Born: Theophilus Bonet, eminent Genevese physician, 1620; Jean Barbeyrac, eminent jurist, 1674, Beziers; General Andrew Jackson, 1767.
Died: Julius Cæsar, assassinated, B.C. 44, Rome; Thomas Lord Chancellor Egerton, 1617, Dodleston, Cheshire; Sir Theodore Mayerne, physician to James I and Charles I, 1655, Chelsea; John Earl of Loudon, Chancellor of Scotland, 1663; the Rev. Dr. Thomas Franklin, eminent Greek scholar, 1784, London; Admiral John Jervis, Earl St. Vincent, 1823, Stone; John Liston, comic actor, 1846; Otto Kotzebue, navigator, 1846; Cardinal Mezzofanti, extraordinary linguist, 1849; Captain Sir Samuel Brown, civil engineer, 1852.
Feast Day: St. Abraham, hermit of Mesopotamia, and his niece, St. Mary, 4th century. St. Zachary, Pope, 752. St. Leocritia, of Cordova, virgin, martyr, 859.
LONGHNGS THE KNIGHT
One would suppose that the medieval legendaries were very hardset for saints, if we judge by the strange names which are sometimes introduced in their lists. A very slight ground was sufficient for building a legend, as may be instanced by a saint who, in the old calendars, especially the English and German calendars, was commemorated on this day. The Evangelists St. Matthew and St. Mark, describing the crucifixion, tell us that a centurion who was on guard saw the signs which attended the death of the Saviour, and became converted, and exclaimed, 'Truly this man was the Son of God;' and St. John adds how, while Christ still remained on the cross, 'one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water.'
The mediæval ecclesiastics made one individual of these two persons, and gave him the name of Longinus, more usually written in mediæval French, Longinas or Longis, and in old English Longeus, under which he was one of the most popular personages of mediaeval legend. He was said to have been blind (how a blind man came to be made a centurion is not quite clear); when ordered by Pontius Pilate to pierce our Saviour's side with his spear, the blood, according to the story, ran down into his eyes, and restored him miraculously to sight, which was partly the cause of his conversion to Christianity.
He now associated with the Apostles, becoming an active 'soldier of the faith,' and distinguishing himself by the fervency of his zeal. He was thus, in the twenty-eighth year of his age, living at Cæsarea of Cappadocia, when information of his behaviour was carried to the prefect or governor, Octavius, who immediately summoned him to his presence. When questioned, Longinus told the prefect his name, said that he was a Boman soldier, of the province of Isauria, and acknowledged that he was a zealous follower of Christ. After some discussion on the relative merits of Christianity and paganism, Longinus was commanded to worship the idols, and eat of the sacrifice offered to them, but he refused; whereupon the tormentors or executioners (quæstionarii) were ordered to cut off his tongue and knock out his teeth.
He long bears this and other outrages with great fortitude; but at length he proposes a curious sort of compromise, to which Octavius consents. It had been shewn, said Longinus, how little all the torments of the pagans affected him, but now, if he might have leave, he would undertake to break all their idols and overcome their gods, it being made a condition that, if he were successful, the pagans should desert their idols, and believe in the true God; but if their gods were able to do him any injury, he would become a pagan. Longinus immediately broke to pieces the idol, overthrew his altars and all his marble statues, and spilt all the offerings,' and the devils who dwelt in them fled, but they were arrested by Longinus, who chose to obtain some information from them. The demons acknowledged that his was the greatest God.
He asked them further how they came to dwell in the idols, and they said that they came to seek comfortable places of refuge, and, finding beautiful images of stone, on which the name of Christ had not been invoked, nor the sign of the cross made, they immediately took possession of' them, as well as of the people of the neighbourhood, who were equally unprotected; and now that he had driven them out, they supplicated him to let them go where they would, and begged not to be 'precipitated into the abyss.' This is a very curious illustration of the mediæval notion of the nature of the heathen idols. When the citizens heard this revelation, they set up a great shout of joy, and, as soon as the devils were driven out of them, they all embraced the Christian faith. This, however, did not save the saint from martyrdom; for Octavius, terrified lest the emperor should punish him and the city for its apostasy from the imperial faith, caused the head of Longinus to be cut off, and then repented, and became a Christian himself. 'These things,' says the legend, 'were acted in the city of Cæsarea of Cappadocia, on the Ides of March, under Octavius the prefect.' The legend is found in mediæval manuscripts in Latin and in other languages.
