Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Then priests had claim'd no more, by right divine,

Surrender of the conscience and the soul:

Strain'd the Levitic tithe of oil and wine, Made gain their God and gloss'd the sacred scroll,

Where no proud Rabbis gorge, but line on line

Records the meek apostle's frugal dole :

Railings had not usurp❜d the gospel word, Nor fines and fetters pleaded for the Lord.

And if the blood of martyrs sent to heaven

A cry, as late when with the orphan's wail

And widow's shriek the towers of Nismes were riv❜n,

And lilied piety disdain'd the tale; Thy Christian zeal had with th' apostate striv'n,

And torn the bond that kept a people pale:

But leagued assassins are thy partners now,

And where the oppressor fattens, there art thou!

And they who made thee such have pass'd away!

Thy soul, belied Napoleon! from that bed, Whereon the hard-prest stone cemented lay,

Smote, and A VOICE was utter'd from the dead! That voice was like a sword: and fallen are they

Who on a foe defenceless stoop'd to tread,

Though there were murmurs from the very stones,

Cries of the English heart and wrath and

groans.

Stand in thy phalanx, Greece! thou injured name!

And let the spirit of Miltiades Strive in thee! be thy constant arm the

The puny few that wield earth's destinies Are mortal, and their power entrench'd in wrong

same

That quail'd the Persian on thy shores and seas:

What though th' Ionian tyraut flouts thy claim, And the false Russ thy helpless thrall decrees, Trampling the cross to kiss the despot's rod, Strike-for thy falchion is the sword of God!

Reels to its base: the people yet may rise Leagued in thy just crusade: but be thou strong:

:

Haply the burden of thy glory lies
On thee alone to thee aloue belong
The peril and the vengeance, and the
praise,

Theme and example of the coming days.

Oh! Time consoler! Time that hold'st on high

The torch of hope, and lighten'st e'en the grave!

Earth's gaunt oppressors flit as phantoms by;

E'en as the leaves that in yon valley

wave

Dim hovering o'er their fall: with patient

eye

Faith stands, and arm omnipotent to

save:

Nor shall the light of knowledge, which

th' All-Just

Has kindled, sink for ever in the dust.

This holiest truth illumed thy dungeon

cell

BOWRING! on whom the foul legitimate,

A craven crown'd, with malice mean and fell

Had fix'd the iron gripe of coward hate :

Friend of the patriot few! they know full well

Spirits like thine the world regenerate: These, these are they who can the body kill, Pow'rless against th' unconquerable will. But thou, my fellow-worshiper and friend!

Hast borne thy country's name and The slaves that sought thy nerved resolve greatness high:

to bend

Cower'd from the scorn of thine untroubled eye; And let them tremble! where thy footsteps wend

Thou bear'st the record of their infamy:

And Europe, breathing with recover'd heart,

May catch thy flame and act the Briton's

part.

Valley of shadows and of fleeting hues !

The lover of his country and his kind Shall haunt thee, 'midst thy upland glades

to muse

On mystic voices in the passing wind:

[blocks in formation]

MEMOIR OF DR. AIKIN.

JOHN AIKIN, M. D., &c., was born January 15, 1747, at Kibworth, in Leicestershire, being the younger child, and only son of J. Aikin, D. D., a Dissenting Minister, and the master of a respectable and well-frequented boarding-school. Till his eleventh year, he received a domestic education; but at that time his father being appointed theological tutor in the Dissenters' Academy at Warrington, in Lancashire, he was admitted to the benefits of the more extended plan of instruction offered by that institution.* In the

Prison on a false charge of having meddled in the Political Affairs of that wretched Country.

The readers of the Monthly Reposi tory cannot have forgotten the interesting "Historical Account of the Warrington Academy," in the VIIIth and IXth Volumes. An extended memoir of the elder Dr. Aikin will be found, VIII. 161-172. The excellent writer of these biographical sketches, in giving the name of the subject of the present memoir, (IX. 202,) thus affectingly anticipates the tribute of filial love on which the eye now rests: his long and varied labours, for the benefit of almost every age and class of readers, in almost every department of

I'd fain be the airy breeze
That wanders about at will;
To sleep 'midst the forest trees,

Or wake the smiles of the rill.

With the pendant flowers to dance

To sit on the linnet's wingIn the glow-worm's light to glanceIn the Echo's caves to sing.

But mine is a prison cell,

If a prison that can be Where the spirits of Freedom dwell, And the heart is gay and free!

