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variolous inoculation. It is, however, its parts, conducing uniformly to one yet to be hoped, that the above sen main end, namely, the universal atence, so recently passed by the Court doption of the practice introduced by of King's Bench, which the Board of the immortal Jenner. It entertains vaccine establishment has taken every the confident expectation that so great method of promulgating, may pro a blessing will be no longer underduce considerable benefit. But if in valued, and that the labours of the oculation of small pox be permitted, good and powerful will not be ren. . the promiscuous intercourse of the dered impotent by the ignorant and infected with society at large ought the interested. It trusts that the to be as speedily as possible prevent- wisdom of parliament will not be set ed, and a receptacle * established, to at nought by the most unfeeling and which the diseased should be imme. worthless of the medical profession, diately removed; for the narrow al and a disease even more destructive leys and confined courts in which than the plague allowed to be fustered most of the poor reside, must tend to by them with impunity, and conconcentrate contagion, to render it tinually propagated among the unsusextremely virulent, and eventually to pecting multitude of the united kingdisseminate this disease under its most dom. malignant form.
The whole of the expences inciThe Board selected Sophia Van- dent to this establishment, for the tandillo as a proper example, on ac year 1814, were defrayed by the vote count of the extent of the mischief of parliament which passed last year; occasioned by her misconduct ; and but the Board regrets that, in consethat this prosecution, followed by a quence of the recent prosecutions and lenient punishment, may prevent any convictions of the persons mentioned further wilful exposure of inoculated in this report, and the measures adoptpersons, is its fervent wish.
It at ed for the more effectual extension the same time prosecuted Mr Burnet, of the practice of vaccination throughwho inoculated the child of Sophia out the empire, an addition of £.500 Vantandillo, and who has long cir- to the annual grant will be necesculated the most mischievous and sary. offensive hand bills, offering to inocu
J. Latham, late persons with small pox gratuitously, and stigmatizing vaccination as President of the Royal College of productive of the most loathsome dis
William Blizard, This practitioner, having suffered judgment to go by default, has been Master of the Royal College of Sure recently sentenced by the Court of
geons. King's Bench to six months imprisonment.
Henry Ainslie, M. D. The Board has a duty of the high
James Haworth, M. D. est nature to perform ; and that it is
Thomas Hume, M. D. resolved to discharge faithfully and
Henry J. Cholmeley, M. D. energetically.
Censors of the Royal College of PhyThe Board has endeavoured to form
sicians. a system, regular and consistent in all
William Norris, • The small pox hospital has been lately purchased for the use of the sick poor aflict. Governors of the Royal College of ed with fevers.
Surgeons. Aug. 1815.
to direct his views to the church; but I. Biographical Account of the late John notwithstanding the deep interest Robson, L. L.D., F. R.Ş.Edin., profession, his own views were turned
which he felt in the objects of that and Professor of Natural Philoso- into a different path. He felt anxious phy in the University of Edin- for some active theatre, in which he burgh. By JOHN PLAYFAIR, F. R. S. L. and E. (Published in might exercise his genius for the phythe Transactions of the Royal So- sical and inathematical sciences; and, ciety of Edinburgh.
Vol. vii. says his biographer, “ the influence of Part II.
those indefinite and untried objects,
which act so powerfully on the imaAT the time of the lamented death gination of youth, directed his atten
of Mr Robison, we attempted tion towards London.” A brilliant to sati fy the curiosity of our readers prospect at first opened, of going to by a short sketch of his life ; but we sea with the Duke of York as his gladly embrace the opportunity of instructor in nautical science. But calling their attention to a finished the scheme on which this depended narrative by a hand so masterly, and being abandoned, he was engaged to every way so well qualified to do jus- act in that capacity with the son of tice to so important a subject. We Admiral Knowles. Here he had an feel ourselves the more called upon opportunity of combining the practito analyse it copiously, as the learned cal knowledge of seamanship, with work in which it is embodied cannot, his scientific attainments. He wa from its nature, be very widely circu soon fortunate in having an opportulated among general readers.
