Page images
[blocks in formation]


MARY SOMERVILLE, a Scottish lady of deep scientific learning and considerable literary skill, published in 1832 a redaction of Laplace's work, which she called The Mechanism of the Heavens. Her fame rests chiefly on her second work, The Connection of the Physical Sciences. She has also published a Physical Geography, Her first husband was a naval officer ; her second is a Scottish minister.

Hugh MILLER, no less remarkable as a master of picturesque English prose than as a practical geologist, was born in 1802 at Cromarty. After such education as his native town could give, he went to work as a stone-mason in the neighbouring quarries. There his hammer became an instrument of magic, breaking the young workman's way

into a subterranean Wonderland. A volume of Poems (1829), and some Letters on the Herring Fishery, opened his brilliant literary career. After fifteen years spent with hammer and chisel—the highest flight of his art being the cutting of epitaphs on tombstones—he became, after his marriage, accountant in a Cromarty bank. In this position about six years were spent, during which his chief literary performance was Scenes and Legends in the North of Scotland, or the Traditional History of Cromarty. His zeal on behalf of the Non-Intrusion principle, then agitating the Church of Scotland, led him to write two powerful pamphlets, which attracted so much notice that he was selected in 1840 to edit the Edinburgh Witness. This station he filled until the sad day of his death. Amid the unceasing toils and distractions of journalism, he continued to cultivate his darling study. The Old Red Sandstone (1841); First Impressions of England and its People (1847); Footprints of the Creator (1850); an autobiography entitled My Schools and Schoolmasters (1854); and The Testimony of the Rocks (1857), a work which he had just completed when madness impelled him to point the fatal pistol to his heart, mark the unceasing labour through which he held his


from year. He shot himself on the 24th of December, 1856. The Cruise of the Betsy, a geological voyage to the Hebrides; and The Sketch-book of Popular Geology, edited by his widow, have appeared since his death. The varied splendour of his style, and the giant

year to

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

grasp of his mental faculties, are displayed in his grand Mosaic Vision of Creation, woven of such coloured shadows as may have rolled in a gorgeous panorama before the eye of the prophet, sitting upon a hill top in the lonely Midian desert.

JOHN STUART MILL, the son of the historian of India, and the author of a System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive (1843); Essays on Unsettled Questions of Political Economy (1844); Principles of Political Economy (1848); and Liberty (1859), takes rank among the first thinkers of the time. His philosophy is opposed in most respects to the system of Bacon. He held, as did his father, the office of Examiner of Indian Correspondence, retiring when the Company was dissolved in 1859. Born in 1806, Mr. Mill is yet in middle life.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Supplementary List.
WILLIAM SMITH.—(1769–1839)—Churchill, Oxfordshire-founder of English

geology-Geological Map of England; Organic Remains.
WILLIAM BUCKLAND.—(1784–1856)—Dean of Westminster-one of the Bridge-

water treatises on Geology and Mineralogy in Reference to Natural Theo

GIDEON MANTELL.—1788–1852)—an English physician-The Fossils of the

South Downs; The Medals of Creation; Wonders of Geology.
DIONYSIUS LARDNER.—(1793–1859)Hand-Book of Natural Philosophy and

Astronomy ; Museum of Science and Art; edition of Euclid.
MICHAEL FARADAY.—(1794–still living)—a blacksmith's son-greatest English

chemist-Researches on Electricity ; Popular Lectures on Chemistry of a

Candle, &c.
SIR CHARLES LYELL.—(1797-still living)—Kinnordy, Forfarshire-Principles

of Geology ; Elements of Geology; Travels in North America.
RICHARD OWEN.-(about 1803–still living)— Lancaster—a distinguished surgeon

and physiologist-History of British Fossil Mammals and Birds ; British

Fossil Reptiles.
JAMES FERRIER.—(1808—still living)— Professor of Moral Philosophy at St.

AndrewsInstitutes of Metaphysic; edition of Wilson's Works.
Dr. MANSEL of Oxford, author of Limits of Religious Thought, and joint-
editor of Sir William Hamilton's Lectures-Dr. MORELL, Inspector of Schools
in England, author of A History and Critical View the Speculative Philo-
sophy of Europe during the Nineteenth Century-Professor M'Cosh of Belfast,
author of the Method of the Divine Government-Professor ALEXANDER Bain of
Aberdeen, author of The Senses and the Intellect ; The Emotions and the Will-
and HERBERT SPENCER, author of First Principles of Psychology, have made
valuable contributions to the scientific literature of the present century.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]




The Dissertations, written for the Encyclopædia Britannica from time to time during the last hundred years, trace the progress of Physical and Mental Science with remarkable clearness and effect. DUGALD STEWART and SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH took up Ethical Philosophy ; Archbishop WHATELY dealt with the History of Christianity ; while Mathematics and Physics have been treated successively by John PLAYFAIR (1748–1819), Sir John LESLIE (1766–1832), and JAMES DAVID FORBES (born 1808—now Principal of the United College, St. Andrews). Leslie wrote also a remarkable work on Heat; and Forbes is well known for his books upon Glaciers.


