rightly performed, would require to unite a profound and varied knowledge of science with a taste for literary composition, and at the same time to be freed from all professional labour. Such a combination of qualifications, however, could only be expected in the office-bearers of an institution directly supported by the nation. Even under its present constitution, the Society might make a successful commencement; and though not carried to its fullest extent, the plan would prove a powerful stimulus to the cultivation of the more abstract departments of knowledge.
The history of Dr Bradley's manuscripts is contained in the following extract :
‘Dr Bradley's manuscripts were given by his son-in-law, the Rev. Samuel Peak, to Lord North, who presented them to the University of Oxford, of which he was then Chancellor : they were placed in the hands of Dr Hornshy, Savilian Professor of Astronomy, with a view to publication; and the observations made with the new instruments at Greenwich, from 1750 to 1762, were printed at the University Press. The original books, containing these and the other Greenwich observations, were then deposited in the Bodleian Library, with a small number of loose papers (in one of them), from which some additions had been made to the original publication. Repeated enquiries have of late years been made for Bradley's other remains; but no traces of them could be found, until, by a combination of fortunate circumstances, it was discovered that very many were still extant among Dr Hornsby's, own papers. A representation of the fact having been made to his family, they were readily restored to the University; and as I had been the means of recovering them, they were, in the summer of 1829, placed in my hands, with a request that I should prepare for the press whatever might be found fit for publication.'
The task which Professor Rigaud was thus led to undertake, turned out, from various causes, to be far from an easy one.
• In the examination,' says he, of Bradley's papers, many notices occurred of what was either entirely new, or only inperfectly known; there were several particulars likewise connected with them which were passing fast into oblivion. * ** Many of those notices were of such a nature, that, if introduced into the body of the publication, they would have required many notes of explanation, sometimes longer than themselves. Again, it was repeatedly found that papers, the whole of which did not require to be printed, admitted of extracts being made from them, that were well worth preserving. These were all connected more or less with Bradley's studies and pursuits, and they threw new light on the objects which engaged his attention. It appeared, therefore, that they could be presented to the world in no way which would make them more clear or more useful, than if they were connected with a narrative of his progress through life. * * * All this naturally led to an enquiry into his personal history, and it was found that there was hardly any thing generally known of it but what was contained in a few pages of the Supplement to the Biographical Dictionary (Svo, 1767), and in the Eloge which was pronounced on him by De Fouchy, before the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, in 1762.
James Bradley was the third son of William Bradley of Hampnet, near Northleach, and of Jane Pound, of Bishop's Canning, in Wiltshire. He was born in 1692 or 1693, and from the Grammar School of Northleach he went to Baliol College, Oxford, where he was admitted a commoner, on the 15th March 1710-11. During his absence from the University, he seems to have lived chiefly with his maternal uncle, the Reverend James Pound, who was then one of the best practical astronomers in England, and for whose observations both Newton* and Halley made frequent applications. Under his roof Bradley probably acquired that fondness for astronomy which formed the leading passion of his life; and so early as 1715, we find the uncle and the nephew pursuing in concert their favourite studies. Bradley's earliest communication to the Royal Society was made from Oxford in March 1716; and contained an account of the remarkable aurora borealis which appeared on the 6th of that month. Dr Halley proposed him as a Fellow of the Society on the 230 October 1718, at a meeting of the Council where Newton presided; and he was on the same day elected, along with Sanderson the celebrated blind mathematician.
In 1719 and 1722, Bradley made two remarkable observations on the double star Castor, to which he probably attached little value at the time, but which have led Sir John Herschel to a more accurate determination of the motion of that binary system.
Having been educated for the church, Bradley had the good fortune to be presented, in 1719, to the vicarage of Bridstow, near Ross, by Hoadly, Bishop of Hereford; and in the following year he was appointed by the Prince of Wales to the rectory of Llanddewi, through the influence of his friend Samuel Molyneux, his Royal Highness's secretary. During the intervals of his parochial duties, Bradley paid frequent visits to his uncle's observatory at Wansted; and we have no doubt that he felt a painful struggle between his sense of duty and his devotion to science. This, however, did not last long, for upon the death of Dr Keill in 1721, he was elected Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford; an appointment which laid him under the obligation of resigning his livings, while it gave full scope to his astronomical pursuits.
After the death of his uncle in 1724, Bradley continued to make many important observations with the same instruments; but these have now little interest compared with those which we shall proceed to describe.
* The generosity of Newton in patronising science is well known ; but Mr Rigaud has discovered, in the account-books of Mr Pound, two striking examples of his liberality, as indicated by the following entries : --1719, July 13, To a free gift received from Sir I. Neivton, L.52, 10s. 1720. April 28, To a gift received of Sir 1. Newton, L.52, 10s.' These sums, as Professor Rigaud observes, were, no doubt, acknowledgments of the assistance which Sir Isaac received from Pound.