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Mr. Smeaton, in all human probability, saved London Bridge from falling, and secured it till more effectual methods could be taken.
In 1771 he became, jointly with his friend Mr. Holmes abovementioned, proprietor of the works for supplying Deptford and Green. wich with water ; which, by their united endeavours, they brought to be of general use to those they were made for, and moderately beKeficial to themselves.
• Astronomy was one of Mr. Smeaton's most favorite studies; and be contrived and made several astronomical instruments for himself and friends. After fitting up an observatory at his house at Austhorpe, he devoted much of his time to it when he was there : even in preference to public business, much of which he declined for the purpose of applying his attentions to private study, particularly to The subject of astronomy
• About the year 1785 Mr. Smeaton's health began to decline; and, in consequence, he then took the resolution to avoid new undertakings in business as much as he could, that he might thereby also have the more leisure to publish some accounts of his inventions and works. Of this plan, however, he got no more executed than the account of the Edystone Lighthouse, and some preparations for his intended treatise on mills ; for he could not resist the solicitations of his friends in various works. Mr. Aubert, whom he greatly loved and respected, being chosen chairman of Ramsgate Harbour, prevailed upon him to accept the office of Engineer to that harbour, an office established at that time, as he had been occasionally consulted only, previous thereto; and to their joint efforts the public are chiefly in, debted for the improvements that have been made there, within these few years ; which fully appears in a Report that Mr. Smeaton gave in to the Board of Trustees in 1791, which has been published in various ways.
The powers of his mind were beginning to fail, in the observation of his intimate friends, and afterwards of all. He is known to have said, on talking of his health, that he found he had suffered more from the application he paid to the scheme, design, and proposition of a Canal from Birmingham to Worcester, which was then very much contested in Parliament,) than all the business he had ever met with.
• Strong exertions were necessary ; which, if he had been vigor. ous as he was wont, it would have sat easy upon him ; but alas ! with the deficiency then commenced, it was hard labour indeed, and thereby promoted the ruin fast approaching, and much to be lamented.
• This lamentable tale is told, for the instruction of those engaged, and so circumstanced, at that period of life, when the powers of the mind are borne down by the complication and vastness of an object submitted to it.
• The bill for that work passed by a small majority ; but the difficult and contested part of that work has not as yet been attempted. He was not the proposer, but the supporter of that proposition.
• It had for many years been the practice of Mr. Smeaton to spend part of the year in town, and the remainder in the country, at his 5 ,
house at Austhorpe. On one of these excursions in the country, while walking in his garden, on the 16th of September, 1792, he was struck with the palsy, which put an end to his useful life the 28th of October following, to the great regret of a numerous set of friends and acquaintance.'
This extract is from san account of his life' prefixed to the present work, said to be taken partly from Dr. Hutton's Dictionary: but it differs very little from an account of Mr. Smeaton's life published in 1793 by the late Mr. John Holmes*, an eminent watch-maker in the Strand. Additional particulars are likewise given in the present volume, in a letter from Mrs. Mary Dixon, daughter of Mr. Smeaton, to the committee of civil engineers; from which we learn that
• The arrangement of his time was governed by a method, as in. variable as inviolable: for professional studies were never broken in upon, by any one ; and these, (with the exception of stated astronomical observations,) wholly ingrossed the forenoon. His meals were temperate, and for many years restricted, on account of health, to rigid abstinence, from which he derived great benefit.
• His afternoons were regularly occupied by practical experiments, or some other branch of mechanics. And not more entirely was his mind devoted to his profession in one division of his time, than ab. stracted from it in another. Himself devoted to his family with an affection so lively, a manner at once so cheerful and serene, that it is impossible to say, whether the charm of conversation, the simplicity of instructions, or the gentleness with which they were conveyed, most endeared his home. A home, in which from infancy we cannot recollect to have seen a trace of dissatisfaction or a word of asperity to any one. Yet with all this he was absolute! And it is for casuistry in education, or rule, to explain his authority; it was an authority, as impossible to dispute as to define.'
Two interesting anecdotes are also given.
. Before this, the Princess De Askoff made an apt comment upon this trait of his character; [his disinterested moderation ;] when, after vainly using every persuasion to induce him to accept a carte blanche from the Empress of Russia, (as a recompence for directing the vast projects in that kingdom,) she observed, “ Sir, you are a great man, and I honour you! You may have an equal in abilities, perhaps, but in character you stand single. The English minister, Sir Robert Walpole, was mistaken, and my sovereign has the misfortune to find one Man who has not his price !"
* Early in life he attracted the notice of the late Duke and Duchess of Queensbury, from a strong resemblance to their favourite Gay, the poet. The commencement of this acquaintance was singular, but the continuance of their esteem and partiality lasted through life. Their first meeting was at Ranelagh, where, walking with Mrs. Smeaton,
* In a little tract, not sold, but distributed aniong friends, Soc.
he observed an elderly lady and gentleman fix an evident and marked attention on him. After some turns they at last stopped him, and the Duchess (of eccentric memory) said, “ Sir, I don't know who you are or what you are, but so strongly do you resemble my poor dear Gay, we must be acquainted; you shall go home and sup with us; and if the minds of the two men accord, as do the countenances, you will find two cheerful old folks, who can love you well; and I think, (or you are an hypocrite, you can as well deserve it.”—The invitation was accepted, ard, as long as the Duke and Duchess lived, the friendship was as cordial as uninterrupted ; indeed, their society had so much of the play which genuine wit and goodness know how to combine, it proved to be among the most agreeable relaxations of his life.' .