OBITUARY.

I laugh with pride and scorn

On the Tyrant's threats, which deem That a soul in freedom born Can be enthrall'd by him!

autumn of his fourteenth year, having made choice of medicine as a profession, he was apprenticed to Maxwell Garthshore, at that time surgeon and apothewho afterwards graduated and settled in cary at Uppingham, in Rutlandshire, but London. The three years that he continued at Uppingham were occupied in professional studies, and, apparently, with more than usual success, since before their conclusion he was entrusted with the care of Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Pultney's business at Leicester, during the absence of that gentleman for a space of

two or three months.

In November 1764, he became a student at the University of Edinburgh, where he spent two winters and the intervening summer, but, having at that time no intention of graduating, he returned to England in May 1766, and, in September of the same year, became a pupil of Mr. C. White, of Manchester, at

literature, will one day claim the willing praise of grateful biography:

"Late be the hour, and distant be the day." ED.

circumstance of Mr. Murphy being engaged in a similar undertaking. It was at Warrington, also, that his most valued friendships were formed or consolidated; with Dr. Priestley, Dr. Enfield, Mr. Wakefield and the Rev. George Walker, their common connexion with the Academy first brought him acquainted, while the easy distance between Warrington and Manchester allowed him occasional opportunities of supporting the friendships previously formed by him with Mr. White, Dr. Percival, Mr. Henry and other residents of that town. His acquaintance at Liverpool included Dr. Currie, Mr. Rathbone, Mr. Roscoe, the Rev. J. Yates, and many other cultivated and estimable characters; and his excellent and confidential friend Dr. Haygarth, one of the few who survive him, at that time resided at Chester, and professional or other incidents now and then brought about a meeting.

The dissolution of the Academy, which took place not long after the death of his father in 1780, and the inadequate encouragement offered to the practice of surgery, as distinct from pharmacy, determined him to take a physician's degree. For this purpose, in the summer of 1784, he proceeded to Leyden and there graduated, his former residence at Edinburgh, during two sessions, being not sufficient to entitle him to an examination for a degree. On his return from the Continent, he removed with his family to Yarmouth, in Norfolk, and early in the succeeding year took up his residence in London. Scarcely, however, had he settled himself in his new situa tion, before he received an invitation from the inhabitants of Yarmouth and its vicinity to resume his professional duties at that place. Although his stay there had little exceeded a year in duration, yet such had been the effect produced by the few opportunities afforded him of exercising his professional skill, combined with his scientific and literary acquirements, and his amiable and cultivated manners, that the invitation was quite unanimous. He accordingly returned to Yarmouth, not more than two months after he had quitted it, well pleased in having been spared the anxious uncertainty of an attempt to establish himself in the Metropolis.

that time rapidly rising to the highest rank as an operating surgeon. With Mr. White he continued for three entire years, advancing in professional knowledge and skill, and in the esteem and confidence of his master, as may be inferred from an "Essay on the Ligature of Arteries," written by him at that time, and published by Mr. White in his work entitled "Cases in Surgery." After leaving Manchester he went to London, and employed the winter of 1769-70 in attending the lectures of Dr. Hunter.

His professional education being now completed, he settled in Chester as a surgeon, but remained in that city little more than a year, being induced to remove in November 1771, to Warrington, where his parents continued to reside, and where his prospects of success were less obstructed by competition. Here he continued till 1784, and here all his children were born, his marriage having taken place the year after his removal.

His first work, entitled "Observations on the External Use of Preparations of Lead," was published at Chester, and this was succeeded, during his residence at Warrington, by three other professional works, viz. "Thoughts on Hospitals," "Biographical Memoirs of Medicine in Great Britain to the time of Harvey," and a very enlarged edition of "Lewis's Materia Medica." His appointment as Lecturer on Chemistry and Physiology at the Academy, induced him to print a "Sketch of the Animal Economy," and "Heads of Chemistry," for the use of his classes, and a translation of Beaume's Manual of Chemistry. · The intervals of his professional la bours were assiduously devoted to elegant Literature and to Natural History, sources to him at all times of exquisite delight, and in after years beguiling the languor of sickness and soothing many an hour of anxiety. The " Essays on Song-writing," "Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose," consisting of the joint contributions of his sister, Mrs. Barbauld, and himself, “An Essay on the Application of Natural History to Poetry," "An Essay on the Plan and Character of Thomson's Seasous," and "The Calendar of Nature," were all published during this period, and evince at the same time the elegance of his taste and the activity of his mind. His correct knowledge also of the Latin language was shewn in his translation of Tacitus's Treatise on the Manners of the Germans, and his Life of Agricola, being specimens of a projected translation of the entire works of that historian, which was afterwards abandoned, to the loss probably of the English scholar, from the

