Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

ren propounders of an ordinary ing soberly on his lips. There was heme, by the treasures which he nothing of effort indeed, or impadrew from the mine which they had tience, any more than of pride or anconsciously opened. He general. levity, in his demeanour; and there y seemed, indeed, to have no choice was a finer expression of reposing of predilection for one subject of strength, and mild self-possession in discourse rather than another, but his manner, than we ever recollect allowed his mind, like a great cyclo- to have met with in any other person. pedia, to be opened at any letter his He had in his character the utmost associates might choose to turn up, abhorrence for all sorts of forwardand only endeavoured to select from ness, parade, and pretensions; and his inexhaustible stores what might indeed never failed to put all such, be best adapted to the taste of his impostors out of countenance, by the present hearers. As to their capa. manly plainness and honest intrepicity, he gave himself no trouble; dity of his language and deportment. and, indeed, such was his singular * In his temper and dispositions he talent for making all things plain, was not only kind and affectionate, clea and intelligible, that scarcely but generous, and considerate of the any one could be aware of such a feelings of all around him, and gave deficiency in his presence. His talk, the most liberal assistance and entoo, though overflowing with infor- couragement to all young persons mation, had no resemblance to lec- who showed any indications of taturing or solemn discoursing, but, on lent, or applied to him for patronage the contrary, was full of colloquial or advice. His health, which was spirit and pleasure. He had a cer- delicate from his youth upwards, tain quiet and grave humour, which seemed to become firmer as he ad ran through most of his conversation, vanced in years : and he preserved, and a vein of temperate jocularity, up almost to the last moment of his which gave infinite zest and effect to existence, not only the full command the condensed and inexhaustible in- of his extraordinary intellect, but all formation which formed its main the alacrity of spirit, and the social staple and characteristic. There was gaiety which had illuminated his hapa little air of affected testiness, and a piest days. His friends in this part tone of pretended rebuke and con- of the country never saw him more tradiction, with which he used to full of intellectual vigour and colloaddress his younger friends, that was quial animation, never more delightalways felt by them as an endearing tul nor more instructive, than in his mark of his kindness and familiarity, last visit to Scotland in autumn 1817. and prized accordingly far beyond Indeed, it was after that time that all the solemn compliments that ever he applied himself with all the arproceeded from the lips of authority. dour of early life, to the invention of His voice was deep and powerful, a machine for mechanically copying though he commonly spoke in a low all sorts of sculpture and statuary, and somewhat monotonous lone, and distributed among his friends which harmonised admirably with some of its earliest performances, as the weight and brevity of his obser- the productions of a young artist just vations, and set off to the greatest ad. entering on his 83d year. vantage the pleasant anecdotes which “ This happy and useful life came he delivered with the same grave at last to a gentle close. He had brow and the same calm smile play- suffered some inconveniences through

the summer; but was not seriously to write an elementary course of indisposed till within a few weeks of mathematics for the youths of the his death. He then became perfectly naval service; but, from a motive aware of the event that was approach highly honourable to his memory, ing; and with his usual tranquillity he invariably refused to comply

. and benevolence of nature, seemed “ Bezout,” said he, “ has left a w only anxious to point out to the dow with no other fortune than her friends around him the many sources late husband's works, and I do not of consolation which were afforded wish to take away the bread from by the circumstances under which it the widow of one who has rendered was about to take place. He ex- important services to science and to pressed his sincere gratitude to Pro- his country." The only elementary vidence for the length of days with work which he published was bis which he had been blessed, and his Traité de Statique, which is a moexemption from most of the infirmi- del of logical precision, clearness, ties of age, as well as for the calm and and simplicity. cheerful évening of life that he had In 1792, when France was mena. been permitted to enjoy, after the ced with invasion, and when the puhonourable labours of the day had blic distress called for the talents been concluded. And thus, full of and courage of the superior classes, years and honours, in all calmness Monge was created Minister of the and tranquillity, he yielded up his Marine. In this new and difficult soul, without pang or struggle, and situation, he spent his days in giving passed from the bosom of his family instructions and superintending the to that of his God!

