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tionnaire des Sciences Naturelles. In the prospectus of this dictionary, which is written by Cuvier, he sketches the history of science, and mentions, with commentaries, the great men who contributed to its promotion, and in an extract from it, quoted and translated by Mrs. Lee, we read with pleasure a most admirably written comparison between Linnæus and Buffon. He contributed also to the Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicales; and all the articles transmitted by him to either work, teem with the proofs of his learning, his cantion, his accuracy.
Mrs. Lee reserves for particular notice a work altogether of a different nature from the former, but in which Cuvier distinguished himself quite as much. In giving an accoumt of this work, it is necessary to begin by informing the reader that the French Academy was appointed a trustee of a certain amount of funds, to be given away yearly as a prize on certain conditions. M. de Montyon, a French gentleman of the noblest qualities, left a large sum of money to various hospitals and other charitable institutions. The fund at the disposal of the Academy was his donation, and every year a prize, by his direction, was given for any extraordinary degree of virtuie displayed by any person belonging to the humbler classes. There is always on the day of giving away the prizes a concourse of persons, and it is usual for some eminent individual to explain to the audience the reason in each instance why it is conferred. In the year 1829, Cuvier happened to be placed in that situation, and the discourse which he addressed to his hearers on that occasion is the composition to which Mrs. Lee now directs our attention. One of the prizes which were awarded, was five thousand francs to Louise Scheppler, whose life and merits were elegantly dwelt on by Cuvier. This woman resided in a valley in the rudest part of the Vosges mountains. Sixty years ago this valley yielded only very scanty nourishment to a half civilized population. The families were about eighty in number- they had a government of forcela they were divided by hereditary feuds--and acts of criminal violence were committed amongst them. Under these circumstances a pious pastor, named John Frederick Oberlin, undertook to civilize them. Like one, who was well acquainted with mankind, Oberlin began by striving to get rid of their poverty, and with his own hands he set the example for all useful labours, and, armed with a pickaxe, he directed them in the construction of a good road, digging and labouring with them; he taught them to cultivate the potatoe; he made them acquainted with good vegetables and fruits; showed them how to engraft, and gave them excellent breeds of cattle and poultry. He established manufactures, he gave them a saving-bank, and put them in communication with the commercial houses in the neighbouring towns. He began to give them higher instruction and made bimself their schoolmaster: select works were provided for them, the influence of which were assisted by his own exhortations and example-by degrees religious feelings, bringing in their train mu
tual benevolence, insinuated themselves into their hearts--quarrels, crimes, and law-suits disappeared, and Oberlin was at last the only tribunal to which in all their disputes they appealed. In short, he saw this community, just before his death, which at first consisted of eighty families of a half-barbarous and starving population, he saw them a body of three hundred families, regular in their habits, pious : and enlightened in their sentiments, enjoying ease in their circumstances, and amply provided with the means of handing down to their posterity sufficient to render them comfortable too. The whole of those happy results were not however exclusively attributable to Oberlin, for he was materially assisted in his benevolent labours by the individual whose heroic exertions called forth the prize to which Cuvier is now particularly alluding. We give his account of this female.
