« AnteriorContinua »
ings of the ancients. In his 12th year, he gained the admiration of all by the extent of his knowledge. His studies embraced natural history, mathematics, the dead and living languages, mythology, antiquities and archæology. After his father's death, he made a journey to Languedoc, where he resigned to his sister his small patrimony, and went himself to Paris. Here he soon became connected with the most distinguished men. After 10 years, he published, from 1773 to 1784, Le Monde Primitif. The learning displayed in this work excited universal admiration. It proves the existence of an original language, and explains the absurdities of mythology. It describes the formation of the first human societies, their laws and customs, and general character. The French academy, to assist him in his useful and expensive undertaking, granted him, twice in succession, the prize belonging to the writer who, in the course of the year, had published the most valuable work. Another production of his is the Muséum. Court de Gébelin was remarkable for his amiable and simple manners. He looked with aversion on the quarrels of writers. Towards the end of his life, he became a believer in animal magnetism, which was at that time much in vogue. He defended Mesmer, the author of the theory, in his Lettre sur le Magnétisme Animal (Paris, 1784, 4to.), shortly after which he died.
COURTESY, or CURTESY, tenure by, is where a man marries a woman seized of an estate of inheritance, and has by her issue born alive, which was capable of inheriting her estate. In this case, on the death of his wife, he holds the lands for his life, as tenant by courtesy.
COURTRAY, OF CORTRIJK (anciently Cortoriacum); a fortified town in the Netherlands, in West Flanders; 22 miles S. W. Ghent, 24 S. Bruges; lon. 3° 16′ E.; lat. 50° 49′ N.; population, 15,800. It is situated on the river Lys, and celebrated for its manufacture of table linen and lace. Near Courtray, in 1302, the Flemings, under the command of the count of Namur and William of Juliers, defeated the French, who suffered so severely, that, after the battle, 4000 gilt spurs were found on the field of battle, whence the engagement was called la bataille des éperons. In 1793, the French gained a victory over the English at this place.
COUSIN, Victor; born in 1791; one of the most learned and popular teachers of philosophy in France, who seems to combine the French tact and taste with German
erudition and zeal. He appears to have received his first instruction in philosophy under the distinguished M. Royer-Collard, who resided at Paris during the reign of Napoleon, ostensibly as a private man, though, in fact, as is now generally understood, a secret agent of the Bourbons. Royer-Collard gave lectures on intellectual and moral philosophy, and first brought into notice, in France, the writers of the modern Scotch school of metaphysics, particularly Reid. Cousin seems not to have been long satisfied with the Edinburgh metaphysicians, and soon devoted himself to the writings of the two nations who have most multifariously investigated intellectual philosophy-the ancient Greeks and modern Germans. He published, for the first time, some works of Proclus, consisting of commentaries on Plato, which were preserved, in manuscript, in the royal library at Paris. After the return of the Bourbons, Royer-Collard was appointed professor of moral philosophy in the university of France, and Cousin was made adjunct professor in the same branch. At a later period, he succeeded his teacher in this chair. But both these gentlemen soon became obnoxious to the royalist party, and were prohibited from lecturing under the administration of Villèle. Cousin published the first volume of his Philosophical Fragments at Paris in 1826, and travelled to Germany in company with the young duke of Montebello, the son of marshal Lannes. Here the different governments were busily engaged in persecuting the liberals, and the Prussian government took the liberty to send police officers into Saxony, to arrest Cousin in Dresden. A large volume was afterwards published by the Prussian government to prove the right which they had to commit this act, which most people would call a breach of the law of nations. The philosopher was detained for some time in Berlin, was at last set free, and returned to Paris, where he was replaced in his chair, after the overthrow of Villèle's administration, at the time when Royer-Collard was chosen president of the chamber of deputies; but, on the overthrow of the liberal ministry, and the accession of the ultra royalists under prince Polignac, a committee was appointed to inquire into the tendency of M. Cousin's lectures. The result of this inquiry has not as yet reached us. Cousin combines with his learning great skill in teaching, of which he is fond, and brilliant eloquence. His opinions are likely to have much influence on the phi
losophy of France, as they rest on different principles from the sensual system which his countrymen had derived from Locke and Condillac. His system, of which an outline may be found in the beginning of his Fragmens, coincides, in some respects, with the German metaphysics. He does not go, however, to the length of Fichte's idealism, which, indeed, is admitted, in its full extent, by few among his own countrymen, Schelling, Hegel, Fries, Jacobi, &c., having succeeded him, and introduced other views. We are unable to give, in this place, an exposé of Cousin's system and labors, for which we refer our readers to the Essai sur l'Histoire de la Philosophie en France, au dix neuvième Siècle, par Ph. Damiron (Paris and Leipsic, 1828). Like the Germans, he supports the theory of innate ideas. Among the works of this philosopher are, Euvres de Platon, traduites par Cousin (vols. 1-5, 8yo., Paris, 1822-8); Fragmens Philosophiques (8vo., 1826); Cours de Philosophie (8vo., Paris, 1828); Nouveaux Fragmens Philosophiques (8vo., Paris, 1828); Cours de Phil. (1829).
