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time the students were allowed to make remarks upon each other's compositions, after which the Professor delivered his own sentiments, both with regard to the discourses, and the criticisms to which they had been subjected. Upon these occasions, Leyden did not fail to distinguish himself, and soon gained the reputation of a very able critic.
• Before this, he had taken much pains to accustom himself to speak in public extempore, an accomplishment the more valuable to the clergy of Scotland, because their duty often calls them to assist at the meetings of the presbyteries and provincial synods, or of the general assembly of the church. With this view, he had, at an early period of his academic studies, joined a society which met once a-week in one of the rooms of the college, for improvement in literary composition and public speaking. The name by which it was distinguished was the Literary Society, and in the small number of its members it had the honour of comprehending the most eminent of his contemporary students. In it he became acquainted with Mr. Brougham, and the late much lamented Mr. Horner, and formed a friendship of peculiar intimacy with Mr. William Erskine, now of Bombay, and Dr. Thomas Brown, now Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. Amongst the other distinguished members may be enumerated James Reddie, Esq. advocate; the Rev. Robert Lundie, minister of Kelso; the Rev. William Gillespie, minister of Kells; and the Rev. Dr. Logan, minister of Chirnside, a friend whom Leyden highly valued.
• Leyden's first attempts to speak in the Society were very unsuccessful, and more than once procured him the mortification of being laughed at by his associates. But his perseverance was not to be overcome. The resolute and manly spirit which supported him, on this and every similar occasion, may be understood from what he said to one of his friends, a person of great abilities and learning, who belonged to the same Society, but who, from an excess of modesty, had never attempted to make a speech. what will happen,” said Leyden to him one day, after having in vain exhorted him to overcome his timidity, - • I shall, through constant practice, at last be able to harangue, whilst you, through dread of the ridicule of a few boys, will let slip the opportunity of learning this art, and will continue the same diffident man through life.” His words were verified, as far at least as regarded himself, for by the time when he entered upon his theological studies, he was able to speak in public with ease and fluency.'
From that division of the Memoirs which relates to Leyden's residence in India, we could extract many interesting passages : but we must confine ourselves to one or two. It is impossible not to lament that a scholar, who had displayed so much theological talent *, should have been forced, by the.want of patronage in his own country, to go out to India as an assist
" I see
* See an extract from a sermon by Leyden, pp. 19-21. of the Memoirs.
ant surgeon. He, however, subsequently to this appointment, obtained the degree of M. D. from the University of St. Andrew's. The versatility of his genius is strongly shewn throughout these transactions. When, to the various knowlege here displayed in two such different walks of life, we add that, besides his poetical exercises, and his translations from the Persian, Arabic, and Sanscrit, he has left among his MSS. many valuable philological tracts, and several grammars completed, particularly one of the Malay language and of the Pracrit,' we shall surely not be thought to have overrated the merits of this distinguished Scotchman in the former part of the present article; and throughout we must consider his wretched state of health in India, with the many noble projects which he entertained even when conscious of his probable approach to the grave.
Sir John Malcolm has furnished some very interesting anecdotes for the present Memoirs: but they are too am be quoted entire, and we are unwilling to mutilate them. We extract, therefore, a brief character of Leyden by Lord Minto:
« « No man, whatever his condition might be, ever possessed a mind so entirely exempt from every sordid passion, so negligent of fortune, and all its grovelling pursuits - in a word, so entirely disinterested - nor ever owned a spirit more firmly and nobly independent. I speak of these things with some knowledge, and wish to record a competent testimony to the fact, that, within my experience, Dr. Leyden never, in any instance, solicited an object of personal interest, nor, as I believe, ever interrupted his higher pursuits, to waste a moment's thought on these minor cares. Whatever trust or advancement may at some periods have improved his personal situation, have been, without exception, tendered, and in a manner thrust upon his acceptance, unsolicited, uncontemplated, and unexpected. To this exemption from cupidity was allied every generous virtue worthy of those smiles of fortune, which he disdained to court; and amongst many estimable features of his character, an ardent love of justice, and a vehement abhorrence of oppression, were not less prominent than the other high qualities I have already described.” )
With one striking anecdote, we must conclude our tribute to the memory of this gifted but ill fated individual :
· The writer cannot here resist his desire to relate an anecdote of Leyden's father, who, though in a humble walk of life, is ennobled by the possession of an intelligent mind, and has all that just pride which characterizes the industrious and virtuous class of Scottish peasantry, to which he belongs. Two years ago, when Sir John Malcolm visited the seat of Lord Minto, in Roxburghshire, he requested that John Leyden, who was employed in the
vicinity, vicinity, might be sent for, as he wished to speak with him. He came after the labour of the day was finished, and though his feelings were much agitated, he appeared rejoiced to see one, who he knew had cherished so sincere a regard for his son. In the course of the conversation which took place on this occasion, Sir J. Malcolm, after mentioning his regret at the unavoidable delays which had occurred in realizing the little property that had been left, said he was authorized by Mr. Heber (to whom all Leyden's English manuscripts had been bequeathed) to say, that such as were likely to produce a profit should be published as soon as possible, for the benefit of the family. “Sir,” said the old man with animation, and with tears in his eyes, « God blessed me with a son who, had he been spared, would have been an honour to his country!-- as it is, I beg of Mr. Heber, in any publication he may intend, to think more of his memory than my wants. The money you speak of would be a great comfort to me in my old
age, but thanks to the Almighty, I have good health, and can still earn my livelihood ; and I pray therefore of you and Mr. Heber to publish nothing that is not for my son's good fame."