nity of witnessing the capture of QueJohn Robison was born at Boghall, bec, one of the most brilliant exploits in the parish of Baldernock, near in our naval and military annais.Glasgow, in the year 1739. His fa- The following anecdote is too interther, who had made a considerable esting to be omitted. fortune in trade, gave him a liberal education, and sent him to study in • He happened to be on duty in the the University of Glasgow, at a time boat in which General Wolfe went when Smith, Moore, and Simson, to visit some of his posts, the night taught with such success their re. before the battle, which was expected spective branches of education. Mr to be decisive of the fate of the can. Robison always represented himself paign. The evening was fine, and not to have made the proficiency which the scene, considering the work they might have been expected under such were engaged in, and the morning masters; but his biographer appre- to which they were looking forward, hends that he did not here do himself sufficiently impressive. As they rowjustice, as he was always spoken of ed along, the General, with much with respect by those who had stu- feeling, repeated nearly the whole of died along with him. He added, Gray's Elegy, (which had appeared however, that he never found himself not long before, and was yet but little much interested in the pure mathe. known,) to an officer who sat with matics, till he discovered their appli. him in the stern of the boat ; adding, cation to natural philosophy. By the as he concluded, that “ he would preage of nineteen, his progress was fer being the author of that poem to considered so great, that Dr Smith the glory of beating the French 10recommended him as a temporary as morrow." sistant to teach the class of natural philosophy. His parents were anxious By Admiral Knowles Mr Robison
was recommended to Lord Anson as It was probably very fortunate, a proper person to take charge of however, for Mr Robison, that he was Harrison's time keeper on a voyage disappointed in this object of his amof trial to the West Indies. The bition, which was merely to be purser service was performed in the most in a ship of war, a situation both inacorrect manner, and afforded decided dequate and unsuitable to him. Disproof of the utility of the instrument. gusted with the sea, he now turned But circumstances were not favourable his views towards the church, and refor Mr Robison reaping the reward paired to Glasgow to prosecute his to which he was thus entitled. Lord studies. His original pursuits, howAnson was ill, Admiral Knowles in ever, still engrossed him, and the opposition, and the Lords of the Ad- state of things was such as to make miralty and Members of the Board them more than ever the objects of of Longitude paid no attention to his attention. Dr Black was just unthe claim of an unprotected young folding those chemical discoveries, man. On this conduct Mr Playfair which have changed the aspect of passes the following temperate and that science; and Mr Watt was condignified censure.
structing his improved steam engine.
Such society gave new animation to The picture which his letters to Mr Robison's zeal; and he devoted his father present, at this time, is that himself to study with an intensity of of a mind suffering severely from un- application, which he had never before worthy treatment, where it was least experienced. On the removal of Dr suspected. Men in office do not re- Black to Edinburgh, he succeeded flect, while they are busy about the him as professor of chemistry. concerns of nations, how much evil The friendship of Admiral Knowles may be done by their neglect to do towards Mr Robison had been uninjustice to an individual. "They may terrupted, and now manifested itself be extinguishing the fire of genius, anew. Having been invited by the thrusting down merit below the level Empress of Russia to assist in placing it should rise to, or prematurely sur- her navy on an improved footing, he rounding the mind of a young man invited Mr Robison to accompany with a fence of suspicion and distrust, and co-operate with him. The situaworse than the evils which it proposes tion being congenial to his favourite to avert. Like other kinds of injus. pursuits, and accompanied with handtice, this may, however, meet with some prospects of emolument, he its punishment; though the victim readily accepted it. The task was of unmerited neglect may remain for found more difficult than bad at first ever obscure, and his sufferings for been supposed; but Mr Robison's ever unknown, he may also emerge talents were highly esteemed at St from obscurity, and the treatment he Petersburgh, and he was solicited to bas met with may meet the eye of the accept the situation of mathematical public. It is probable that the mem- professor in a great naval institution ber of these Boards most conspicuous at Cronstadt. His lectures here were for rank or for science, would not greatly admired; as few individuals have been above some feeling of re ever combined such depth of science gret, if he had learnt that the young with such opportunities of practical man whose petitions he disregarded, observation in these arts. Meantime, was to become the ornament of his his country felt anxious to recall one country, and the ill treatment he then from whom it derived so much ho. met with, a material fact in the his. nour. The death of Dr Russell left vatory of his life,'
cant the chair of Natural Philosophy
in Edinburgh. Although the situa. he had seen the great operations of tion was one of moderate emolument, the nautical and the military art, had it might be reckoned brilliant, from been followed, or accompanied, with the individuals with whom it asso- much study, so that a thorough knowciated him, and from the opportunity ledge of the principles, as well as the of teaching his favourite sciences in practice, of those arts, had been acso celebrated and frequented a school. quired. His knowledge of the ma. He did not, therefore, hesitate to re- thematics was accurate and extensive, ject even the additional offers made and included, what was at that time by the Empress, with the view of re- rare in this country, a considerable taining him in Russia, and he left that familiarity with the discoveries and country in June 1774. The Em- inventions of the foreign mathematipress was so far from feeling dissatis. cians. faction at this step, that she settled a “In the generaloutline of his course, pension upon him.
he did not, however, deviate materialThe manner in which the class of ly from that which had been sketched natural philosophy was taught by Mr by his predecessors, except, I think, Robison, is described by Mr Playfair in one point of arrangement, by which in a very interesting and discriminat- he passed from Dynamics immediateing manner.
