Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

library, and who was then on the country, but soon after returred point of undertaking a tour tu to Dresden, where he witnessed Italy. Heyne, however, notwith- the horrors of the bombardment standing all his exertions, conti- in the month of July, during nued to labour under the oppres- which he was exposed to the most sion of poverty, and his situation imminent danger,

In the year was rendered still worse by the following, Heyne married the obincursion of the Prussians into ject of his affections, and in 1763 Saxony. When the Prussian he was invited to Gottingen to the troops took possession of Dres- vacant professorship of John Matden, Count Bruhl, who was the thias Gesner. He entered on his chief object of Frederick's resent- new office with an inaugural disment, was obliged to fly for shel- course, “ De veris bonarum arter to Augustus King of Poland, tium literarumque incrementis ex upon which his palace was de- libertate publica;" which was folstroyed and his library dispersed. lowed by a classical dissertation, None suffered more on this occa- on announcing the anniversary of sion than those who were in the the university, and the festival on Count's service; and as they were account of peace, “De genio sædeprived of their salaries, the culi Ptolemæorum.” Before the source from which leyne had hi- end of the year he read his first patherto derived a scanty mainte- per as a member of the Society of nance was entirely dried up. He the Sciences, entitled Tempoendeavoured, therefore, to relieve rum mythicorum memoria a corhis wants by translating political ruptelis nonnullis vindicata." His pamphlets from the French, but first academic lectures were on the small pittance which this pro- Horace, the Georgics of Virgil, duced afforded very little relief. and some parts of the tragic In the autumn of the year 1757 writers. In 1766 he explained he was again reduced to a most the Iliad, and afterwards the forlorn condition, but was so for- Greek antiquities and archæology. tunate as to obtain, through the Heyne's new situation, as it afmeans of Rabener, a place as tu- forded him considerable leisure, tor in a family, where he became enabled liim to resume his labours acquainted with a lady named as a writer, which domestic cirTheresa Weiss, whon he after- cumstances, during the first years wards married. His pupil having of his residence at Gottingen, rengone to the university of Witten- dered more necessary; and he berg, Heyne repaired thither him- published a translation of the first self in the month of January seven parts of Guthrie's and 1759, and resumed his academic Gray's History of the World, but studies, which he prosecuted with with such additions and improvemore advantage than before, ap- ments, that it might be called an plying chiefly to philosophy and original work. After this emthe German history. In the year ployment, he returned to the Lafollowing, a residence at Witten- tian Muses, and in 1767 published berg having becoine insecure, he the first part of his Virgil, which retired to some distance in the was followed by the other parts,

at

at short intervals, till the year rusing Wood's Essay on the Writ1775. In 1763, he had been ap- ings and Genius of that Poet. pointed first librarian to the uni- During fifteen years he is said to versity, and in 1770 he obtained have devoted two hours daily to the title of aulic counsellor, and this great work, the appearance was made secretary to the Royal of which he delayed so long, that Society of Sciences, and editor of he might procure every possible the Literary Gazette. As secre- assistance from men of letters, tary to the Royal Society he was among whom were Beck of Leipof great service, and gave to that sic, and Jacobs of Gotha, whose institution a life and activity to service he acknowledges in the which it had been before a stran- preface, which made its first apger. The meetings had been held pearance in 1802. In 1778 he in a very irregular manner; and gave a second edition of his Viras none of the papers read before gil, in two different forms, one of it had been printed for sixteen which was ornamented with a years, Heyne, in 1771, had the great many vignettes. This edisatisfaction of publishing the first tion had been carefully revised volume of the “ Commentarii and considerably improved, not Novi,” which was dedicated to only by the author himself, but the King. He also laboured on by the assistance of literary friends, his Pindar, the first edition of among whom were Van Santen in which made its appearance in Holland, and Jacob Bryant in 1773. In 1775 his domestic hap- England. In the autumn of this piness was interrupted by the year he made a tour to Swisser. death of his wife; but two years land, in company with his friend after, he repaired his loss by mar- Dr. Girtanner, in the course of rying Georgiana Brandes, daugh- which he took an opportunity of ter of George Frederick Brandes, paying visits to Schweighauser, aulic counsellor. Among his la- Oberlin, and Brunk. At Zurich bours at this time must be men- he formed an acquaintance also tioned A Catalogue of the Library, with Hottinger and Lavater. Soon on a very extensive and improved after his return, he was offered plan, which he began in 1777, the place of chief librarian at and completed in 1787; a most Dresden, and was invited to Couseful but laborious rk, which penhagen to be professor, with a he extended to about one hundred salary of three thousand dollars and fifty volumes in folio. In and other advantages, but both 1782, he published his “ Apollo- these he declined. During the dorus," and in 1798 gave a new short peace of Amiens in 1809, edition of his “ Pindar," in five Heyne exerted himself to renew volumes. His most important that literary connection which had work, however, and that on which been almost destroyed by the pohe devoted the greater part of his litical storms of the time. As selife, was the edition of his Homer, cretary to the Royal Society of which he began in 1787, and Gottingen, he endeavoured to rewhich he had in some measure vive the correspondence of that been induced to undertake by pe- learned body with the French

