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relates to the point on which we are speaking: A gentleman of a liberal education had, according to the fashion of the times, indulged himself, some years ago, in speculations on the improvement of the human race, and the perfectibility of man. By long, deep, and solitary meditation on these subjects, his mind became unsettled, and his reason gave way. He seemed to himself to want nothing but power to make mankind happy; and at length he became convinced that he had a right to that power. The consequence of this rendered it necessary to confine him; and about two years afterwards he was removed by his friends from the situation in which he was originally fixed, and placed under my care.
At the time of which I speak he was become perfectly calm : he was on general subjects rational, and on every subject acute; but the original hallucinations were as fixed as
In occasional discussions of his visionary projects, I had urged, of my own suggestion, the objection, that when men became so happy as he proposed to make them, they would increase too fast for the limits of the earth. He felt the force of this; and, after much meditation, proposed a scheme for enlarging the surface of the globe, and a project of an act of parliament for this purpose, in a letter addressed to Mr. Pitt*, very well expressed, and seriously meant, but which, if published, would appear satirical and ludicrous in a high degree. Having had occasion to mention his situation to his brother, a man of letters, he proposed that an experiment should be made of putting the quarto edition of Malthus's Essay into his hands; to which I assented. It was given to him last autumn, and he read it with the utmost avidity and seeming attention. In my visits I did not mention the subject to him, but desired the keeper to watch him narrowly. After finishing the perusal, he got pen, ink, and paper, and sat down, seemingly with an intention to answer it, or to write notes upon it. But he did not finish a single sentence, though he began many. He then sat down to read the book again, aloud, and finished this second perusal in a few days, not omitting a single word, but stopping at times, and apparently bewildered. I now spoke to him, and introduced the subject, but he was sullen and impatient. He became very thoughtful, walked at a great pace in his
occupied Dr, Franklin's house. While there, they treated the Doctor very well, and at their departure, the only thing Sir Charles took away was an admirable picture of him, which is a remarkable likeness, and which he (Lord Grey) has now at Howick. This circumstance, I understand, pleased Franklin very much."
airing-ground, and stopped occasionally to write, if I may so speak, words, but more frequently numbers, with a switch in the sand. These he obliterated, as I approached him.
This continued some days, and he appeared to grow
less thoughtful; but his mind had taken a melancholy turn.
One afternoon he retired into his room, on the pretence of drowsiness. The keeper called him in a few hours, but he did not answer. tered, and found the sleep he had fallen into was the sleep of death. He had “ shuffled off this mortal coil.”
At the moment that I write this, his copy of Malthus is in my sight; and I cannot look at it but with extreme emotion. If you
should mention this to Mr. Stewart, or any other person, you must say that the story cannot be published, as his very respectable friends are ignorant of the manner of his death, and, knowing all the previous circumstances, would, on seeing them combined, instantly dis
cover it. *
I have no doubt that he perceived sufficiently
* Having ascertained that the surviving relatives of this unfortunate gentleman have been swept away since the date of this occurrence, the editor feels himself released from this injunction,
the force of Malthus's argument to see the wreck of all his castle-building, and that this produced the melancholy catastrophe.
There are so many of the other points of your letter untouched, that I must take another oppor, tunity of noticing them. ault bald es wol) %101 si Herbiersoni itellen yd Jon ai ti wow Bi dorms, 2792
Liverpool, February, 1804. MY DEAR WALLACE, Your mother and sister are gone to your aunt's, where there is a young party and a little to-night. I ought to have gone too, but felt in, disposed, and resolved to go quietly to bed, and indulge a little meditation. Lucy is my attendant and nurse, and has just made tea for me. She and James are sitting at the table by the fire, each writing an exercise. They are very quiet, and have not disturbed my thoughts
. I have not been able to fall into those trains of imagination that lead" to sleep. I have wandered to Edinburgh, and have been conversing with you.
I have been talking on the points in your two last letters which are unanswered, and have at last resolved to sit up in bed, and put what I have said, or have to say, on paper.
a httle dance First, then, I must tell
that on re-perusing your account of Mr. Watt's steam-engine, I find an inaccuracy, which I apprehend is verbal only, but which it is proper should be corrected. You say the vapour or steam issuing from the boiling water enters the cylinder above the piston, which by its gravity it forces down, and this sets the machine in motion. Now it is not by its gravity; for steam is, I think, lighter than air, and consequently in air its gravity is, relatively speaking, less than nothing, i. e. it has a tendency to ascend not to descend. The power by which steam acts is the prodigious expansion which the same portion of water acquires in passing from water into steam, from a liquid to an aëriform state; and this is not gravity, but elasticity ; which is the word you should have employed. Water possesses little or none of this, and' occupies, you know, comparatively, an inconsiderable portion of space.
The same portion of matter may be easily, and almost instantaneously, by a small change of temperature, converted successively into water and steam ; and on the different degrees of space which it occupies in these two states, depend all the successive movements of Mr
, , portant of all the presents which science has made to the arts of life.