This natural and elevated sentiment speaks volumes on the benefits which have resulted, and must continue to result, from the general diffusion of education. Had the father of Leyden been uninstructed, it is impossible, in the different spheres into which fortune cast them, that the ties of mutual regard, of parental pride, and of filial love, could have been so supported. Ignorance might have admired and wondered, but it could neither have appreciated nor delighted in those talents which were every moment carrying the object of its regard to a greater distance; and knowledge could hardly have been restrained by the impulses of natural affection, or the consciousness of duty, from an occasional feeling of shame at a low and vulgar connection.'
We have added to this inspiring incident the sensible and useful observations of the biographer, in whose sentiments we need not say that we entirely concur. On the whole, we strongly recommend this volume to the perusal of every class of readers.
ART. VIII. On the Origin and Vicissitudes of Literature, Science,
and Art, and their Influence on the present State of Society. A Discourse, delivered on the opening of the Liverpool Royal Institution, 25th Nov. 1817. By William Roscoe, Esq. 4to. pp. 79. Sewed. Cadell and Davies. IM N the seats of commercial activity, it is continually happen
ing that men rise to eminent opulence whose juvenile education had been somewhat neglected, and whose intellectual acquirements fall short of those which the frequenters of civilized company are expected to display. Among young persons, also, to whom a solicitous domestic education has been given, it frequently occurs to wish for that more complete instruction on some favourite object of pursuit, which is regularly accessible only at academical institutions. To both these classes of literary aspirants, lectures are usually welcome. They form the most desirable supplement to the imperfect studies of early life. Without wounding the vanity of the listener by any troublesome examination, or comparative exhibition, the lecturer communicates, in an easy and in a complete form, both the elementary rudiments and the finished superstructure of his science: he supplies lessons to the beginner, and provides the more advanced inquirer with references to those standard works which contain the most forward discoveries of learning. An apparatus of maps, of graphic or sculptured illustrations, of machinery, of experimental exhibition, and of visible and tangible specimens of the objects under contemplation, is also commonly introduced, which serves to assist both the understanding and the memory of the pupil; and thus lectures, whatever be their topic, supply a sort of royal road to knowlege, along which difficulty is smoothed and progress facilitated. The principal cities, both of Great Britain and of the Continent, have of late years been eager to patronize this method of tuition; and liberal subscriptions of the people have in various places sufficed, without the aid of government, to found encyclopedic colleges, in which all the various pursuits of literature are alternately furnished with professors. Many of these teachers are in some degree itinerant, and at different seasons carry their magazines of information to new, places; - and thus å retail distribution is effected of the more useful portions of that hoard of truth, which was formerly confined to the wholesale repositories of an university. Knowlege, moreover, does not lose in intensity what it gains in diffusion by this process ; for the increased number of sciolists and critics, formed in successive audiences, never fails to stimulate a corresponding increase of those master-minds that devote themselves exclusively to a peculiar division of intellectual labour, and carry to the utmost pitch the study of a specific subject.
The inhabitants of Liverpool, in every thing distinguished for a bold and ardent activity, have caught this spirit of the age; and under the wise guidance of their accomplished and liberal townsman, the historian of the Medici, they are preparing, like the commercial republics of Italy, to attach chapels of the Muses to their temples of Mercury and Plutus. The admirable discourse before us was pronounced by Mr. Roscoe at the inaugural meeting held by the proprietors of F 3
the Liverpool Royal Institution ;, which has for its object to patronize a system of instruction by leetures on the principal branches of human inquiry. His oration begins by alluding to the recent loss of the lamented Princess Charlotte, and proceeds to inquire concerning the causes to which the rise and progress of letters, of science, and of art, are chiefly to be attributed. A supposed influence of climate is discussed, and rejected as of indecisive effect. The doctrine suggested by Hume, that culture is a stage of national growth, and that it blossoms and fades once in every national life, is next considered. Whether liberty be essential to improvement forms a third hypothesis; and it is admitted that literature is favoured by popular freedom, and still more by that intellectual freedom which tolerates every boldness of discussion. Stability of public institution is pointed out as conducive to the growth of art and learning; and commerce is especially argued to be the most powerful, comprehensive, and efficacious civilizer of nations. We extract a passage:
• Of the connection that has, from the earliest ages, subsisted between commerce and intellectual improvement, the records of the human race bear constant evidence. The perfection and happiness of our nature arise in a great degree from the exercise of our relative and social feelings; and the wider these are extended the more excellent and accomplished will be the character that will be formed. The first step to commercial intercourse is rude and selfish, and consists of little more than an interchange, or barter, of articles necessary to the accommodation of the parties; but as this intercourse is extended, mutual confidence takes place; habits of acquaintance, and even of esteem and friendship, are formed; till it may perhaps, without exaggeration, be asserted, that of all the bonds by which society is at this day united, those of mercantile connection are the most numerous and the most extensive. The direct consequence of this, is not only an increase of wealth to those countries where commerce is carried on to its proper extent, but an improvement in the intellectual character and a superior degree of civilization in those by whom its operations are conducted. Accordingly we find, that in every nation where commerce has been cultivated upon great and enlightened principles, a considerable proficiency has always been made in liberal studies and pursuits. Without recurring to the splendid examples of antiquity, it may be sufficient to advert to the effect produced by the free states in Italy, and the Hanse towns in Germany, in improving the character of the age. Under the influence of commerce the barren islands of Venice, and the una healthy swamps of Holland, became not only the seats of opulence and splendor, but the abodes of literature, of science, and the fine arts ; and vied with each other not less in the number and celebrity of eminent men and distinguished scholars, than in the extent of their mercantile concerns. Nor is it possible for us to