National

National Institute. Several of the afford an evident proof that his faFrench literati were admitted culties were still sound and vigomembers of the Society, and the

rous. To Heyne nothing was so intercourse was rendered more valuable as time. He rose at five active by his own correspondence. o'clock in the morning, even in In the same year he was himself the latter years of life; in his nominated one of the foreign as- youth much earlier. The whole sociates of the Institute, in addi- day was filled with writing, lection to the numerous honours of turings, and other literary occuthe same kind which had been pations, not, however, excluding conferred on him before. In the domestic and social enjoyments; year 1803 he employed, and with for he was by no means of a recomplete success, the influence he cluse or solitary disposition. Nothad acquired as a man of letters, withstanding his great talents, to preserve the university from and the celebrity he had acquired, experiencing any of those mise: he was not vain or conceited. ries which are the usual conse- He, however, set a proper value quence of war; and on that occa

upon praise; but was much betsion he received a very flattering ter pleased to be esteemed as a letter from Berthier, then minis

man than as a scholar. By his ter at war, containing an assur

first wife he had one son and two ance that the French army would daughters, one of whom married grant special protection to that establishment. In 1806, when in brated Dr. John Reinhold Forg

George Forster, son of the celethe seventy-seventh year of his

ter, and on his death became the age, he undertook a tour to Arm- wife of Mr. Huber. The fruits stadt, to see one of his daughters of his second marriage were two who had been married a short

sons and four daughters. Heyne time before ; but after this period was a member of the Royal Society his infirmities increased so much, of London, and also of most of the that he could not endure violent

learned societies in Europe. motion, and in 1809 he resigned his office as professor of eloquence. In 1810 he was made a Knight of the Westphalian Order of the SMITHSON TENNANT, ESQ. Crown, and died in the month of July 1812. After completing his [A summary account of this esHomer, he engaged in no work timable person, distinguished by of any magnitude. He had once his chemical discoveries and geneentertained an idea of writing a ral knowledge, will be found in history of the university of Got- our Chronicle, page 123. From tingen, which was so dear to him; an excellent piece of biography but a few lines of only were of which he is the subject, comcommitted to paper. He, how. municated to Dr. Thomson's An ever, laboured with more dili- nals of Philosophy, and printed in gence for the Gottingen Society, the Numbers for July and August and in particular the Literary Ga- 1815, the following portraiture zette. The numerous articles with which it concludes is exwhich he furnished to that work tracted.]

Mr.

2 F lor. LVII.

Mr. Tennant was tall and slen- ing the merits of an obscure and der in his person, with a thin face complicated question very shortly, and light complexion. His ap- and with great simplicity and prepearance, notwithstanding some cision. The calmness and temsingularity of manners, and great per, as well as the singular pernegligence of dress, was on the spicuity, which he displayed on whole striking and agreeable. His such occasions, were alike admi. countenance in early life had been rable ; and seldom failed to consingularly engaging; and at fa- vince the unprejudiced, and to vourable times, when he was in disconcert or silence his oppogood spirits and tolerable health, nents. was still very pleasing. The ge- These powers of understanding neral cast of his features was ex- were so generally acknowledged, pressive, and bore strong marks that great deference was paid to of intelligence; and several per- his authority, not only upon ques. sons have been struck with a ge. tions in science, but upon most neral resemblance in his counte- others of general interest and imnance to the well-known portraits portance. What Mr. Tennant of Locke.