[ocr errors]

THOMAS CHALMERS, born in 1780, at Anstruther in Fifeshire, was a merchant's son. Educated at St. Andrews, he was ordained in 1803 as minister of Kilmany in his native county. Twelve years later (1815) he removed to Glasgow, where his splendid fame as a pulpit orator was chiefly won. Jeffrey's striking characterization best conveys the marvellous power which this wonderful man had over every audience he addressed,—“ He buries his adversaries under the fragments of burning mountains.” In 1823 he went to St. Andrews as Professor of Moral Philosophy in the United College ; and in 1828 he exchanged this post for the chair of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh. When the Disruption of 1843 took place, Chalmers was prominent among the founders of the Free Church of Scotland. On the 31st of May 1847 he was found dead in his bed, with no sign of suffering on his placid face. A most interesting and graphic Life of this eminent orator and scholar has been written by his son-in-law, Dr. Hanna of Free St. John's, Edinburgh. Thirty-four volumes are filled with the gathered works of Chalmers. His Natural Theology, his Evidences of Christianity, his Lectures on the Romans, and his magnificent Astronomical Discourses, may be singled out as noble specimens of literary work. But the qualities which distinguish these pervade all his writings. From heaven and earth and sea, from the world of mind and the world of matter, he drew untless illustrations to clothe his subject in a fitting garb. He touched a pebble, and it became a gem. He looked on a scene, and it brightened into beauty or faded into gloom, as wrath or mercy lit his eye. His




audience heard with his ears, saw with his vision, and followed in rapt wonder the man whose resistless spirit had fung its lightning chains around them.

ISAAC TAYLOR, born in 1787 at Lavenham, the son of an Independent minister, settled down at Stanford Rivers, not far from his home at Ongar in Essex, to write The Natural History of Enthusiasm. It appeared anonymously in 1829. The Physical Theory of Another Life, and Ancient Christianity, may be named among his many works. He is a writer of great learning and power.

WILLIAM MURE of Caldwell, born in 1799, a colonel in the Renfrewshire Militia, is distinguished for his learned and carefully written Critical History of the Language and Literature of Ancient Greece. In the Homeric controversy Colonel Mure sides with those who consider the Iliad and Odyssey to have been the work of a single poet. He died in 1860.

THOMAS GUTHRIE, born in 1800, at Brechin in Forfarshire, is a minister of the Free Church of Scotland. The “Times,” in a review of one of his works, calls him “ The greatest of our pulpit orators.” His principal works are, A Plea for Ragged Schools ;

The Gospel in Ezekiel ; The City, its Sins and Sorrows ; Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints.

JOHN WILLIAM DONALDSON, born about 1810, was the son of a London merchant. He became a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and was for many years head-master of the Grammar School of Bury St. Edmunds. His principal works, The Theatre of the Greeks, The New Cratylus, and Varronianus, have won for him a first-rate reputation among the classical scholars and philologers of the century. Dr. Donaldson, who resided lately at Cambridge, died within the present year (1861).

HENRY ROGERS, a professor in the Independent College at Birmingham, is celebrated as the author of The Eclipse of Faith, or a Visit to a Religious Sceptic. This work, published in 1852, deals with all the controversies and new questions in theology that have arisen in England or Germany during the last twenty years. It is a reply to Newman's Phases of Faith. A Reply and Defence have been exchanged between the rival champions since

[ocr errors]



the publication of the “Eclipse.” Mr. Rogers has contributed largely to the Edinburgh Review; and many of his essays have been republished.

Supplementary List.

RALPH WARDLAW.—(1779–1853)— Dalkeith—Independent minister at Glasgow

Discourses on the Socinian Controversy. John BIRD SUMNER.—(1780—still living)-Kenilworth-Archbishop of Canter

bury-St. Paul's Epistles ; Records of Creation (second Burnett prize);

Evidences of Christianity. THOMAS HARTWELL HORNE.—(1780—still living)-London-Episcopal minister

and librarian in the British Museum-Introduction to the Study of the

Scriptures. Joan Brown.—(1785–1859)-minister of the United Presbyterian Church in

Edinburgh-Commentaries upon Romans, Galatians, First Peter, &c. Hugh M'NEILE.—(1795-still living)—Ballycastle, Antrim-rector of St. Jude's,

Liverpool-a celebrated pulpit orator. JULIUS HARE.—(1795–1855)-archdeacon of Lewes—a leader of Broad Church

party-sermons on Victory of Faith and Mission of the Comforter ; Life

of John Sterling ; Niebuhr's Rome, (trans.) RoBr. S. CANDLISH.—(still living)-minister of Free St. George's, Edinburgh

Lectures on Genesis ; Scripture Characters ; The Atonement; Reason and

Revelation, &c. John KITTO.-(1804–1854)—Plymouth-deaf-Pictorial Bible ; Cyclopedia of

Biblical Literature; Daily Bible Readings. RICHARD CHEVENIX TRENCH.—(1807—still living)-dean of Westminster—Justin

Martyr, and other poems; Notes on the Parables and Miracles ; Syno

nyms of the New Testament; Study of Words ; English-Past and Present. WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE.—(1809-still living)—Liverpool-present (1861)

Chancellor of Exchequer--Homer and the Homeric Age. SIR HENRY RAWLINSON-(1810-still living)—Chadlington, Oxfordshire-de

cipherer of Assyrian inscriptions-Outline of the History of Assyria. HENRY ALFORD.—(1810—still living)-London-minister of Quebec Street Cha

pel-edition of the Greek Testament ; Sermons and Poems. WILLIAM ARCHER BUTLER.—(1814–1848)—Annerville, near Clonmel-Professor

of Moral Philosophy, Trinity College, Dublin-Sermons ; Lectures on

Ancient Philosophy. ARTHUR PENRAYN STANLEY.(1815—still living)-Alderley—canon of Canter

bury-Discourses on Corinthians ; Life of Dr. Arnold ; Memorials of

Canterbury. ROBERT ANCHOR THOMPSON.-(1821-still living)—Durham-once curate of

Louth in Lincolnshire-first Burnett Prize Essay.
JOHN TULLOCH.--(1822—still living)—Tibbermuir in Perthshire-Principal of

St. Mary's College at St. Andrews-Theism, (second Burnett Prize);
Leaders of the Reformation ; English Puritanism.

« PreviousContinue »