ly to Physical Astronomy. The
sciences of Mechanics, HydrodynaMr Robison was admitted at Edin. mics, Astronomy and Optics, together burgh the 16th September 1774, and with Electricity and Magnetism, gave his first course of lectures in the were the subjects which his lectures winter following. The person to embraced. These were given with whom he succeeded had been very great fluency and precision of laneminent and very useful in his pro- guage, and with the introduction of fession. He possessed a great deal of a good deal of mathematical demoningenuity, and much knowledge, in stration. His manner was grave and all the branches of Physical Science. dignified. His views, always ingeWithout perhaps being very deeply nious and comprehensive, were full of versed in the higher parts of the ma. information, and never more interestthematics, he had much more know- ing and instructive than when they ledge of them than is requisite for touched on the history of science explaining the elements of Natural His lectures, however, were oftes Philosophy. His views in the latter complained of, as difficult and hard were sound, often original, and al- to be followed, and this did not, in ways explained with great clearness my opinion, arise from the depth of and simplicity. The mathematical the mathematical demonstrations, as and experimental parts were so hap- was sometimes said, but rather from pily combined, that his lectures com- the rapidity of his discourse, which municated not only an excellent view was in general beyond the rate at of the principles of the science, but which accurate reasoning can be much practical knowledge concern- easily followed. The singular faci. ing the means by which those prin lity of his own apprehension, made ciples are embodied in matter, and him judge too favourably of the same made palpable to sense.
power in others. To understand his Mr Robison, who now succeeded lectures completely, was, on account to this chair, had also talents and ac- of the rapidity, and the uniform flow quirements of a very high order.--- of his discourse, not a very easy task, The scenes of active life in which he even for men tolerably familiar with had been early engaged, and in which the subject. On this account, his
lectures were less popular than might ceived the contributions of respecta. have been expected from such a com-, ble men of science, but had been left bination of rare talents as the author' chiefly in the hands of more humble of them possessed. This was assisted compilers. In the course of an exby a small number of experiments he tended edition of this work, Mr introduced, and the view that he Robison became a regular contributook of Natural Philosophy, which tor, and enriched it with a variety of left but a very subordinate place for valuable treatises. Mr Playfair menthem to occupy. An experiment, he tions particularly the articles Optics, would very truly observe, does not Telescope, Roof, Water works, Resisestablish a general proposition, and tance of Auids, Running of rivers, never can do more than prove a par. Electricity and Magnetism. This ticular fact. Hence, he inferred, or example was soon followed, and a seemed to infer, that they are of no complete change took place in the great use in establishing the princi- character of the work, whith has ever ples of science. This seems an er since, and now more than ever, been roneous view. An experiment does supported by the contributions of the but prove a particular fact; but by most distinguished men of science doing so in a great number of cases, whom this country can boast of. it affords the means of discovering Mr Robison now engaged in a work the general principle which is com- of a very different character. The mon to all these facts. Even a sin- French revolution engrossing univergle experiment may be sufficient to sal attention, he undertook to explain prove a very general fact. When a its origin and phenomena by the proguinea and a feather, let fall from the ceedings of some societies of freetop of an exhausted receiver, descend masons and illuminati in Germany. to the bottom of it in the same time, His work, published in 1797, was it is very true that this only proves entitled “ Proofs of a conspiracy athe fact of the equal acceleration of gainst all the religions and governfalling bodies in the case of the two ments of Europe.” This publication substances just named; but who at the moment excited universal indoubts that ihe conclusion extends to terest, and, as Mr Playfair observes, all different degrees of weight, and s carried the name of the author into that the uniform acceleration of fall. places where his high attainments in ing bodies of every kind, may safely science had never gained admission be inferred?'
for it." It has now sunk almost in
to oblivion; and there seems no doubt Soon after his arrival, Mr Robison that the author very much exaggerabecame a member of the Philosophi- ted the power of those instruments to cal, or, as it was soon afterwards which he imputed that memorable termed, the Royal Society, whose catastrophe. Mr Playfair, in a mantransactions he enriched with several ly and decided manner, declares his most valuable papers. His scientific entire dissent from the opinions enteractivity was now turned into a dicer- tained in this work. The following tion not usual in this country. A- observations are strongly marked by mong that popular description of good sense. works known under the title of En. cyclopædias, the Britannica, under • I do not mean to question the taken at Edinburgh, had always held general fact, that there did exist in the first place. Neither it, however, Germany a society having the vanity nor any works of that description to assume the name just mentioned, bitherto published in Britain, had re- and the presudiption or the simplicity