The circumstances under which the ideas were developed, that led to the production of noted works in literature or art, would, if it were possible to collect them, form a remarkable history, affording strange illustrations of the multifarious phases presented by the human mind. Fancy, for instance, a learned professor and doctor of jurisprudence, compelled by fate to reside with a gambling mother-in-law, and to sit for hours listening to the wearisome conversation of a party of old women playing at cards; and yet improving the occasion, by mentally laying the foundation of the most elaborate work on gaming that ever has been written. These were exactly the circumstances which gave origin to Barbeyrac's celebrated Traité de Jeu.
Barbeyrac was a native of France; but, being a Calvinist, was compelled by the revocation of the edict of Nantes to take refuge in Switzerland. He became professor of law at Lausanne, and subsequently at Gröningen; and published many works on jurisprudence, besides a translation of Tillotson's Sermons. But the work on which his reputation is founded, and by which he is known at the present day, is his treatise on gaming, dedicated to Ann Princess of Orange, eldest daughter of George II, the textbook for all who wish to study the subject.
The Traité de Jeu abounds in the most recondite learning. The first of its four books contains arguments to prove that gaming is not inconsistent with natural laws, morality, or religion. In the second book the author applies these arguments specifically to the various kinds of games that have been played at different periods in the history of the world. The third book states the limitations under which the previous arguments are to be considered; and the fourth enumerates the various abuses of gaming. Finally, he comes to the rather startling conclusion that gambling is not in itself immoral or illegal, and that it is nowhere, directly or indirectly, forbidden in the Holy Scriptures.
Barbeyrac starts with the undeniable proposition that man is essentially a worker, his whole existence depending upon labour; consequently God had designed that man should be employed in works of usefulness for himself and others. But, as man cannot work without rest, food, and relaxation, the Deity had expressly sanctioned all those requirements, by the mere act of creating man a working animal-the evil consisting in the abuse, not in the use of those indispensable requisites.
There are persons, however,' says Barbeyrac, 'who unreasonably suppose that use and abuse cannot be separated; and who, forming to themselves strange mystical notions of virtue and piety, would persuade us that every kind of diversion and amusement, being neither more nor less than the consequences of man's fallen nature, is unworthy of rational creatures. Such persons may be above the common limits of human nature, in a sphere of perfection unattainable by the great mass of mankind. Still, they ought to allow those, who cannot arrive at such a high degree of perfection, to follow in low humility the path which nature and providence have pointed out to them, to enjoy their opinions in peace, and their consciences devoid of scruple.'
'I maintain,' he continues, 'as an irrefragable principle, that, for the sake of relaxation, man may indulge in such amusements as are free from vice. This being admitted, if a person takes pleasure in playing at cards or dice, there is no reason why he may not amuse himself in that manner, quite as innocently as in painting, dancing, music, hunting, or any other similar diversions. The question then arises, whether the game be played for nothing, or for a stake of value. In the first case, it is a mere relaxation, bearing not the slightest semblance of criminality; with regard to the second, there can be no evil in it, looking at the matter generally, without taking into consideration peculiar circumstances. For, if I am at liberty to promise and give my property, absolutely and unconditionally, to whomsoever I please, why may I not promise and give a certain sum, in the event of a person proving more fortunate or more skilful than I, with respect to the result of certain contingencies, movements, or combinations, on which we had previously agreed? And why may not this person honestly avail himself of the result, either of his skill, or of a favourable concurrence of fortuitous circumstances, on the issue of which I had voluntarily contracted an obligation? And though but one of the parties gains an advantage, yet there is nothing contrary to strict equity in the transaction, the terms having been previously agreed on by both. Every person, being at liberty to determine the conditions on which he will concede a right to another, may make it dependent on the most chance circumstances. A fortiori, then, a per. son may fairly and honestly avail himself of these winnings, when he has risked on the event as much as he was likely to gain. In fact, gaming is a contract, and in every contract the mutual consent of the parties is the supreme law; this is an incontestable maxim of natural equity.'
