« AnteriorContinuar »
HISTORY has been considered as “ Philosophy teaching by example;” and Biography, although it affects less dignity, and aspires to less distinction, may fairly lay claim to a similar definition. While the former indulges in sublime speculations intimately connected with the happiness and the misery, the prosperity and the misfortunes of a large portion of the human race, it is the humbler, yet no less useful province of the latter to unveil the motives and the actions, the adventures and the pursuits, the merits and the singularities, the virtues and the vices of a few individuals. The one, therefore, being occupied with the destiny of nations, exhibits lessons for itatesmen ; but it is the peculiar advantage of the other, that it is adapted to persons of all descriptions.
It would be equally vain and superfluous to enumerate the benefits resulting from a faithful and impartial record of the lives of remarkable men. It is evident, however, that something is ftill to be wished for in respect to General Biography, and it would not be difficult to mention the names of several eminent persons, even of our own country, of whose career scarcely a trace is to be found; while, of many others, curiosity is forced to be satisfied with what can be gleaned from very scanty materials.
In fine, a proper vehicle has hitherto been wanting : for the most obvious and important occurrences, if not communicated while yet recent, foon become either obliterated by time, or obscured by tradition, and leave only a few mutilated facts, or unconnected fragments, for the information of the future narrator, and the regret of posterity. A 2
The French and Germans, fully aware of this, and at the same time conscious of the many advantages resulting from Contemporary Biography, or memoirs written while intelligence may be easily collected, evidence examined, and papers obtained, have of late published Annual Obituaries, containing all the particulars that can be procured relative to such remarkable characters as may have died within the preceding year. It would be ungenerous to omit, that it is upon this scheme the present volume is prepared for the press; but it may be here necessary, on the other hand, to remark, that the plan has been extended, so as to include NegleEted Biography, under the general name of NECROLOGY, à Greek compound, which has been already adopted into more than one language on the continent, and it is hoped will not be considered as improperly engrafted on our own.
It is infinitely more easy to describe the importance of, than to display the talents necessary for, an undertaking, calculated, like the present, to give a fuller scope to the range of curiosity and instruction. Of all the various requisites demanded for conducting such a work, the Editor can boast only of industry and good fortune. The first has enabled him to collect many curious particulars which might have otherwise remained for ever in oblivion; and in consequence of the second, he has had an opportunity, partly from his own knowledge of individuals, and partly in consequence of the liberal assistance of others *, to detail a variety of interesting facts ; nor has recourse to books
* The following articles have been contributed by various correspondents, viz. Mr. Bakewell,
The Count de Hertzberg,
Mr. Mason, and
Mrs. Woolstonecraft. Some important communications have been deferred until another opportunity, and among these, it would be uncandid not to particularite a variety of interesting papers by a nobleman (the earl of Buchan), who has on many occasions evinced his attachment to the cause of literature.
been wanting, when they could afford information, or supply deficiencies of any kind.
Many important papers, never before submitted to public inspection, are interspersed with the memoirs; and it may not be improper to remark, that either in the text, or at the bottom of the page, of several of the foreign articles, will be found the terms of art, and scientific expressions, exactly transcribed from the language in which they were first written. The advantages resulting from this mode are manifest, as it renders a reference to the original unnecessary, and enables the skilful reader to detect any error that may have occurred in the translation:
A copious Index will be found at the end, and a Chronological and Alphabetical Table at the beginning of the Volume. The first and last are calculated to afford facility of reference, and the second is intended to supply some necessary dates which were not at first ascertained with sufficient exactness.
As this Work is intended to be continued annually, the Editor earnestly solicits the assistance of all such as may be desirous to co-operate in so useful and important an undertaking.
Died. THEODORE STEPHEN, King of Cor.
fica, Baron of Stein, Newhoff, &c. &c. &c. ....
Dec. 11, 1756. REINIIX DE KLERK, Governor.
General of the Dutch East India
Company's Pofleflions in Afia.....29 Nov, 22. 1710. Sepi. S, 1780. Sir WILLIAM JAMES, Bart. Come modore of a Squadron of Veffels belonging to the English East India Company, Chairman of the Court of Directors, &c. ...,
Dec. 16. 1783
Grand Cross of the Military Order
1716. July 14, 1990 JEAN SYLVAIN BAILLY, Prefident
of the States-general, firft Mayor of Paris, Member of the three French Academies, Author of the “ Essay on the Theory of the Satellites of Jupiter," of the “ History of In. dian and Oriental Aftronomy," &c. &c. ........
79 Sept. 15, 1736.
Nov. 9, 17936
RITAT, Marquis de Condorcet,
March 28, 1794
Author of a New Theory respecting Air, &c...
105 Aug. 26, 1743. May 8, 1794. GODFRED - AUGUSTUS BURGER,
the German Poet........ 118 Jan, 1, 1748,0.9. June 11, 1794. JAMES Bruce, Esq. the celebrated Traveller 127 ....... 1733.
1794. DANIEL DANCER, commonly called
« The Mifer of Harrow Weal Common.”.
1716, Sept. 4. 1794. Louis Dupuy, a member of the
Academy of Inscriptions ........163 Nov. 23, 1709. April 12, 1795 JOHN - William - Lewis Mell
MANN, late Rector of the Gym. nafium, and Professor of the