workmen, and his nights in writing his Treatise on the casting of artil

. GASPARD Monge, so celebrated lery (Fonte de Canons,) a book infor his mathematical talents, and tended for the use of the directors useful practical discoveries, of the public founderies. born at Beaune, in the province of Monge's next great work was Burgundy, in the year 1746. At the planning a system of education, age of nineteen, he had so much im- which should combine a general proved the stock of knowledge which course of Natural Philosophy with he received at the school of the the more practical studies of engi. priests of the Oratory, at Lyons, that neering, and which ultimately led to he was appointed teacher of Natural the establishment of the Polytechnic Philosophy in the Military School of School. In the execution of this pro. Mezières, and soon afterwards made ject, Monge spared neither time dor a Professor. In order to bring him exertions, delivering lectures and gito Paris, Monge was in 1780 ap- ving drawings, with rules for the repointed assistant to Bossut, Profes. gulation of conduct, of time, diffesor of the Hydrodynamic Course, rent kinds of study, &c. As fellowinstituted by Turgot. The same labourers in this design, we discover year he was admitted into the Aca- the names of Laplace, Berthollet, demy of Sciences; and on the death Fourcroy, Chaptal, and others. of Bezout in 1783, he was chosen to After completing the arrangesucceed that celebrated examiner ments of the Polytechnic School

, of the naval service. In this situa. Monge was sent into Italy with his tion Monge had been several times friend Berthollet, now a Count and invited by the Marquis de Castries Peer of France, to superintend the

was

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

transportation of the prints, pictures, fell into disgrace with the new governstatues, &c. plundered under cover ment, which expelled him from the of the treaty of Tolentino; but these French Institute, in opposition to an monuments had hardly entered Pa. express ordonnance, which enacted ris, when Monge was appointed to that every member of the ancient preside in the Commission of the Academy of Sciences should be of Sciences and the Arts destined to right a member of the newly regulataccompany the expedition to Egypt. ed Institute. Monge, already sevenHere he was indefatigable in his ex- ty years of age, was so struck by this ertions; visited the Pyramids twice; pitiful outrage, that he sunk into a saw the obelisk, and the grand ruins state of mental depression, and soon of Heliopolis ; studied the remains after expired. He appears to have of antiquity scattered round Cairo been a man of original talents, and Alexandria; and during a tedi- great activity, and indefatigable apous march through the desert, dis- plication; and in a political point of covered the cause of that wonderful view, his gratitude to his fallen masphenomenon known by the name of ter renders him infinitely more rethe mirage *.

spectable than many of his contemAfter pursuing his labours, for poraries, who had 'the dexterity to some time, with unabated vigour lay aside their old principles and haand enthusiasm, Monge returned to bits when the tide of fortune turned, France with Napoleon, who, when and to reconcile themselves to the First Consul, created him succes- Bourbon Dynasty, by traducing and sively a Senator and Count of Pelu. vilifying the man to whom they had sia in Egypt.

so often offered up the incense of When Napoleon abdicated, Monge the most servile adulation.

It would have been fortunate for our army bad their commanders been aware of this singular appearance. On the 13th of March the troops were prevented froın advancing, and taking up an advantageous position, by imagining they were on the confines of a lake, or sheet of water; and the delusion was not dispelled till the French were observed descending and marching across the imaginary lake to attack our regiments in the front. This ignorance occasioned a severe and needless loss of lives; the men being obliged to fight, under every possible disadvantage.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

CHAPTER III.

VIEW OF IMPROVEMENTS IN SCIENCE DURING THE YEAR.

Light.- Heat.-Hyposulphurous acid and its compounds.Discovery of

Hyposulphuric Acid.Experiments of Sertürner, Vogel, and Gay Lus. sac, on the action of sulphuric acid on alcohol.- Mineral waters.Me surement of the height of the Himalaya Mountains.-Curve of permanent congelation.