Many of Barbeyrac's arguments and quotations are taken from our old Puritan writers, who admitted that a kind of gambling, under the designation of lots, was sanctioned by the Scriptures; though only to be used to decide matters connected with religion and the church. The able authoress of Silas Marner has shewn us something of the working of this lot system, though it certainly is more a kind of divination than gambling.
To conclude, Barbeyrac's arguments must be considered as a series of clever paradoxes, written by a learned philosopher unacquainted with the world and the manifold wickednesses of its ways. Though we may certainly employ our time better, there can be no great harm in a friendly game of whist or backgammon; but the undeniable vice and folly of gambling has received and ever will receive the direct condemnation of all good men, able to form an opinion on the matter.
SIR THEODORE MAYERNE
Collectors of heads, for such is the ghastly phrase used by the cognoscenti to indicate engraved portraits, fancy themselves fortunate when they can obtain a folio engraving, representing a jolly-looking, well-kept individual, apparently of not more than sixty summers, holding a skull in the left hand, and bearing the following inscription:
Theodore Turquet de Mayerne, knight, aged eighty-two years, by birth a Frenchman, by religion a Protestant; in his profession a second Hippocrates; and what has seldom happened to any but himself, first physician to three kings; in erudition unequalled, in experience second to none, and as the result of all these advantages, celebrated far and near.
If the inscription stated that Mayerne had been physician to four kings, it would be nearer the mark, for he really served in that capacity Henry IV of France, James I, Charles I, and Charles II, of England. He was born at Geneva, in 1573, and named Theodore after his god-father, the celebrated reformer Beza. He studied at Montpelier, and soon after taking his degrees, received the appointment of physician to Henry IV; but, his profession of Protestant principles being a bar to his advancement in France, he came to England, and was warmly received by James the First. His position in the history of medical science is well defined, by his being among the earliest practitioners who applied chemistry to the preparing and compounding of medicines. His skill and celebrity enabled him to acquire a large fortune, and to live unmolested and respected during the terrible convulsions of the civil war. Though a noted bon vivant, he attained the advanced age of eighty-two years, dying in 1655, at his own house in Chelsea, a favourite place of residence among the physicians of the olden time. The immediate cause of his death he attributed to drinking bad wine with a convivial party, at a tavern in the Strand. Good wine,' he used to say, 'is slow poison: I have drunk it all my lifetime, and it has not killed me yet; but bad wine is sudden death.'
In hours of relaxation, Mayerne applied his chemical knowledge to the improvement of the arts of painting and cookery, in both of which he was no mean proficient, as an amateur. The famous artist Petitot owed the perfection of his colouring in enamel to Mayerne's experiments, and the best cookery book of the period was written by the learned physician himself. Indeed it is not generally known how much cookery is indebted to medicine. Mayerne, in the seventeenth, Hunter and Hill in the eighteenth, and Kitchiner in the nineteenth century, have given to the world the best cookery books of their respective eras. Indeed, in ancient times, cookery was specifically considered as an important branch of the healing art; the word curare, among the Romans, signifying to dress a dinner, as well as to cure a disease. Mayerne's cookery-book bears the high sounding title of Archimagirus Anglo-Gallicus, and the following specimen of its contents will testify that it well merited its appellation. The jolly physician often participated in the hospitalities of my Lord Mayor, and the great commercial guilds and companies; so, as a fitting token of his gratitude, he named his clief-d'aeuvre, the first and principal recipe in his book,
Take eight marrow bones, eighteen sparrows, one pound of potatoes, a quarter of a pound of eringoes, two ounces of lettuce stalks, forty chesnuts, half a pound of dates, a peck of oysters, a quarter of a pound of preserved citron, three artichokes, twelve eggs, two sliced lemons, a handful of pickled barberries, a quarter of an ounce of whole pepper, half an ounce of sliced nutmeg, half an ounce of whole cinnamon, a quarter of an ounce of whole cloves, half an ounce of mace, and a quarter of a pound of currants. Liquor when it is baked, with white wine, butter, and sugar.'
Some half-a-dozen years ago, with very slight alterations-only adopted after deep consultation, to suit the palates of the present day-a pie was made from the above recipe, which gave complete satisfaction to the party of connoisseurs in culinary matters, who heartily and merrily par-took of it.
MEZZOFANTI'S WONDERFUL MEMORY
This celebrated linguist, born at Bologna, in 1774, was the son of a carpenter, and was intended for the same occupation, had not a priest observed the remarkable intelligence of the boy, and had him educated for the priesthood, when he acquired, before the completion of his university career, the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, French, German, and Swedish languages. At the early age of twenty-two, he was appointed professor of Arabic in the university, and next of Oriental languages; but through political changes, he lost both these appointments, and. was for some years reduced to great distress. Meanwhile, Mezzofanti made his all-engrossing pursuit the study of languages. One of his modes of study was calling upon strangers at the hotels of Bologna, interrogating them, making notes of their communications, and taking lessons in the pronunciation of their several languages. 'Nor did all this cost me much trouble,' says Mezzofanti; 'for, inaddition to an excellent memory, God had gifted me with remarkable flexibility of the organs of speech.' He was now reinstated in his appointments; and his attainments grew prodigious. Mr. Stewart Rose, in 1817, reported him as reading twenty languages, and speaking eighteen. Baron Each, in 1820, stated the number at thirty-two. Lord Byron, about the same time, described him .as 'a walking polyglot, a monster of languages, and a Briareus of parts of speech.' In 1831, he settled in Rome, accepted a prebend in the church of St. Mary Major, which he exchanged for a canonry in St. Peter's; he was next appointed keeper of the Vatican library, and in 1838 was elevated to the Cardinalate.
Mezzofanti's residence at Rome gave a new impulse to his linguistic studies. Herr Guido Gorres, the eminent German scholar, writes of him, in 1841, he is familiar with all the European languages; and by this I understand not only the ancient classical tongues, and the modern ones of the first class, such as the Greek and Latin, or the Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and English; his know-ledge extends also to languages of the second class, viz., the Dutch, Danish, and Swedish, to the whole Selavonic family, Russian, Polish, Bohemian, or Czechish, to the Servian, the Hungarian, the Turkish, and even to those of the third and fourth classes, the Irish, the Welsh, the Wallachian, the Albanian, the Bulgarian, and the Illyrian. Even the Romani of the Alps, and the Lettish, are not unknown to him; nay, he has made himself acquainted with Lappish. He is master of the languages which fall within the Indo-Germanic family, the Sanscrit and Persian, the Koordish, the Georgian, the Armenian; he is familiar with all the members of the Semitic family, the Hebrew, the Arabic, the Syriac, the Samaritan, the Chaldee, the Sabaic, nay, even with the Chinese, which he not only reads, but speaks. Among the Hamitic languages, he knows Coptic, Ethiopic, Abyssinian, Amharic, and Angolese.' He is described as invariably speaking in each language with the precision, and in most cases with the fluency of a native. His pronunciation, his idiom, his vocabulary, were alike unexceptionable; even the familiar words of every-day life, and the delicate turns of conversational speech, were at his command. He was equally at home in the pure Parisian of the Faubourg St. Germain and in the Provencal of Toulouse. He could accommodate him-self to the rude jargon of the Black Forest, or to the classic vocabulary of Dresden.
Cardinal Wiseman, the friend of Mezzofanti, has thus spoken of his extraordinary power of acquiring and remembering a number of languages-that is, knowing them thoroughly, grammatically, and familiarly, so as to speak each with its own accentuation, read it with facility and point, express himself technically through its medium, and, above all, write a familiar note in it. Of this power, says Dr. Wiseman, no one, perhaps, over attained such pre-eminence in philology, and no one could have made a more noble use of the wonderful gift entrusted to him to improve. His labours were in the prisons, in which he found confined natives of every habitable country-Croats, Bulgarians, Wallachians, Bohemians, Hungarians, Poles, Lithuanians. As may be supposed, in a provincial city in Italy there was but small chance that any of these should meet with priests of their own nation.