thought or said upon such subThe leading parts of his moral jects, his friends were always anxand intellectual character are ap. ious to ascertain ; and his opiniparent in the principal transac- ons had that species of influence tions of his life. But in this me- over a numerous class of society morial, however imperfect, of the which is one of the most certain talents and virtues of so extraor- proofs of superior talents. dinary a man, some attempt must Next to rectitude of underbe made to delineate those cha- standing, the quality by which he racteristic peculiarities, of which was most distinguished, was a there are no distinct traces in the lofty and powerful imagination. preceding narrative.

From hence resulted a great es Of his intellectual character, pansion of mind, and sublimity of the distinguishing and fundamen- conception ; which, being united tal principle was good sense ; a with deep moral feelings, and an prompt and intuitive perception ardent zeal for the happiness and of truth, both upon those ques. improvement of mankind, gave tions in which certainty is attain- a very peculiar and original chaable, and those which must be de- racter to his conversation in his termined by the nicer results of intercourse with familiar friends. moral evidence. In quick peno- He partook with others in the tration, united with soundness pleasure derived from the striking and accuracy of judgment, he was scenes of nature ; but was more perhaps without an equal. He particularly affected by the sight saw immediately and with greator contemplation of the triumphs distinctness, where the strength of human genius, of the energies of an argument lay, and upon of intelligent and successful inwhat points the decision was ul- dustry, of the diffusion of knowtimately to depend; and he was ledge and civilization, and of remarkable for the faculty of state whatever was new and beautiful in art or science. The cheerful altogether unequalled in energy activity of a populous town, the of thought and language, in occaimprovements in the steam-en- sional passages of refined and deep gine, the great Galvanic experi- philosophy, and, above all, in ments, and, above all, the novelty that sublime melancholy, which and extent of the prospects afford- he considered as one of the pecued by that revolution in chemical liar characteristics of great gescience which has illustrated our nius. own age and country—these mag- The same principles governed nificent objects, when presented Mr. Tennant's judgment in the to Mr. Tennant's mind, excited fine arts. Considering it as their in him the liveliest emotions, and proper office to elevate the mind, called forth the most animated and to excite the higher and noexpressions of admiration and de- bler passions, he estimated the light.

merits of the great masters in muThis keen sensibility to intel- sic and painting by their power of lectual pleasure may be partly inspiring these emotions. What understood, from the following he particularly admired in musipassage of a letter written by him cal compositions was that tone of in January 1809, to an intimate energy, simplicity, and deep feelfriend who was then abroad.- ing, of which the works of HanAfter mentioning the great phe- del and Pergolesi afford the finomena of the decomposition of nest specimens. In painting he the alkalies by Voltaic electricity, awarded the superiority to those and giving a general view of the distinguished masters, of whom experiments founded upon them, Raphael is the chief, who excel he thus concludes : “ I need not in the poetical expressions of chasay how prodigious these discove- racter, and in the power of reries are. It is something to have presenting with spirit, grace, and liced to know them."

dignity, the most exalted sentiHis taste in literature and the ments and affections. fine arts partook, in a considerable It was almost a necessary condegree, of the peculiar character sequence of his intense and deep of his imagination. His favourite feeling of these higher beauties, writers (those whom he most va- that his taste was somewhat selued for the eloquence of their vere, and that his ideas of excelstyle) were such as describe- lence, both in literature and the “high actions and high passions,” fine arts, were confined within and have the power of exciting strict limits. He totally disretrong and deep emotions. Of garded mediocrity, and gave no the poets, he principally esteemed praise to those inferior degrees of Virgil, Milton, and Gray; and merit, from which he received no the prose writers to whom he gave gratification. the preference for powers of com- In consequence principally of position were Pascal ani Rous- the declining state of his health, seau. He had a particular admi.. his talents for conversation were ration of the “ Pensées de Pas- perhaps less uniformly conspical," regarding it as a production cuous during his latter years.

2 1 2

His

« AnteriorContinuar »