COUSTON, Nicholas, born at Lyons, Jan. 9, 1658, died at Paris, in 1733; and Guillaume Couston, born in 1678, died at Paris, in 1746; two brothers, famous as sculptors, from whose labors in France, during the reign of Louis XV, statuary received a noble impulse. The elder was admired for grandeur of ideas ånd fine taste. He drew correctly, gave to his figures noble attitudes, and splendid and pleasing draperies. His Descent from the Cross, in the cathedral in Paris, is particularly valued. The younger brother was a worthy disciple of the elder, whom he succeeded as director of the academy of fine arts. Among his works, the monument of the cardinal Dubois, in the church St. Honoré, is much esteemed. But he was surpassed by his eldest son, also named Guillaume (born at Paris, in 1716, where he died in 1777), on whom Joseph II, during his stay in Paris, conferred, with his own hands, the order of St. Michael. The statues of Venus and Mars, which he made in 1769, for the king of Prussia, larger than life, gained universal admiration. His monument of the dauphin and dauphiness, parents of Louis XVI, in the cathedral of Sens, bears the character of majestic simplicity.
COUTTS, Thomas; a London banker, eminent for his wealth and his connexions. He was twice married; first to Susan Starkie, à female servant of his brother James, by whom he had three
daughters-Susan, married, in 1796, to George Augustus, third earl of Guilford; Frances, married, in 1800, to John, first marquis of Bute; and Sophia, married, in 1793, to sir Francis Burdett, bart. In 1815, his first wife died; and, three months afterwards, he married Harriet Mellon, an actress at the head of the second class of actresses at Drury lane. Mr. Coutts at his death left her all his property, having before given portions to his daughters. Mrs. Coutts subsequently married the duke of St. Alban's, a young man, of an income rather limited for his rank, and less, it is said, than that of any other English duke. So unequal a marriage afforded matter of diversion, for a long time, to the English journals. The duchess is said to be a lady of great benevolence.
COVENANT. (See Bond and Contract.) COVENANT. Soon after the reformation was introduced into Scotland, the Scotch Protestants, being alarmed at the expectation of an invasion from Spain, where the "invincible armada" was preparing, entered into an association (1588) for the defence of their new doctrine, which they called the covenant. After the union of the crowns of Scotland and England (1603), as the Stuarts favored the episcopal churches, whose hierarchical form seemed fitted to promote their despotic views, the dangers which threatened Presbyterianism brought the followers of Calvin, in Scotland, to a closer union; and when, in 1637, the new liturgy, modelled after the English, was ordered to be introduced into their churches, disturbances arose, which ended in the forming of a new covenant the following year. During the contentions between Charles I and the parliament, the Protestants in Scotland entered into a "solemn league and covenant" with the English parliament, by which the independence of the Presbyterian churches was confirmed. But, on the restoration of the Stuarts, the covenant was formally abolished (1661). This, however, only served to confirm the strict Presbyterians in their principles, so that rebellions were frequent among them, till the establishment of perfect freedom of conscience, in 1689.