Cardinal Mezzofanti was moved with a burning desire to converse with them and offer them the consolations of religion. He set himself to work, and in a few days was able to speak with them readily and fluently. Cases have been Known of persons coming to this extraordinary man for confession, but speaking only some out-of-the-way language which debarred them from intercommunication with all priests within their reach. On such occasions Cardinal Mezzofanti would request a delay of three weeks, during which time he would so completely master the language, however difficult, that he could apprehend the most minute particulars communicated to him. At the age of fifty he was thoroughly versed in fifty languages, and before his death the number he knew must have amounted to seventy or eighty. Of these, it must be added, he was acquainted with all the varieties of dialect, provincialisms, and patois. He would detect the particular county in England from which a person came, or the province in France, and was conversant not only with the grammar, but with the literature of all those nations. By a Portuguese he was once, to his (Cardinal Wiseman's) own knowledge, taken for a countryman; and on another occasion he was similarly mistaken for an Englishman.
He could write a note or an apology (perhaps, after all, the greatest test) without an error in form, language, style, or title of address of his correspondent, and would turn his sentences without ever losing sight of the little niceties, idioms, and peculiarities which form the distinctive characteristics of a language. His method of studying a language was to take the grammar and read it through, after which he was its master. He used to say he had never forgotten anything he had ever read or heard. Cardinal Wise-man states that he one day met Mezzofanti hurrying away, as he said, to a Propaganda- 'What are you going to do there?' 'To teach the Californians their language.' 'How did you learn Californian?' 'They taught me, but they had no grammar; I have made a grammar, and now 1 am going to teach them to read and write it.' -(Lectures on the Phenomena of Memory, 1857.)
Mezzofanti died on the 15th of March 1849; and was buried in the church of St. Onofrio, beside the grave of Torquato Tasso.
CAPTAIN SIR SAMUEL BROWN
Many nations in past times sought to find how a bridge might so be constructed that the weight of the roadway, instead of resting upon arches of masonry, or on a rigid iron or wooden framework, might be supported by the tension of ropes or chains. Kircher described a bridge of chains which the Chinese constructed many centuries ago in their country. Turner, in his Account of Bootan or Bhotan in India, describes several very ingenious bridges devised by the natives for crossing the ravines which intersect that mountainous country. One is a bridge consisting of a number of iron chains supporting a matted platform; another is formed of two parallel chains, around which creepers are loosely twisted, with planks for a roadway suspended; while a third is formed of two rattan or osier ropes, encircled by a hoop of the same material: the passenger propelling himself by sitting in the hoop, holding a rope in each hand, and making the hoop slide along. Some of the rude bridges constructed by the natives in South America, such as that at Taribita, consist each of a single rush rope, on which a kind of carriage is swung, and drawn along by another rope held by a person on the bank. At Apurima the natives have constructed a bridge nearly 400 feet long, by 6 feet wide, by placing two bark ropes parallel, and interweaving cross-pieces of wood from one to the other.
Of an actual iron suspension bridge, the first made in Europe seems to have been one over the Tees near Middleton, constructed rather more than a century ago. Two chains were stretched in a nearly straight line, steadied by inclined ties from the banks below; and the roadway (only a narrow path for foot-passengers) was supported immediately by the chains. In 1816, a little bridge was constructed over Gala Water in Scotland, made chiefly of wire, at the orders of a manufacturer named Richard Lees; and another of similar kind was soon afterwards constructed across the Tweed at King's Meadows, near Peebles, with a platform four feet wide resting on the wires. It was about that date, or a little earlier, that Captain Brown made an important advance in the construction of chain bridges, by changing altogether the form of the links. Instead of making them short and circular or oval, he made them several feet long, with eyes drilled at each end, and connecting them with short links and bolt-pieces. Every main link, in fact, consisted of a series of flat bars, pivoted at the ends to each other and to the adjacent links. He also devised an ingenious mode of removing a defective link without disturbing the continuity of the chain. These two capital inventions laid the basis for the plans of most of the great suspension bridges since constructed, including Brown's Bridge over the Tweed at Berwick, Brown's Trinity Pier at New-haven near Leith, Telford's beautiful Kenai and Conway bridges, Brown's Chain-pier at Brighton, Tierney Clark's bridge at Hammersmith, Brown's bridge at Montrose, and the grandest suspension bridge, perhaps, ever constructed-that built by Mr. Tierney Clark over the Danube at Pesth. It was no small merit in an engineer to render such works possible.
