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being ancient and respectable, and having recruited their means by one of those marriages with an heiress which city and country so often arrange, to their mutual profit and satisfaction. He went early to a public school, where he manifested kindness and good-nature, together with an extreme aversion to all sorts of study, - the latter being an encouraging promise in which those schools are apt to abound. As the prevailing idea is, that rich youths have no more occasion to study than the prosperous have need to pray, he was not much afflicted with discipline and instruction which he did not welcome. But, in his fourteenth year, his own impulse did for him what education would not have effected to the end of time; for, walking one evening among flowers, the question started up in his mind, why he should be drilled in dead languages which his soul abhorred, while the book of nature with its expressive language and beautiful illustrations lay unread, beneath his feet. At least, such was the substance of his meditations; for we would not give the impression, that he, whose life was plain English prose, ever stated the subject to himself in any poetical form. He reduced this thought to action by employing women to gather plants, and paying druggists, at the rate of sixpence a fact, for all the information which they afforded him. He thus formed a collection of plants, and at the same time gathered insects for his cabinet; while Greek and Latin could not boast that he ever paid them any very flattering regard. There is some reason, too, to fear that he never cultivated the other studies which must be learned in youth, if ever; it is said that he never was in the good graces of the Muse of spelling, and that the mutual indifference lasted till his dying day.
The same taste continued when he went to Oxford, in his eighteenth year; but he found that the chair of botany was held by one of those eminently useful professors whose duty it is to give no lectures. Happily this learned doctor was not jealous of his prerogative, and, at Banks's request, graciously consented that a lecturer should be employed, and paid by those whom he instructed. As Oxford could not supply a competent person, one was imported from Cambridge, and he proved well qualified to inspire enthusiasm for the science which he taught. As his pupils did not regard prosody as the chief end of man, they were not greatly respected in the University. "Banks knows nothing of
Greek," was the sentence of his condemnation; but there were occasions which showed that a knowledge of things might be useful, even though it did not compare in importance with the knowledge of words; so that he and others like him gained some consideration, scholars though they might not be.
When Sir Joseph Banks became of age, he was put in possession of a large estate, his father having died three years before. He had no ambition to enter parliament, neither was he attracted by fashionable circles; but as soon as the opportunity came, he took a voyage to Newfoundland, returning by the way of Lisbon, which served as a preparation for the enterprises which were soon to be undertaken on a more extended scale. The Earl of Bute, whom it is so customary to abuse that one can hardly think of any good thing coming out of the Nazareth of his administration, was desirous, for the sake of knowledge, not of conquest, to gain information respecting the islands in the Pacific, then just discovered. There was also an astronomical object to be gained by observing the transit of Venus, Dr. Halley having shown what an exact measure of the sun's parallax that phenomenon would afford. This had been attempted in 1761, when the observers were disappointed by the unfavorable state of the weather; but a second transit was to take place in 1769, and the various governments of Europe were anxious to secure the honor of aiding the cause of science; -well for them, if they could always content themselves with so harmless and useful an ambition !
This was precisely the enterprise in which Banks was desirous to engage; not so much with a view to astronomy, as for the opportunity to study natural history in new regions which such an expedition would afford. He offered his services, which were accepted, and made his preparations on a liberal and extensive scale, engaging Dr. Solander, a favorite pupil of Linnæus, to accompany him, together with a number of draughtsmen. The charge of the expedition was given to Captain Cook, a self-made man, who had shown great capacity on other occasions, having risen by his own merit from the condition of apprentice in a collier to the command of a ship of war. The Endeavour sailed in 1768, and the first land they touched at was Terra del Fuego, where they came near closing their labors in a wintry grave. In an attempt to ascend the mountains, three of their at
tendants perished from the severity of the cold; and Dr. Solander, though accustomed to severe exposure in high northern latitudes, and so well aware of the danger of sleeping that he was perpetually warning his companions, insisted on being suffered to lie down, and was rescued only by the strength and determination of his younger friend. Sir Joseph Banks often described this desire to sleep as irresistible; it seemed the greatest suffering to keep awake and active, and a luxury to lie down, though they were well aware that they should never rise on earth again. After they reached the Sandwich Islands, he soon established a great influence over the islanders by his commanding presence, his kindness of manner, and his resolute firmness of purpose. When the quadrant was stolen, he alone was able to recover it, though the loss would have defeated the whole object of the expedition. During the voyage in quest of the Southern continent, which had long been supposed to exist as a balance to the northern polar regions, they were exposed to great danger, both from shipwreck and disease; but when they at last returned in safety, their adventures excited the highest interest, and the contributions to science, which Banks had been the means of securing, gained him, from all who could estimate such services, unbounded gratitude and applause.