The three principal bodies of men in Yarmouth and its vicinity, at that time, were the Corporation, the Dissenters, and the Clergy of the Established Church. The two former, inhabiting the town, and not upon very cordial terms with each other, were chiefly devoted to commercial pursuits. The clergy, liberally educated,

and capable of appreciating Dr. Aikin's acquirements, formed the most agreeable part of his society, and the principal acquaintances that he here made were among them. For some time circumstances went on favourably; he enjoyed the moderate emoluments of his profession without rivalry; he instituted a literary society; and in his library, and in the bosom of his family, he sought and found those gratifications the dearest to

his heart.

The time for trying the spirits of men was, however, drawing near. The Dissenters having been repulsed in a former endeavour to obtain from the Legislature the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts, mustered all their strength for a new attempt; vainly trusting that their great acknowledged inferiority in numbers, wealth and influence, might be sup plied by strength of argument, and by an appeal to the equity of their countrymen. Dr. Aikin, although not agreeing in religious opinions with any class of Dissent ers, felt strongly the iniquity of excluding from civil duties and offices all those who were not members of the Church of England. Too honest ever to disguise his real sentiments, although sincerely regretting and reprobating the intemperance of each party, he published two pamphlets on the occasion, the one "the Spirit of the Church and of the Constitution compared;" the other, "An Address to the Dissidents of England on their late Defeat."

Immediately on the heels of the Test Act controversy, and while the feelings of the nation were agitated by that event, occurred the French Revolution, which for a time opened an impassable gulf of separation between parties already exasperated. The declaration made by the National Assembly in favour of the perfect equality of civil rights among the members of every political community, naturally conciliated the good-will of those who had been contending without success for this very object; while the merciless and undistinguishing confisca tion of church property, and the atrocious massacre of the priests which soon followed, gave the alarm, as might well be expected, to the English clergy, and very naturally induced them to attribute similar intentions of violence and injustice to their political adversaries. Dr. Aikin had decidedly taken his part first as a Dissenter, and subsequently as a friend to the French Revolution, on its first breaking out; and although he never belonged to any political club, not choosing to submit his own reason and sense of equity to be overborne by the clamour and vio

lence of party credulity and party injustice, was yet made to suffer severely for his political principles. Dr. Girdlestone was encouraged to settle at Yarmouth, and Dr. Aikin escaped from the impending bitterness of a personal controversy, by removing to London in March 1792.

During his residence at Yarmouth, Dr. A, published (besides the pamphlets already mentioned) an excellent system of English geography, called "England Delineated," which has passed through several editions, a volume of Poems, and a "View of the Character and public Services of J. Howard, Esq." No person was, perhaps, so well qualified to estimate the moral worth and public services of this illustrious individual as Dr. Aikin, both on account of his sound and unprejudiced judgment and his personal intimacy with Mr. Howard, in consequence of which, the notes and observations collected by Mr. H., during his various journeys, had always been placed in the hands of Dr. A. for arrangement and correction.

Although the connexions of Dr. Aikin in London, by family and acquaintance, were considerable, yet he never obtained. much professional employment; being little fitted, by temper or habit, to engage in the incessant struggle necessary to success: he, therefore, the more willingly followed the bent of his disposition, and occupied himself chiefly in literary pursuits. The first work which he published, after leaving Yarmouth, was the two first volumes of "Evenings at Home." To these, though not to the succeeding ones, Mrs. Barbauld contributed several pieces: the third volume appeared in 1793, the fourth in 1794, and the two last in 1795. The work became immediately very popular and still continues so; offering a copious and varied store of amusement and instruction to the young, and, by its good sense and sound morality, commanding the approbation of parents. To those acquainted with its author, it possesses an additional interest as being highly characteristic of him, exhibiting not only his various knowledge, but representing his opinions on a variety of topics.

The most important and interesting work, however, of which Dr. A. was the author, is his "Letters from a Father to a Son on various Topics relative to Literature and the Conduct of Life:" the first volume was published in 1793, the second was written in 1798 and 1799. The subjects embraced by these Letters are very numerous; critical, scientific, and discussing some of the most important questions of morals and of general

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »