Born: Dr. Meric Casaubon, eminent Protestant divine, 1599, Geneva; Pope Pius VI, 1717, Cesena; Dr. Charles Hutton, distinguished mathematician, 1737, Newcastleon-Tyne.
Died: John I of Portugal, 1433; Pope Pius II (Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini), 1464, Ancona; Edmund Law, bishop of Carlisle, editor of Locke, 1787, Rose Castle, Cumberland; Thomas Sheridan, author of the Pronouncing Dictionary, and father of the dramatist, 1788, Thanet; George Colman (the elder), dramatist, 1794, Paddington; Marquis Luigi Cagnola, distinguished Italian architect, 1833; Rev. Henry Francis Cary, translator of Dante, 1844, London; Dr. William Buckland, eminent geologist, 1856; George Combe, phrenologist, author of Essay on the Constitution of Man in Relation to External Objects, 1858, Moor Park, Surrey; A. M. C. Domeril, eminent French naturalist, 1860, Paris.
Feast Day: St. Eusebius, priest and martyr, about end of 3rd century. St. Eusebius, priest and confessor at Rome, 4th century.
Was one of those men who, from various causes, do not fill a very conspicuous place in society, and yet exercise a great influence on their own and on future ages. He was a native of Edinburgh, and spent there nearly the whole of his life of seventy years. Having, in his profession of a writer to the Signet, equivalent to solicitor in England, attained, at about forty-five, to a moderate competency, he retired to devote the remainder of his days to literary and philosophical pursuits. An alliance he formed about that time with an elegant woman, the daughter of the celebrated Mrs. Siddons, enabled him to do this in a style of dignity and comfort which made his house thenceforth one of the centres of refined society in the northern capital.
In his youth, Mr. Combe had entered heartily into the then young science of phrenology, and, in company with his accomplished brother, Dr. Andrew Combe, and a few other men of talent, he diffused a large amount of knowledge on this subject, and made it for some years a popular study. The bases of the science, however, have never been established to the satisfaction of the philosophic world, and even its popularity has, in the course of years, some-what faded. Had Mr. Combe been a mere vaticinator upon heads, he would not now be of much account in the rolls of fame. He was, in reality, a man of profound philosophical conceptions; one whose views reached far beyond those of the ordinary men of science and letters of his day.
Phrenology, and its great patron, Dr. Spurzeim, whatever other effect they might have upon his mind, had at least impressed him with the idea that man is, in one important respect, simply a part of nature, depending on the conditions of his original constitution, and his subsequent nurture and education, for the character he is to bear through life, and on his harmonious action with the other parts of nature surrounding him for success in securing his secular happiness. He put these ideas into a form in which they could be readily apprehended, in his Essay on the Constitution of Man in relation to External Objects, and the sale of upwards of a hundred thousand copies in Britain, and its almost equal diffusion in America and Germany, have amply attested that he had here laid hold of a most important, however partial, truth.
Inspired by the same views, he wrote several treatises on education, in which the value of a knowledge of the world which surrounds us is eloquently expounded. He everywhere maintained that the brain is the organ of the mind, and as he made no further profession on the subject, it was felt by many that he too much countenanced materialistic doctrines. Against this, however, it ought to be observed, that Mr. Combe invariably traced natural affairs to a divine origin and up-holding, and never failed to inculcate that God has so constituted the world that the moral faculties of man are certain of an ultimate supremacy. Matter is a thing which may be undervalued as well as overvalued.
To say that there is nothing in this world but matter and certain laws impressed upon it, is to take but a poor and narrow view of the cosmos. But, on the other hand, matter is a far more respectable thing than many, from their language, seem to consider it. Only think of the endless worlds it constitutes, of the wonderful relations of its chemical elements, of the admirable psychical operations and sentiments of which it is the observable vehicle in organised beings, and we must be lost in admiration of the magnificent purposes with which the Creator has charged it. Mr. Combe felt this respectability of matter, and in all pious reverence stood up for it.
