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himself to the learned languages, in which he made fo rapid a progrefs, that he wrote a Latin, a Greek, and an Italian Grammar. He makes great complaints of the ignorance of his times, and says, that the Regular Priefts ftudied chiefly fcholaftic divinity, and that the Secular Priests applied themselves to the ftudy of the Roman law, but never turned their thoughts to philofophy. The learned Dr. Freind, in his History of Phyfic, very juftly calls this extraordinary man" the "miracle of the age in which he lived;" and fays, that he was the greatest mechanical genius that had appeared fince the days of Archimedes. Roger Bacon, in a Treatise upon Optical Glaffes, defcribes the Camera Obfcura, with all forts of glasses that magnify or diminish any object, bring it nearer to the eye, or remove it farther; and Dr. Freind fays, that the telescope was evidently known to him. "Some of these, and his other "mathematical inftruments," adds that learned Writer, "coft 200l. or 300l." and Bacon fays himself,
• How much the ftudy of the learned languages was neglected in his time, Roger Bacon himself informs us; for in a letter to his patron, Clement the Fourth, he tells him, that there were not four among the Italians who understood the grammatical rudiments of Greek, Latin, and Italian; and he adds, that even the Latin tongue, for the beauty and correctness of it, was scarcely known to any one. He fays, that the Scholars, as they were then called, were fitter for the eradle than for the chair.
himself, that in twenty years he fpent 2000l. in books and in tools; a prodigious fum for fuch kind of expences in his day!
Bacon was almost the only Aftronomer of his age; for he took notice of an error in the Calendar with respect to the aberration of the folar year; and proposed to his patron, Clement the Fourth, a plan for correcting it in 1267, which was adopted three hundred years afterwards by Gregory XIII.
Bacon was a chymift alfo, and wrote upon medicine. There is still in print a work of his, on retarding the advances of old age, and on preferving the faculties clear and entire to the remotest period of life; but, with a littlenefs unworthy of fo great a mind as his was, he fays, "that he does "not choose to exprefs himself fo clearly as he might have done refpecting diet and medicines, " left what he writes fhould fall into the hands "of the Infidels."
Gunpowder, or at least a powder that had the fame effect, seems to have been known to him, if he were not the inventor of it; for, in a letter to John Parifienfis, he says,
"In omnem diftantiam quam volumus, poffumus artificialiter componere ignem combureniem, ex fale petra et aliis, viz. fulphure & carbonum pulverem. "Prater banc, (fcilicet combuftionem) funt alia Stupenda, nam foni velut tonitus et corrufcationes
fieri poffunt in aëre, immo majore horrore quàm illa quæ fiunt per naturam:-By our skill we can compose an artificial fire, burning to any distance we please, made from faltpetre and as fulphur and charcoal powder. power of combuftion, it poffeffes other won"derful properties; for founds like thofe of "thunder and corufcations can be made in the air, more horrid than those occafioned by na"ture."
EDWARD THE THIRD.
"THIS Monarch," fays a French Historian, "was defirous that his fon, Edward the Black "Prince, fhould have all the honour of the glo"rious day at Creffy. He wished to teach him "to be victorious, and he entrusted him to two "Noblemen very proper for that purpose. He " said to him, after the battle, Beau fils, Dieu vous "doit bonne perfeverance; vous éles mon fils, car loyau"ment vous êtes acquité en ce jour, fi êles digne de "terre tenir.”
Aimeri di Pavia, an Italian by whom Edward the Third was educated, was entrusted by him with the government of Calais, then lately taken from
from the French. He had agreed for a certain
"Meffire Ribaumont Euftache, of all the Knights "in the world that I have ever seen, you best "know how to attack your enemy, and to defend
yourself. I never in my life was engaged in any "combat, in which I had more to do to defend myfelf than I have had just now with you. I give you very readily the glory of it, and that "of being above all the Knights of my Court, "as I am in honour obliged to do by a juft judg"ment." At the fame time the generous Prince, taking from his own head a coronet of pearls, which he had worn, placed it on that of Ribaumont, and told him to wear it for that year, as a mark of his courage. "I know," added Ed. ward, "Mefire Euftache, that you are gav, fond "of the ladies, and delight in their company; "fo wherever you go, always mention that I gave "l you this coronet. I release you from your prifon, and you may quit Calais to-morrow, if you pleafe."
"This inftance," fays the candid author of Hiftoire du Patriotisme François, " of good-humour "and generofity, in the true fpirit of chivalry, in "Edward, must be extremely pleafing to every "one, as it makes that Monarch appear in his "true character. If rage and indignation at the
delay of the furrender of Calais to him, had not "for a moment put a violence upon his difpo"fition, his crown of pearls would have been for "Euftache de St. Pierre, or Jean de Vienne."