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not only looked to the past, but also rested on the past. Rejecting all change, she has become herself a monument of change. She that sat as a queen is now least among the nations: she that ruled in Ophir is a lazar on the earth.

On reverting to what we have written, we feel aware of some injustice to Mr. Helps. We have been dwelling upon the elements rather than upon the contents of his book. But inasmuch as the author himself has intimated that the distribution of the races in the New World first turned his attention to the subject of their conquest, and since the character of the conquerors formed also an important feature in their dealings with the conquered, we have sought to bring prominently forward the central point of his observation, and securely commend the details of his narrative to our readers. Our limits forbade us to indulge in the pleasure of entering Mr. Helps's portraitgallery, and drawing from his masterly sketches of Columbus, Cortes, Las Casas, of the vice-roys of the New World, of the councils which drew up their instructions, of the shrewd yet not hard Ferdinand, and of the beautiful and bounteous Isabella. We know of few undertakings more difficult than the one which he has, in our opinion, so far successfully performed — the telling over again an oft-repeated tale. We can imagine few discoveries more agreeable than to have discerned that, without supplanting any earlier labourer, there was still room in the field for fresh speculation and research. Hitherto the conquerors alone have occupied the foreground: in these pages their history forms but a portion of the narrative; and we are led to contemplate not only their deeds, but the result also of their actions. We trust that we may very shortly possess a record by the same hand of the conquest of South America, and survey the civilisation of the Incas under the guidance of a writer who has so ably delineated the fiercer and less attractive empire of Anahuac.



Life of Thomas Young, M.D., F.R.S., &c. By George Peacock,

D.D., Dean of Ely, &c. 8vo. London, Murray, 1855. The Miscellaneous Works of Dr. T. Young. Edited by G. Peacock,

D.D., Dean of Ely, and John Leitch, Esq. 3 vols. 8vo. London,

Murray, 1855. The name of Thomas Young, up to the present time, has been hardly known among his countrymen beyond a circle, extensive no doubt, of private friends and men of science. Yet he was, perhaps, one of the most extraordinary men of whom the present or any age can boast. His celebrity, however, is probably becoming greater every day; and the recent, though long-promised, publication of his life by the master hand of the Dean of Ely, accompanying a reprint of his varied and numerous miscellaneous works, under the able editorship of Mr. Leitch, hitherto only found scattered through a wide range of periodicals, some of them little known or difficult to procure, will probably do much to secure for his name its just place among the most eminent cultivators of literature and discoverers in science; while his personal history, now first exhibited in detail, will evince the wonderful variety and extent of his manifold attainments and high qualities and endowments, moral, intellectual, and physical, so as fairly to place him in the very highest rank of talent and accomplishment in the estimation of readers of all classes. In the wish to further such an object, we propose in the present article in the first instance to give a sketch of his personal history, after which we shall offer a brief analysis of some of his chief literary and scientific labours.

He was born at Milverton in Somersetshire, June 13, 1773, of a family belonging to the Society of Friends, and was brought up in a strict adherence to the tenets of that sect. His intellectual development was rapid, and from his earliest years, what particularly strikes us is the unusual quantity of reading he describes himself as going through ; he had, for example, read through the Bible twice before he was four years old ! besides other books. He learned by heart at that age a vast amount of English poetry. In his seventh year he went to a school at Stapleton, near Bristol, where his progress in a year and a half was equally wonderful. In that time, previously knowing nothing of Latin, he learned all Lilly's grammar, and



read through two books of Phædrus, besides a variety of English works. He next resided at home, and acquired new tastes and ideas as to some elements of mathematical and mechanical science from an acquaintance formed with a neighbouring landsurveyor. The details of this portion of his life are furnished from an autobiographical sketch written in Latin at the age of fourteen, which goes on to inform us, that in the next year (1782) he was removed to the school of Mr. Thompson, at Compton, in Dorsetshire, where in four years, again we are astonished at the mere amount of reading he went through, not less than at its miscellaneous character. Every book so perused is minutely entered on his list; and besides this, he acquired from the usher, an ingenious man, some practical acquaintance with optical and electrical instruments, besides painting and other branches of the arts. From another individual he acquired some taste for barometrical observation, as well as for botany and microscopic researches; and finding in some experimental book a calculation for which fluxions were necessary, he forthwith read through a treatise on that branch of mathematics. His classical knowledge at this time did not include prosody; but this he acquired afterwards. He, however, learnt Italian and French ; and on leaving the school, returned home to the study of Hebrew, telescope-making, and turning, and soon extended his acquirements to Chaldee, Syriac, and Persian.

In 1787, an arrangement was made for his partaking in the instruction of a private tutor along with Mr. Hudson Gurney, then a youth of his own age, residing with his grandfather, Mr. Barclay, at Youngsbury in Hertfordshire. The tutor was Mr. Hodgkin, the author of the Calligraphia Græca. Here his classical studies were resumed on a more accurate system; and notwithstanding a remark of his biographer, that his reading was select rather than extensive, we are still struck by the number of the books he read, not less than by the regularity and assiduity with which their contents appear to have been mastered. His ms. journals attest the earnestness with which these studies were carried on, and exhibit many original remarks and reflections called forth in the course of them.