LIGHT AND HEAT.

position of his needles; for, if they

had been placed nearly in the magOn the interesting subjects of Light netic meridian, a certain temperaand Heat, no great quantity of ad- ture preserved for a certain time ditional information was brought may be conceived to be capable of into view during the course of this inducing permanent magnetism. year. It will be recollected, that, The most remarkable paper on some years ago, Morichini had per the subject of heat is an early pro

set of experiments, by duction of Professor Leslie, On which he professed to have discover. Heat and Climate,” which had been ed that steel wire, when exposed for read at two meetings of the Royal a certain time to the violet rays of Society as far back as the year 1793, the sun, becomes magnetised. These but was first published in the “ Anexperiments have been repeated nals of Philosophy" for July 1819. by various philosophers, general- The novelty of the views developed in ly without success; though there this ingenious performance, its total are some who affirm that they have deviation from the opinions generalverified Morichini's discovery. The ly received at the time, and the disreality of this power of the violet regard of authority evinced by the rays was, therefore, very generally author, appear to have startled the called in question, till it was an- Committee of the Royal Society, and nounced in the Bibliothéque Univer- prevented them from inserting it in selle, that the late Professor Playfair their Transactions. As far as Mr had witnessed a successful experi- Leslie was concerned, this was pero ment of this kind. Since the time haps fortunate. It induced him to of this announcement, various other re-consider the subject, and probapersons, and, among the rest, M. bly led to most of the investigations Dhombres Firmas, have tried this afterwards given to the world in his experiment, and have uniformly fail- “ Inquiry into the Nature and Proed. The success of Morichini's ex- pagation of Heat ;" a work which perinient must, therefore, have, in has deservedly raised the author to all probability, been owing to the the highest rank in science as a pro

[graphic]

and thinker and original discoverer. plates ; and when this number is to the peculiar doctrines develop: very great, as in Deluc's column, the in this ingenious paper, it would calorific effects become evanescent. obviously superfluous to enter at The caloric is evolved, by the in esent; but there is one operation crease of surface; and he has shown ich we beg leave to notice, be. that it may be very intense, even use we consider it inaccurate in when only a single pair of plates is int of fact. Professor Leslie says, used. Upon this principle, he conat, on descending into the deepest structed a battery, which produced ines, no sensible increase of tem. intense ignition without any electrirature is ever observed. Now, cal phenomena. e fact is, that, in the copper mines

Cornwall, it is no uncommon thing HYPOSULPHUROUS ACID AND ITS - find the air hot enough to raise

COMBINATIONS. e thermometer to 100°; and that,

the salt mines of Cheshire, the But one of the most important in: iners work without their clothes, vestigations connected with experiad rather complain of heat than mental chemistry, which this year old. Dr Thomson supposed the produced, is that of Mr Herschell, emperature of the air in the salt on the hyposulphurous acid and its sine at Nantwich to range between compounds. An accident first led 0° and 90°; and it will be seen him to the prosecution of the inquiry, rom a table published by Mr Bald, which has conducted to some intehat the air and the water at the resting results. Having set aside, for ottom of the deep coal mines in a few days, a solution of hydrogu. Durham, Cumberland, Northumber. retted sulphuret of lime, he was and, and Stafford, are from 19o to struck by observing a bitterness in 19° higher than at the surface of the the liquid when almost wholly deearth. Whether we attempt to ex. composed and colourlese, similar to plain this difference by the theory that of magnesia, the presence of of subterranean or central fire, or which he at first suspected, but was by any other hypothesis, the fact it- soon undeceived. The liquid had self is undoubted; and we are rather lost its property of precipitating surprised that a philosopher so re- iron or copper from their solutions markable as well for the accuracy of in the state of sulphurets, though it his ioformation, as for the delicacy still gave a copious precipitate to the of his experiments, and the origina carbonated alkalies, and of course lity of his views, should have fallen retained lime in some state of union into such an error.

with an acid, which could not be

either the sulphuric or sulphurous, GALVANISM.

neither of these forming double

salts with lime. The inquiry now Dr Hare, of America, has publish- became interesting, and was pured a theory of galvanism, differing sued with great success by the inconsiderably from all those hitherto genious chemist we have just namstarted. According to him the gal- ed. vanic fluid is a compound of electri- The hyposulphurous acid not becity and caloric. The electricity is ing capable of a separate existence, increased by the number of pairs of or at least not being procurable in

« AnteriorContinuar »