COVENTRY; a city in England, of great antiquity, the final syllable being evidently the British tre, signifying town. Parliaments were convened here by the ancient monarchs of England, several of whom occasionally resided in the place. In the civil war of the 17th century, Coventry was conspicuous for its activity in the par liamentary interest. Many of its edifices
are highly worthy of attention. St. Michael's church is a beautiful specimen of the pointed style of architecture. There are places of worship for Roman Catholics, Independents, Dissenters, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists and Quakers; also various charitable institutions, 2 hospitals, alms-houses and charity schools. The principal manufactures are those of ribbons and watches. Two representatives to parliament are now elected by the freemen, amounting to nearly 4000. A weekly market is held here on Friday; and there are several fairs, one of which is called the great or show fair, and continues 8 days; on the first day of which is celebrated the grand procession of lady Godiva and her followers. This celebration is founded on the following story:It is said that Leofric, earl of Mercia, who possessed the property of the tolls and services of Coventry, exacted his dues so rigidly, that the inhabitants were greatly aggrieved, and at length Godiva, his pious wife, became their advocate. The earl, wearied by her solicitations, promised to grant her request, if she would ride naked through the town at mid-day. His terms, according to the legend, were accepted, and the countess rode through the town with no covering but her flowing tresses. It is added that she had modestly commanded every person to keep within doors and away from the windows, on pain of death, but that one person could not forbear taking a glance, and lost his life for his curiosity. In commemoration of this occurrence, a procession occasionally takes place at the show fair, in which a female of easy purchase rides in a dress of linen closely fitted to her limbs and colored like them. The curious person who stole the glance is called Peeping Tom, and a wooden image of him is to be seen on a house in the city. The story has little foundation. It is first mentioned by Matthew of Westminster, in 1307, that is, 250 years after the time of Leofric and Godiva. Population, 24,242; 49 miles N. W. Oxford. COVERED WAY (chemin couvert); a space of ground on the edge of the ditch, ranging round the works of a fortification. Its glacis descends, by an easy slope, towards the field. It affords a safe communication round all the works, facilitates sallies and retreats, and the reception of auxiliaries, compels the enemy to begin his operations at a distance, checks his approach and the erection of breach batteries, and its parapet protects the fortifications in its rear.
COVERTURE. (See Husband and Wife.)
CowES; a seaport on the north coast of the Isle of Wight, situated on the river Meden, which divides it into East and West Cowes; 12 miles W. S. W. Portsmouth. West Cowes fort is situated in lon. 1° 19′ W., lat. 50° 46′ N. The harbor is as safe as any in the British channel, and by far the most convenient for vessels bound to Holland and the east countries, and is much frequented by ships to repair damages sustained at sea, and to water, until the weather permits them to proceed on their respective voyages. This place is much resorted to in summer, as a bathing place. East Cowes is a hamlet opposite to West Cowes. COWLEY, Abraham, a distinguished English poet, was born at London in 1618. His father, a grocer, died before his birth, but his mother obtained him admission into Westminster school, as king's scholar. He complained of his own_defective memory, in the acquirement of the rules of grammar, but nevertheless became a correct classical scholar, and so early imbibed a taste for poetry, that, in his 16th or 17th year, while yet at school, he published a collection of verses, which he entitled Poetical Blossoms. These juvenile productions, which are more moral and sententious than imaginative, attracted considerable attention towards the author, who, in 1636, was elected a scholar of Trinity college, Cambridge, where he soon obtained great literary distinction, and published a pastoral comedy, entitled Love's Riddle, and another in Latin, called Naufragium Joculare, which was acted before the university by the members of Trinity college. He continued