The subject of this notice was tall and thin, with a handsome cast of countenance, and a head of fine proportions. He was generally in weak health, but by great care avoided serious ailments, and succeeded in protracting the thread of life to the Psalmist's period. He was cheerful, social, and benevolent, with a large infusion of the simplicity which seems to form a necessary element in true greatness. From the effect of professional habits, he was methodical to a degree which often provoked a smile; but the fault was essentially connected with the conscientiousness which formed a conspicuous part of his character.
THE FUNERAL OF QUEEN CAROLINE
Tuesday, the 14th August 1821, presented a singular scene of commotion in London. That day had been fixed by the authorities for the removal of the remains of Queen Caroline from Brandenburgh House, where she had expired a week previously, to Harwich, for the purpose of embarking them there for the continent, in terms of the instructions contained in her own will, which directed that her body should be deposited among those of her ancestors at Brunswick. A military guard had been provided by government for the funeral cortege; but, with the view of avoiding as much as possible, in the circumstances, any popular demonstrations, it was resolved that the procession should not pass through the city, a determination which gave the greatest offence both to the queen's executors and a large portion of the community at large. According to the prescribed route, the procession was to go from Hammersmith, through Kensington, into the Uxbridge Road, then down the Edgeware Road, into the New Road; along the City Road, Old Street, and Mile-end to Romford; and thence through Chelmsford and Colchester to Harwich.
On the appointed day, an immense crowd congregated about Hammer-smith, though the rain was falling in torrents. On the funeral reaching the gravel-pits at Kensington, and proceeding to turn off to the left, the way was blocked up with carts and wagons, to prevent further advance towards the Uxbridge Road, and the procession, after halting for an hour and a half, was compelled to move on towards London. Arriving at Kensington Gore, an attempt was made by the head of the police force, Sir R. Baker, with a detachment of Life Guards, to force open the park-gates, but in vain, the crowd, which had already given way to many hostile demonstrations, shouting loudly all the while: 'To the City-to the City!' Hyde Park Corner being reached, the gate there was found barricaded, and the procession moved up Park Lane, but was shortly met by similar obstructions. It then returned to the Corner, where the soldiers had, in the meantime, succeeded in clearing an entrance, and made its way through Hyde Park. On reaching Cumberland Gate, this was found closed, and a furious conflict ensued with the mob, who hurled at the troops the stones of. the park-wall, which had been thrown down by the pressure of the crowd.
Many of the soldiers were severely hurt, and their comrades were provoked to use their firearms, by which two persons were killed and several wounded. After some further clearing away of obstructions, the procession moved down the Edgeware and along the New Roads till it reached the Tottenham Court Road, where the mob made so determined a stand against it proceeding further in the prescribed direction, that Sir R. Baker deemed it most advisable to turn the cortege down the Tottenham Court Road, and thence by Drury Lane through the Strand and the City. So resolute was the popular determination to compel the procession to traverse the city, that every street, including Holborn, through which a detour could have been made to reach the New Road or the City Road, was carefully blocked up and rendered impassable.
Having emerged from the City, the funeral train proceeded quietly on its way to Chelmsford, where it arrived at two o'clock on the following morning. From Chehnsford it proceeded to Colchester, and thence to Harwich, where it embarked for the continent on the evening of the 16th. The remains reached Brunswick on the 24th, and were deposited the following day in the cathedral, in the vault of the ducal family. An inscription had been directed by the deceased to be placed on her coffin in the following terms 'Here lies Caroline of Brunswick, the injured Queen of England,' but the British authorities refused to allow this to be done. While the coffin, however, was lying at Chelmsford, on its way to the coast, the queen's executors affixed to it an engraved plate with the obnoxious title, but it was discovered, and removed by the authorities in charge, notwithstanding a vehement protest from the other party. Thus closed the tomb on this unfortunate queen, whom, even after death, the storms which had visited her so fiercely while in life, did not cease to pursue.