It is possible,' says a living author, 'to be a very great man, and to be still very inferior to Julius Cæsar, the most complete character, so Lord Bacon thought, of all antiquity. Nature seems incapable of such extraordinary combinations as composed his versatile capacity, which was the wonder even of the Romans themselves. The first general--the only triumphant politician-inferior to none in eloquence -comparable to any in the attainments of wisdom, in an age made up of the greatest commanders, states-men, orators, and philosophers that ever appeared in the world-an author who composed a perfect specimen of military annals in his travelling carriage-at one time in a controversy with Cato, at another writing a treatise on punning, and collecting a set of good sayings-fighting and making love at the same moment, and willing to abandon both his empire and his mistress for a sight of the Fountains of the Nile. Such did Cæsar appear to his contemporaries.'
The assassination of Cæsar on the Ides of March, a. c. 44, was immediately preceded by certain prodigies, which it has greatly exercised the ingenuity of historians and others to attempt to explain.
First, on the night preceding the assassination, Cæsar dreamt, at intervals, that he was soaring above the clouds on wings, and that he placed his hand within the right hand of Jove. It would seem that perhaps some obscure and half-formed image floated in Cæsar's mind of the eagle, as the king of birds,-secondarily, as the tutelary emblem under which his conquering legions had so often obeyed his voice; and thirdly, as the bird of Jove. To this triple relation of the bird, the dream covertly appears to point. And a singular coincidence is traced between the dream and a circumstance reported to us, as having actually occurred in Rome, about twenty-four hours before Cæsar's death. A little bird, which by some is represented as a very small kind of sparrow, but which, both to the Greeks and Romans, was known by a name implying a regal station (probably from the audacity which at times prompted it to attack the eagle), was observed to direct its flight towards the senate-house, consecrated by Pompey, whilst a crowd of other birds were seen to hang upon its flight in close pursuit, towards Pompey's Hall. Flight and pursuit were there alike arrested; the little bird-king was overtaken by his enemies, who fell upon him as so many conspirators, and tore him limb from limb.
The other prodigies were:
The last words of Cæsar, as he fell before the blows of his assassins, have become proverbial, being generally given as 'Et tu, Brute!' (And thou too, Brutus!)-certainly a most natural expression on seeing a youthful and beloved friend among those prepared to shed his blood. There is, however, a doubt as to the words used by Cesar. They have been given as composed of the Greek language, express a doubt if he was heard to utter any expression at all after the stabbing began, or did anything more than adjust his mantle, in order that, when fallen, the lower part of his person might be covered.
LAST WORDS OF REMARKABLE PERSONS
It may amuse the reader, in connection with the preceding matter, to glance over a small collection of the final expressions of remarkable persons, as these are communicated by biographers and historians. In most instances, the authorities are given, along with such explanations as may be presumed to be necessary.
It is remarkable how few of these last words of noted persons express what may be called the ruling passion of the life-contrary to Pope's idea:
And you, brave Cobham, to the latest breath,
Shall feel your ruling passion strong in death;
Such in those moments as in all the past,
'Oh, save my country, Heaven! 'shall be your last.'
In many instances the matter referred to is trivial, in some surprisingly so. In others, there is only an allusion to what was passing at the moment. In few is there any great thought. Some express only the enfeebled mind. Perhaps the most striking is that of Dr Adam of the Edinburgh High School, for it reveals in fact what dying is-a darkening and fading away of the faculties. There is, however, this general lesson to be derived from the expressions of the dying, that there is usually a calmness and absence of strong sensation of any kind at the last moment. On this point, we quote a short passage from the Quarterly Review.
The pain of dying must be distinguished from the pain of the previous disease; for when life ebbs, sensibility declines. As death is the final extinction of corporeal feelings, so numbness increases as death comes on. The prostration of disease, like healthful fatigue, engenders a growing stupor-a sensation of subsiding softly into a coveted repose. The transition resembles what might be seen in those lofty mountains, whose sides exhibiting every climate in regular gradation, vegetation luxuriates at their base, and dwindles in the approach to the regions of snow, till its feeblest manifestation is repressed by the cold. The so-called agony can never be more formidable than when the brain is the last to go, and the mind preserves to the end a rational cognizance of the state of the body. Yet persons thus situated commonly attest that there are few things in life less painful than the close.