After a similar expedition to Iceland, Sir Joseph Banks established himself in London, and when Sir John Pringle resigned, was elected President of the Royal Society. But he soon found that the South Sea islanders were less savage than men of science once arrayed in parties; for when he attempted to restrict the freedom with which the secretaries admitted their own friends and favorites, with a generous disregard to all manner of qualifications, those potentates vigorously resisted the attempt to deprive them of their powers and glories. Dr. Horsley, a divine well known for his intolerance, who appears to have considered himself a highpriest in the temple of science, chose to lead the opposition, under the pretext of zeal in favor of mathematical science, which it was very liberal in him to uphold upon so slight an acquaintance as he had with it, according to Lord Brougham. Dr. Hutton, an eminent mathematician, then residing at Woolwich, was the secretary for foreign correspondence); and as the revenue of the office was but twenty pounds, he spent more than his salary in hiring a place in London for the
performance of his duties. As some complaint had been made of his conduct, and it seemed proper that such an officer should reside in London, a law to that effect was passed which induced him to resign. Some of his friends resented what they thought injurious treatment; and there followed a war in the camp, for the ostensible purpose of avenging Dr. Hutton's wrongs, but really to place Dr. Horsley in the chair, which he was equally unfit and ambitious to fill. The contest was long and bitter; but the victory inclined to the side of Sir Joseph Banks, and his Lordship considers it matter of sufficient congratulation, that it settled the pretensions of the restless divine, and secured the office, with its influence, in the hands of one who had held it with integrity and honor, showing the greatest kindness to all men of science, and lending his money and credit without reserve, whenever any private service could be done, or any public object answered.
When the tempest had blown over, carrying with it the cloud-compeller, Dr. Horsley, who had been the means of raising it, Sir Joseph Banks kept peaceful possession of his throne, with much enjoyment to himself and equal benefit to the scientific world. He wrote and published nothing of any importance, conscious that his strength did not lie in that direction. But he had influence with George the Third, though always independent in his political action,-influence which he exerted in favor of the great objects which he had at heart. During the war at the close of the last century, there were many opportunities to render service to scientific men. It was owing to him that the English government issued orders in favor of the unfortunate La Perouse; when D'Entrecasteaux was sent in search of him, and Billardière's collections were captured and brought to England, he had them restored to the owner without opening, that no one might use the information which they contained. On ten several occasions, he procured the restoration of collections addressed to the Jardin des Plantes, which had fallen into possession of the English cruisers. He gave most liberal aid and sympathy to foreigners outcast from their home; and when the vile and childish tyranny of Napoleon detained so many English travellers in France, he procured an order for the release of men of science, the benefit of which he and his colleagues in Paris extended to many who had never known
any thing of the charm and blessing of science, except on that occasion. It is well known that our countryman Ledyard, when in trouble, drew a bill on Sir Joseph, which was readily honored. But it is needless to give examples of that open-hearted public spirit which no one ever denied. He pursued the same honorable course to the end of his long life, which was terminated by the gout, at the age of seventyeight years. His history was uneventful, but as no satisfactory attempt to write it had ever been made, Lord Brougham was right in undertaking it, and assigning to him the rank and the applause which he deserves.
There is not much in Sir Joseph Banks to suggest the idea of D'Alembert, who comes next in succession; nor did their provinces of scientific action lie, as Mrs. Malaprop says, contagious to each other. But Lord Brougham appears to have taken the latter as an example of the peace of mind and repose of the passions which a life devoted to the severer sciences tends, more than any other, to secure. Adam Smith has pointed out their happy exemption from those disturbing forces which perpetually affect the serenity of artists and literary men, and, indeed, of all who are dependent on the public taste either for subsistence or applause. The difficulties which the mathematician contends with are of a kind which it is inspiring to encounter, and glorious to overcome; he stands in calm reliance on his own powers; no doubt or self-distrust oppresses him; fully persuaded that his results are established by arguments that cannot be shaken, he knows that no light suggestion, no wanton ridicule, and not even the most bitter resistance, can prevent their making their way, and he submits them with comparative unconcern to the judgment of mankind. His pursuits also furnish a subject of never-failing interest, which always engages his thoughts, but is never painfully exciting; and as vacancy of mind occasions much of the restless irritability of life, the mathematician is thus spared the vexation of spirit which troubles other men. In days of heaviness and sorrow, he can more readily turn from his grief in this peaceful direction than in any other; so that whoever gives himself in good faith to these studies has certainly chosen a good part, so far as happiness is concerned. But there is no Arcadia in this lower world; men of science, like the men of Loo Choo, will be found, if examined nearly, to have their