The volume contains a variety of letters, reports, &c. &c. re. lative to the objects of civil engineering, which cannot fail to be highly interesting to those who are in the same line in which Mr. Smeaton so conspicuously shone. The publication of the works reflects much honour on the liberality and zeal of the society, and particularly on the labours of its respectable committee.
In what we have hitherto said of Mr. Smeaton, he has been considered as merely an engineer ; yet from the accounts of his life, and from the testimony of his friends, (he is yet fresh in their memory,) we are enabled to state that he possessed other qualities than soundness of judgment and variety of invention ; he was endowed with an uncommon simplicity of manners, great modesty, and a rare moderation in pecuniary ambition : to his family he was affectionate ; and he laudably controlled, by the power of his reason, a temper which was constitutionally warm.
The individual recollection of the virtues of the man must however soon perish; and his fame must ultimately rest on the excellence and durability of his performances as an artist : but we are happy in remarking another addition to the list of those (and the list is comparatively but small) who have been both wise and good.
Concerning the utility of works like the present, and of the studies to which they have relation, it is needless to speak. It has been happily reserved for the enterprising artists of the present day to reach the true goal of science, which the sagacious philosophers of former times have pointed out : “ Meta autem scientiarum vera et legitima, non alia est, quam ut dotetur vita bumana novis inventis et copiis."
Art. XI. A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Landeff
in June 1798. By R. Watson, D.D. F. R. S. Bishop of Lan.. daff. 8vo. pp. 34. 15. Faulder. The right reverend author of this charge observes that it may be
considered as a kind of supplement to his late “Address * to the People of Great Britain." Though it is a discourse from his cpiscopal chair, it is political rather than religious; and though addressed to the clergy of his Welsh diocese, it embraces subjects of the utmost importance to the whole kingdom. He urges the peculiar circumstances of the country as sufficient to justify him for inviting his clergy to political discussion; and he boldly avow's the reflections and sentiments of his own mind, without wishing magisterially to dictate to his hearers, or to interfere with any man's freedom of thinking or judging. From the Bishop of Landaff, neither his clergy nor the public could expect, in times like these, à discourse merely on theological questions or church discipline. Indeed, his situation is chiefly political, As an enlightened statesman, who has much at stake, and who perceives the dreadful consequences of anarchy to all that is respectable in society, we are not surprised that he should embrace the opportunity of a visitation, to amplify the sentiments delivered in his late « Address.” . We are clearly of opinion that, if ever there was a contest peculiarly serious and important, it is the present ; that if ever there was an enemy to be dreaded, it is France under her present aspect, and with her present ambitious views;-and that if ever unanimity, courage, and true patriotism were necessary, they are so now : but we are also of opinion that the perils and difficulties of our situation ought to be contemplated through the clear medium of good sense, and not through the mist and fog of an alarmed and affrighted imagination.
It would give us concern to be even suspected of a wish to obstruct the Bishop of Landaff, for whom we cherish the sincerest respect, in the benevolent and patriotic purpose which he has in view in the present supplemental address; yet we cannot help remarking that it would perhaps have been more useful had it been less violent; and had the Bishop's animation been a little more restrained by the decorum and studied precision which should attach to the episcopal character. He exhorts his clergy, in giving those political admonitions and instructions which the times may require, always to remember that the mind of man yields to kindness and courtesy, to gentle language and sound argument ;' yet in the very next sentence
* See M. Rev. for February last, p. 215.
he tells them that they will be guilty of no breach of Christian charity in the use of even harsh language, when they explain to their respective flocks the cruelties which the French have used in every country which they have invaded. Far from being unwilling to have the abominable cruelties and rapacities of the French exposed, we think that the interest of humanity is concerned in unveiling their treachery, ambition, injustice, and barbarity : but there was no occasion for intimating to the Welsh clergy that they may abuse them without bounds, and that harsh language was not inconsistent with Christian charity. Would it not have been better to have said " It is charity to your country and to the world, to state the enormities which the French, under the notion of giving liberty and security, have committed in every country into which they have forced themselves :-—yet the truest history will appear exaggerated, the mildest statement, harsh." This would be regarded as proceeding from a kind desire of informing; the other may tend only to inflame and goad to madness.
Dr. Watson justly observes that the strength and stability of all governments have much dependence on the opinions of those who are governed ;' and proceeding on this point, he classes the opinions of men, with respect to the Constitution of Great Britain, under three heads.
· The ist, is that of those, who think that every thing is so well arranged, that nothing can be altered for the better.--The 2d, is that of those, who are apprehensive, that without a Reform in Par. liament, the Government of the country will be insensibly changed from a limited to an absolute monarchy,—The 3d, is that of those, who esteem the constitution so vitiated by corruption, that it cannot be amended, and that it ought to be changed into a republic.'
The Bishop of Landaff does not entirely adopt any one of these opinions. The first and last he rejects without hesitation; and as to the second, though he allows that some things may be improved in the church and the state, he tells us not only that this is not the time for reformation, but that he has seen no plan of parliamentary reform, produced either by the minister or his opponents, which went, in his judgment, to the root of the malady; and that, unless the reform reaches the root of the evil, the disease will be more tolerable than the remedy. He does not enlarge on the idea of alterations in the church, his mind being wholly engrossed by the state. He seems de: sirous of steering a middle course between that of the advocates for the practical perfection of the present system, and that of those (we believe the number to be very, -very inconsiderable !) who desire a British Republic: but if the wisest and most exa perienced men in the kirgdom are unable to project any plan