'If I had strength enough to hold a pen,' said. William Hunter, 'I would write how easy and delightful it is to die.' 'If this be dying,' said the niece of Newton, of Olney, 'it is a pleasant thing to die;' 'the very expression,' adds her uncle, 'which another friend of mine made use of on her death-bed a few years ago.' The same words have so often been uttered under similar circumstances, that we could fill pages with instances which are only varied by the name of the speaker. ' If this be dying,' said Lady Glenorchy, 'it is the easiest thing imaginable. 'I thought that dying had been more difficult,' said Louis XIV. 'I did not suppose it was so sweet to die,' said Francis Saurez, the Spanish theologian. An agreeable surprise was the prevailing sentiment with them all. They expected the stream to terminate in the dash of the torrent, and they found it was losing itself in the gentlest current. The whole of the faculties seem sometimes concentrated on the placid enjoyment. The day Arthur Murphy died, he kept repeating from Pope:
Taught half by reason, half by mere decay,
To welcome death, and calmly pass away.
'Nor does the calm partake of the sensitiveness of sickness. There was a swell in the sea the day Collingwood breathed his last upon the element which had been the scene of his glory. Captain Thomas expressed a fear that he was disturbed by the tossing of the ship. 'No, Thomas,' he replied, 'I am now in a state in which nothing in this world can disturb me more. I am dying; and am sure it must be consolatory to you, and all who love me, to see how comfortably I am coming to my end.''
Under the 15th March 1735, the Gentleman's Magazine records- 'John Parry, Esq., of Carmarthenshire, (married) to a daughter of Walter Lloyd, Esq., member for that county; a fortune of £8,000.' It seems to us indecorous thus to trumpet forth a little domestic particular, of no importance to any but the persons concerned; but it was a regular custom in the reign of George II, and even considerably later.
There is scarcely a single number of the magazine here quoted which does not include several such announcements, sometimes accompanied by other curious particulars. For example, in 1731, we have-'Married, the Rev. Mr. Roger Waina, of York, about twenty-six years of age, to a Lincolnshire lady, upwards of eighty, with whom he is to have £8,000 in money, £300 per annum, and a coach-and-four during life only.' What would now be matter of gossip in the locality of the marriage was then deemed proper information for the whole community. Thus, in March 1735, the Gentleman's Magazine gives this annonce- 'The Earl of Antrim, of Ireland, to Miss Betty Pennefeather, a celebrated beauty and toast of that kingdom.' It is to be feared that Miss Betty Pennefeather was without fortune; otherwise it would have been sure to be stated, or at least alluded to.
Towards the end of the century, such announcements were given with less glaring precision. Thus in the Gazette of January 5th, 1789, we find- 'Sunday sénnight, at St. Aulkman's Church, Shrewsbury, A. Holbeche, Esq., of Slowley Hill, near Coleshill, in this county, to Mrs. Ashby, of Shrewsbury, a very agreeable lady, with a good fortune.' On the 2nd of January 1792-'Yesterday, at St. Martin's Church, William Lucas, Esq., of Holywell, in Northampton-shire, to Miss Legge, only daughter of the late Mr. Francis Legge, builder, of this town; an agreeable young lady, with a handsome fortune.' And on the 29th of October 1798-'A few days ago, at St. Martin's. Church, in this town, Mr. William Barnsley, of the Soho, to Miss Sarah Jorden, of Birmingham Heath; an agreeable young lady, with a genteel fortune.' In other cases, where possibly the bride was penniless, her personal qualifications alone were mentioned; as this, in April 1783-[' MARRIED] on Saturday last, Mr. George Donisthorpe, to the agreeable Mrs. Mary Bowker, both of this town.'
One of the latest notices of the kind occurs in Axis's Birmingham Gazette, of July 14, 1800, being that of the Right Hon. Mr. Canning, Under Secretary of State, to Miss Scott, sister to the Marchioness of Titchfield, 'with £100,000 fortune.'