to reside at Cambridge until 1643, when he was ejected by the puritanical visitors; on which he removed to St. John's college, Oxford, where he published a satirical poem, entitled the Puritan and the Papist. engaged actively in the royal cause, and was honored with the friendship of lord Falkland. When the queen was obliged to quit England, Cowley accompanied her. He was absent from his native country nearly 10 years, during which time he undertook various journeys for the royal family; and it was principally through him that the correspondence was maintained between the king and queen. In 1647 appeared his collection of amatory poems, entitled the Mistress. This was followed, in 1650, by a comedy, called the Guardian, afterwards altered into the Cutter of Coleman Street. In 1656, being no longer employed abroad, he returned to England, where, it is presumed, he still
remained a medium of confidential communication between the king and the royal party. Soon after his arrival, he published an edition of his poems, containing most of the works which appear in the final collection. He was, about this time, committed to custody by the ruling powers, but was released on the celebrated doctor Scarborough becoming bail for him to the amount of £1000. For the purpose, probably, of appearing in an ostensible character, he assumed the profession of physic, and had sufficient interest to procure a mandamus from Oxford, in 1657. He again visited France, and resumed his functions of agent in the royal cause on the death of Cromwell. On the restoration, he returned with the other royalists. By the interest of the duke of Buckingham and the earl of St. Alban's, he obtained the lease of a farm at Chertsey, held under the queen, by which his income was rendered about £300 per annum. It however appears, that neither the mind nor body of Cowley was fitted for his new mode of life. A severe cold and fever, caught from wandering among the damp fields, terminated his life July, 1667, in the 49th year of his age. The private character of Cowley entitled him to general respect; and Charles II (no very conclusive testimony, certainly) observed, that he had not left a "better man behind him in England." It appears, on higher authority, however, that the loyalty of Cowley was free from the servility and gross adulation of the courtiers of the day, and that he possessed a free, independent spirit; was modest, sober and sincere; of gentle affections and moderate wishes. As a poet, he probably stands at the head of the metaphysical class, so ably discussed in doctor Johnson's life of him. He is, by turns, easy, gay, splendid, witty, and never trite and vulgar, although often fantastic, strained, and extravagant. The chief merit of Cowley consists in a kind of sport of the imagination in pursuit of a thought through all its variations and obliquities, and in searching throughout the material world for objects of similitude with intellectual ideas, connected by the most fanciful relations. The Anacreontics of Cowley are among his most agreeable pieces, and few have paraphrased the Teian bard more felicitously. His own original ballad, the List of Mistresses, is deemed still more sprightly and pleasant. His love verses, entitled the Mistress, abound with wit, but are utterly destitute of feeling, being at once ingenious and frigid. His Pindar
ic Odes exhibit a most unbridled license of thought, metre and expression, but contain many very striking combinations and images. His Davideis, which is incomplete, although conveying no strong proof of epic talent, contains some pleasing passages. Of his occasional pieces, his Hymn to Light is decidedly the most elevated and poetical. As' an essayist in prose, Cowley is natural, easy and equable, abounding with thought, but without any of the affectation or straining which disfigures his poetry. Nor is his comedy, the Cutter of Coleman Street, without humor, although of a temporary nature. As a writer of Latin verse, he is highly commended by doctor Johnson. His principal performance in that language, consists of six books on plants, which show remarkable facility in the accommodation of verse to an untoward subject. His imitations of the satires and moral epistles of Horace are also much admired by Warton. Whatever place Cowley may retain in general estimation as a poet, he must always stand high as a wit: few authors afford so many new thoughts, and those so entirely his own.