The books enumerated, we must own, seem in some instances oddly selected and associated, especially as regards the mathematical portion of his studies; he had already read fluxions, yet we find ĥim now studying Simson's Euclid, conic sections, algebra, and popular astronomy ! His intense application seemed likely to injure his health ; but relaxation for a time, and medical care, soon restored him.

About this time we find his uncle, Dr. Brocklesby, taking an especial interest in his pursuits; and an unbroken correspond


ence maintained between the uncle and nephew from this date till the death of the former forms one of the most interesting features in his life, many extracts being given which attest the value of the intercourse so carried on, and convey a pleasing picture of the affectionate solicitude of the elder relation, and the due sense of it entertained by the object of his care.

During the two years from 1790 to 1792 (when he finally quitted Youngsbury), the list of books read through is appalling. It is to our minds difficult to conceive how the mere mechanical process of carrying the eye through such a mass of lines and pages, without reference to other considerations, could have been effected within the given time. It would form a problem for calculation, which we should be unwilling to enter upon. For instance, besides some thirty authors, classical and scientific, the whole of Newton's Principia is mentioned, which we do not believe that a student even of considerable powers could really master in a much longer space of time, even without interruption from other pursuits; yet, among the other works read in the same time, the whole of the Greek tragedians, and Blackstone's Commentaries, are casually set down! small morsels swallowed by the way,- stimulants to the mental appetite! Nevertheless, his biographer assures us that he read nothing hastily or cursorily; his memory was tenacious, and whatever he had once mastered he never forgot; besides his reading, too, he always composed exercises in the languages he studied, and wrote journals of all his proceedings !

In 1792, Young gave perhaps the earliest proof of his classical attainments and literary powers in some translations from Shakspeare into Greek in imitation of the Greek tragedians, which were much lauded by competent scholars; though, as is usual in such cases, acute critics did not fail to pounce on some real or suspected false quantities or solecisms in style. An amusing account is also given of a conversation among a select circle, in which he met Porson, and was fully able to sustain his part in remarks called forth by questions of various readings, and the niceties of Greek metres.

In the same year he removed to London (having determined on following the medical profession), in order to attend the usual course at the hospitals. Here his connection with Dr. Brocklesby, then in considerable repute as a physician, opened to him the acquaintance of many of the leading persons of the day in literature and science. He found leisure still to carry on his classical studies; he also pursued a physiological and optical inquiry into the disputed question of the power of the eye to adapt itself to distinct vision for objects at different distances. This formed the subject of his first paper communicated to the Royal Society,


and facilitated his admission into that body in 1794. Among other eminent persons, he had become favourably known to the Duke of Richmond, then Master of the Ordnance, who offered him the situation of private secretary; but on mature consideration this offer was declined ; and in pursuit of his originally destined profession he next removed to Edinburgh, with a view to attend the medical lectures of that far-famed school. In his way thither he made a tour in the north of England, and in almost all parts formed acquaintance with persons of eminence ; more especially was this the case on his arrival at Edinburgh, then distinguished by the residence of several professors of high celebrity, besides other literary and scientific characters. He here carried on with his usual diligence, not only the regular professional studies which were his immediate object, but a variety of miscellaneous researches, besides journals and correspondence, more especially Greek criticism; his proficiency showing itself, as on several other occasions, in effusions in Greek verse. It was during his sojourn in Edinburgh that a material change took place in his habits; renouncing the externals of the sect in which he had been brought up, and scandalising some of his more rigid connections by taking lessons in dancing and music, and frequenting the theatre; yet (as his biographer assures us) without the smallest detriment to his religious or moral principles.

During the summer recess he made a tour in the north of Scotland on horseback; the picture which he draws of himself and his accoutrements for the journey must be given in his own words to convey the complete idea of the man, as a friend expressed it, "in se totus teres atque rotundus,equipped for the Highlands.

“ I was mounted on a stout well-made black horse, fourteen hands high, young and spirited, which I had purchased from my friend Cathcart. I had before me my oiled linens, the spencer with a separate camletcover ; under me a pair of saddle-bags, well filled with three or four changes of linen, a waistcoat and breeches, materials for writing and for drawing, paper, pens, ink, pencils, and colours, packing-paper and twine for minerals ; soap-brushes and a razor ; a small edition of Thomson's Seasons; a third flute in a bag ; some music, principally Scotch, bound with some blank music-paper; wafers, a box for botanising, a thermometer ; two little bottles with spirits for preserving insects; a bag for picking up stones; two maps of Scotland, Ainslie's small one, and Sayer's ; letters of recommendation. The bags had pockets at the end; one containing a pair of shoes, the other boards, with straps, and paper for drying plants. I found my bags at first an incumbrance, but became afterwards more reconciled to them. They are to a saddle what pockets are to a coat; and who objects to wearing pockets? But they were wetted the first day, and stained their contents : this will make me more careful in future.”—p. 63.

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