' A young female peasant from one of these villages, named Louise Sclieppler, though scarcely fifteen years of age, was so forcibly impressed with the virtues of this man of God, that, although she enjoyed a small patrimony, she begged to enter into his service, and take a part in his charitable labours. From that time she never accepted any wages; she never quitted him; she became his help, his messenger, and the guardian angel of the rudest huts. She afforded the inhabitants every species of consolation; and in no instance can we find a finer example of the power of feeling to exalt the intelligence. This simple village girl entered into the elevated views of her master, even astonishing him by her happy sug, gestions, which he unhesitatingly adopted in his general plan of operation. She it was who remarked the difficulty that the labourers in the fields ex perienced, in combining their agricultural employments with the care of their younger children, and who thought of collecting together even infants of the earliest age in spacious halls, where, during the absence of their parents, some intelligent instructresses should take care of, amuse, teach them their letters, and exercise them in employments adapted to their
ages. From this institution of Louise Scheppler arose the infant schools of England and France, where the children of the working classes, who would otherwise be exposed to accidents and vicious examples, are watched over, instructed, and protected. The honour of an idea which has produced such beautiful results is solely due to this poor peasant of Ban de la Roche; to this she consecrated all her worldly means, and, what are of more value, her youth and her health. Even now, though advanced in years, she, without receiving the smallest compensation, assembles a hundred children round her, from three to seven years of age, and instructs them according to their capacities. The adults, thanks to M. Oberlin, have no further moral wants; but there are yet some, who in sick. ness or old age have need of physical aid. Louise Scheppler watches over them, carries them broth, medicine, in short, every thing, not forgetting pecuniary succour. She has founded and regulated a sort of Mont de Piété, of a peculiar kind, which would be an admirable institution elsewhere, if it could be multiplied like the infant schools; for it is among the very small number of those which merit the name given to them, for money is there lent without interest and without securities.'-pp. 163165.
It is a curious part of this history, that Oberlin, before bis death, made a will, in which he left Louisa as a legacy to this people.
Mrs. Lee next proceeds to the analysis of the eloges pronounced by Cuvier at various times on distinguished savants. As secretary of the academy, it was his duty to compose these eloges, for in every case, those on whom he passed them were members of that institution. Before giving an account of these separately, Mrs. Lee thinks it proper to precede that account by the description of Cuvier's style of delivery. She says, that the very slight accent of his native place of Montbéliard, which might be traced in his conversation, entirely disappeared when he commenced either reading or speaking in public. The articulation of Cuvier i was particularly distinct, so that not only could he be clearly heard by those standing most remote from his position, but to foreigners he was much more intelligible than the generality of learned Frenchmen. There was also a degree of action, and an expression of countenance, which evidently resulted from natural feeling, and which varied with it. No ambition after, no affectation of fine expression, or of an oratorical rotundity of enunciation, were to be seen or heard in Cuvier's public exhibitions. All was simplicity and nature.
The first of the great men who forms the subject of Cuvier's eloges is Daubenton, who was the colleague of M. de Buffon, born in the same town with him, and chosen by him to aid his scientific labours. The reasons of this choice are given by M. Cuvier, who first describes Buffon as a man of independent fortune, whose personal and mental attractions, and violent thirst for pleasure, seemed to cast his destiny in any other mould than that of science, but who nevertheless found himself irresistibly drawn towards it-the surest sign of his extraordinary talents.
Gifted as Buffon was with the most ardent imagination, and possessing a pen that was the echo of that imagination, viewing nature in all its activity and freshness, and deeply impressed with it as a whole system of beauty and order, he yet required some one to inspect the details, some one who was gifted with the power of patient investigation, some one whose love of justice and calm tone of mind would form a sort of counter-balance to his ardour, some one equally devoted to the cause, but at the same time modest enough to play a secondary part, and leave him in possession of the brilliant fame he coveted. These requisites were all centered in Daubenton, the companion of his youth.
Before the time of Daubenton, continues Cuvier, the Museum of Natural History was a mere cabinet, and, strictly speaking, only contained the shells collected by Tournefort for the amusement of Louis XV. when young. In a very few years, the whole face was changed. Minerals, fruits, woods, and shells were brought from every quarter, and exposed in the most beautiful order; means were taken for discovering the best modes of preserving different parts of
organised beings; and the inanimate remains of birds and quadrupeds re-assumed the appearance of life, presenting the slightest details of character to the attentive observer, while they astonished the curious by the variety of their forms and the brilliancy of their colours. Daubenton conceived: a vast plan, and, supported by Buffon, profited by the means his credit afforded. No production of nature was excluded from this temple, and a number of anatomical preparations were collected, which, though less agreeable to the eye, were not less useful to the person who did not limit his researches to the exterior of created beings; who endeavoured to make a philosophical science of natural history, and to force it to explain its own phenomena. The study and arrangement of these objects became a real passion for Daubenton; he shut himself up for whole days in the Museum; he arranged the objects in a thousand different
he scrupulously examined all their parts; and he tried every possible arrangement until he found that which nei ther offended the eye nor natural affinities. Thus it is principally to Daubenton that France owes the magnificent museum of the Jardin des Plantes, where we must be struck with the unwearied patience of the man who amassed all these treasures, named them, classed them, displayed their affinities, described their parts, and explained their properties.
As the subjects of these eloges are all men peculiar in their fortunes, as they were distinguished by greatness of mind, we cannot provide for the reader a more entertaining or instructive treat, than a series of outlines of the characters given of them by their eloquent and acute author, Cuvier.
Lemonnier was head physician to Louis XVI., and rendered himself celebrated as a botanist; his whole life was devoted to the task of introducing useful plants and trees into France. He was particularly attentive to the poor, and afforded them all the consolation in his power. When his ill-fated master was in prison, Lemonnier had the courage to visit him, and at eighty-two years of age he died at an herb shop in Paris, which he had established for his liveli. hood.
Héritier's eulogy embraces some circumstances which connect him with this country in a way that renders it interesting. He was a botanist also, and showed the greatest enthusiasm for the science. Being particularly devoted to the study of foreign plants, and having heard that a traveller named Dombey had returned from South America with an immense collection of plants, L'Héritier obtained the herbarium from him, allowing him an annual pension, and from that moment no bounds were set to his zeal; painters and engravers were employed, and the work was far advanced, when he received intelligence, that the Spaniards who had accompanied Dombey, demanded of the French government that his botany should not be published before theirs, and, consequently, that the herbarium should be restored to Dombey. The order for this restoration was
expected the next day, when L'Héritier, consulting only his friend, M. Broussonet, sent for twenty or thirty packers, and the night was passed in making cases. L'Héritier, his wife, and MM. Broussonet and Redouté, packed the herbarium: early the next morning the former posted off to Calais with his treasure, nor rested till he was safe on the English soil. He passed fifteen months there in the most perfect retirement, and was delighted with the kindness he received. The library and collections of Sir Joseph Banks, the herbarium of Linnæus, then in the possession of Sir J. E. Smith, besides the acquisitions of other botanists, were all open to him, and he there finished his manuscript. This unfortunate botanist met with his death from assassination as he was returning one evening from the Institute.
Gilbert chiefly distinguished himself as an agriculturist, and was sent by the government of France to Spain, for the purpose of procuring some of that fine breed of sheep, which had been brought previously to England with so much advantage to its produce of wool. The heroism of his character may be at once learned, when it is known, that a friend of his being suspected, and consequently imprisoned, during the revolution of 1793, he every month carried to the wife of the sufferer the half of his own income, leading her to, suppose that the money came from her husband, in order to her from being aware of the destitute state into which she was plunged, or the danger incurred by one so dear. Gilbert went to Spain in high hopes, but when there was neglected by the governs ment; he met with delays and disappointments in his mission, and was obliged to involve his own property in his endeavours to extricate himself from the heavy embarrassments into which he had fallen there. Ultimately, the flock which he formed was found scarcely one-third equal to what it ought to have been.
1091 * Darcet is the next on the list. He was remarkable for being the confidential friend of Montesquieu, and assisted him in collecting and arranging his immense materials for the “Esprit des Loix. In conjunction with the performance of these duties, he at the same time pushed chemistry with such perseverance, as by his researches to produce wonderful improvements in the manufacture of porcelain in France.
One of the most remarkable passages throughout the whole of this collection of eloges, is that which relates to Priestley, for it presents a combination of sound judgment, of a sense of justice, of candour and honesty of purpose, which never was exceeded, and but seldom ever equalled. After appreciating the merits of Priestley as a man of science, Cuvier, evidently with much emotion, proceeded to address his audience in the following manner:
"" I am now, Messieurs, arrived at the most painful part of my task. You have just seen Priestley successfully progressing in the study of human science, to which he nevertheless consecrated but a few of his leis sure' moments. I must now present him to you in another light, wrestling