COWPER, William, a distinguished modern English poet, was born at Berkhamstead, Herts, Nov. 26, 1731. His father, the rector of the parish, was the reverend John Cowper, D. D., son of Spencer Cowper, one of the justices of the common pleas, a younger brother of the lord chancellor Cowper. He received his early education at a school in his native county, whence he was removed to that of Westminster. Here he acquired a competent portion of classical knowledge; but, from the delicacy of his temperament, and the timid shyness of his disposition, he seems to have endured a species of martyrdom from the rudeness and tyranny of his more robust companions, and to have received, indelibly, the impressions that subsequently produced his Tirocinium, in which poem his dislike to the system of public education in England is very strongly stated. On leaving Westminster, he was articled, for three years, to an eminent attorney, during which time he appears to have paid very little attention to his profession; nor did he alter on this point after his entry at the Temple, in order to qualify himself for the honorable and lucrative place of clerk to the house of lords, which post his family interest had secured for him. While he resided in the Temple, he appears to have been rather gay and social in his intercourse, numbering among his companions Lloyd, Churchill, Thorn
ton and Colman, all of whom had been his companions at Westminster school, and the two latter of whom he assisted with some papers in the Connoisseur. His natural disposition, however, remained timid and diffident, and his spirits so constitutionally infirm, that, when the time arrived for his assuming the post to which he had been destined, he was thrown into such unaccountable terror at the idea of making his appearance before the assembled peerage, that he was not only obliged to resign the appointment, but was precipitated, by his agitation of spirits, into a state of great mental disorder. At this period, he was led into a deep consideration of his religious state; and, having imbibed the doctrine of election and reprobation in its most appalling rigor, he was led to a very dismal state of apprehension. We are told, "that the terror of eternal judgment overpowered and actually disordered his faculties; and he remained seven months in a continual expectation of being instantly plunged into eternal misery." In this shocking condition, confinement became necessary, and he was placed in a receptacle for lunatics, kept by the amiable and well-known doctor Cotton of St. Alban's. At length, his mind recovered a degree of serenity, and he retired to Huntingdon, where he formed an acquaintance with the family of the reverend Mr. Unwin, which ripened into the strictest intimacy. In 1773, he was again assailed by religious despondency, and endured a partial alienation of mind for some years, during which affliction he was highly indebted to the affectionate care of Mrs. Unwin. In 1778, he again recovered; in 1780, he was persuaded to translate some of the spiritual songs of the celebrated madame Guion. In the same and the following year, he was also induced to prepare a volume of poems for the press, which was printed in 1782. This volume did not attract any great degree of public attention. The principal topics are, Error, Truth, Expostulation, Hope, Charity, Retirement and Conversation; all of which are treated with originality, but, at the same time, with a portion of religious austerity, which, without some very striking recommendation, was not, at that time, of a nature to acquire popularity. They are in rhymed heroics; the style being rather strong than poetical, although never flat or insipid. A short time before the publication of this volume, Mr. Cowper became acquainted with lady Austen, widow of sir Robert Austen, who subsequently resided, for some time, at the parsonage-house at
Olney. To the influence of this lady, the world is indebted for the exquisitely humorous ballad of John Gilpin, and the author's master-piece, the Task. The latter admirable poem chiefly occupied his 2d volume, which was published in 1785, and rapidly secured universal admiration. The Task unites minute accuracy with great elegance and picturesque beauty; and, after Thomson, Cowper is probably the poet who has added most to the stock of natural imagery. The moral reflections in this poem are also exceedingly impressive, and its delineation of character abounds in geruine nature. His re ligious system too, although discoverable, is less gloomily exhibited in this than in his other productions. This volume also contained his Tirocinium-a piece strongly written, and abounding with striking observations, whatever may be thought of its decision against public education. About the year 1784, he began his version of Homer, which, after many impediments, appeared in July, 1791. This work possesses much exactness, as to sense, and is certainly a more accurate representation of Homer than the version of Pope; but English blank verse cannot sufficiently sustain the less poetical parts of Homer, and the general effect is bald and prosaic. Disappointed at the reception of this laborious work, he meditated a revision of it, as also the superintendence of an edition of Milton, and a new didactic poem, to be entitled the Four Ages; but, although he occasionally wrote a few verses, and revised his Odyssey, amidst his glimmerings of reason, those and all other undertakings finally gave way to a relapse of his malady.
His disorder extended, with little intermission, to the close of life; which, melancholy to relate, ended in a state of absolute despair. In 1794, a pension of £300 per annum was granted him by the crown. In the beginning of 1800, this gifted, but afflicted man of genius, exhibited symptoms of dropsy, which carried him off on the 25th of April following. Since his death, Cowper has, by the care and industry of his friend and biographer, Hayley, become known to the world, as one of the most easy and elegant letterwriters on record.
Cow-Pock. (See Vaccination.)
COWRY-SHELLS; shells used for coin; a kind of small muscles, belonging to the Indian seas, &c.; the cypraa moneta of Linnæus. They have an oval, smooth shell. The largest are an inch and a half in size, and indented on both sides of the opening. They are collected twice a