Abbildungen der Seite

selected from his MSS. and published by his wife's nephew; which were highly praised by Dr. Johnson. Two hundred of his MS. sermons were also sold for 600 guineas. He died at about the age of 66, with the character of a truly amiable and excellent person, and an uncommonly able and sound divine: but such was his invincible diffidence, that nothing could draw him out into public life. He proceeded A.M. 26 June, 1733; B.D.22 April, 1743; D.D. 4 July, 1745. Abridged from the Memoir in Gent. Mag. Vol. Ixxvi. p. 331.

2. THOMAS WRIGHT, Thomas Wright, a most ingenious mathematician and astronomer, was the son of a carpenter, and born at Byer's Green in the county of Durham, 22 Sept. 1711. He was first bound apprentice to a clockmaker, 1725, from which he got discharged 1729; and soon afterwards opened a school for teaching the mathematics at Sunderland. Here he formed an unsuccessful attachment, and in consequence quitted the country; but soon returned to his occupation.

He now constructed an almanac for the year 1732, from which he entertained sanguine expectations of profit; but was flattered and betrayed by the Company of Stationers, to whom he offered it. He then endeavoured to get it printed in Scotland, where he was still worse used. By the assistance however of the Rev. Mr. Newcome of Sunderland he surmounted these difficulties; and not only gave full scope to his genius, but began to make his talents known. He obtained the patronage of Lord Scarborough, and by him was brought to London, and introduced to the


H 2

Royal Society, and the Admiralty, who approved his intended publication of the PANNAUTICON, in which he (leeply occupied himself in 1734, and which, when finished, gained him both profit and fame.

* In 1735 he invented his HEMISPHERIUM; and was now employed for some years in similar occupations; and during this period his introduction among the nobility became so enlarged, that from henceforth an important part of his life was engaged in a rotation of visiting at their houses, where a very honourable attention was paid him for his scientific knowledge; on which account he had many distinguished pupils among these families; particularly those of the Duke of Kent, Lord Cowper, Lord Essex, Lord Cornwallis, Lord Bristol, Lord Limerick, Lord Middleton, &c. In these excursions he also became acquainted with the celebrated Mrs. Elizabeth Carter.

At this time he was not, however, idle; but contributed some valuable treatises to science; and in 1742 bad the honour of declining the situation of Chief Professor of Navigation at St. Petersburgh, with a salary of 300l a year. In 1746 he visited Ireland with Lord Limerick; and returned the next year. But here he collected the materials for his LOUTHIANA, of which he published one volume in 1748.

In 1756 he began to prepare for his retreat, and build his house at Byer's Green; but continued his rambling life till 1762; when he finally abandoned himself to this seclusion. Here, as might have been expected, he was little noticed; for his genius was not adapted to the humour of his country neighbours. When however Dr. Egerton, who had married his old pupil Lady Sophia Grey, daughter of the Duke of


[ocr errors]

Kent, succeeded to the See of Durham, he was a frequent visitor at their hospitable table.

He died at his house at Byer's Green, and terred at the church of St. Andrew, Auckland, 25 Feb. 1786, leaving a natural daughter, who survived him only 18 months. In his early life, he had contracted a pedantic stiffness of manners, which was not polished down by his frequent intercourse with people of fashion: on the contrary he rather affected to keep it, though accompanied with the countenance of good humour. His temper was gentle and affable, and his mind was generous; but his studies leading him out of the common track of human affairs, left him very little conversant with the ordinary duties of life. There was something flighty and eccentric in his notions; and a wildness of fancy followed even his ordinary projects; so that his house was not built or fitted up upon the model, or in the order of other men's buildings. A description of it, by himself, found among his MSS. is printed in Gent. Mag. Vol. 63, p. 213, from whence pp. 9, 126, this memoir is taken.


SHERARD, M.D. William Sherard, (LL.D. 1694) Fellow of All Soul's Coll, Oxf. was a celebrated Botanist and Antiquarian. He was Consul of Smyrna from 1705 to 1715, and in 1705 had visited the Seven Churches of Asia, and copied near 100 inscriptions. He travelled over Asia Minor again in 1709, with Dr. Picanini and Dr. Lisle, and collected a number of ancient inscriptions, deposited in Lord Oxford's library, &c. He died Aug. 11, 1728, and was buried at Eltham, leaving

H 3

300!. zool. to the Botany-professorship of the Physic Garden at Oxford. Gent. Mag Vol. 66, p. 811. .

4. James Sherard, M D.F.R.S. his younger brother, was many years an apothecary in London; but in the latter part of life having taken the degree of M.D. he retired to Eltham, where he continued his favourite amusement, the cultivation of valuable and uncommon plants; of which a curious catalogue was published under the title of “Hortus Elthamensis, sive plantarum rariarum quas in horto suo Elthami in Cantio collegit vir ornatissimus et præstantissimus Iac. Sherard, M.D. Soc. Reg. et Coll. Med. Lond. Soc. Gulielmi P. M. frater, delineationes & descriptiones, quarum historia vel plane non, vel imperfecte a rei herbariæ scriptoribus tradita fuit; auctore Jacobo Dillenio M.D. London, 1732.” Of this, a new edition with the Linnæan names was published at Leyden, in 1772.

Dr. James Sherard, died very rich, 12 Feb. 1738, æt. 72, and was buried at Evington in Leicestershire, where is a monument to his memory.


5. REV. ROBERT SMYTH, Antiquary. The Rev. Robert Smyth, Rector of Woodston near Peterborough, who died 15 Sept. 1761, aged 62, was an antiquary of uncommon exactness and labour. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge; and was afterwards a Member of the Gentlemen's Society at Spalding. Nothing could exceed his attentive industry, which he exercised not only in transcribing various Visitation-books and monumental inscripțions, but in improving them by his own judicious


remarks and additions; and in his great collections for the topograpbical history of the counties around him.

But the work, on which he spent most time, was a History of the Sheriffs throughout England, built upon that of Dr. Fuller in his Worthies, and “enlarged,” ? as he says, “not a little, by beginning at the Conquest, and bringing the lists down to the present times, distinguishing each Sheriff all the way by his proper title of honour, seat, and coat-armour, and adding the history of the chief families and persons, with such a mixture of their pedigree and descent, as seems proper to attend the whole, and particularly to observe in whom, and when, any such families came to a conclusion, and in what others their honours, fortunes, &c. became settled by their heirs-female, and so as to carry this latter part through, (though this part to be only mentioned in brief) to the present possessors of them.” These MSS. are supposed to have been destroyed after his death. That event happened in consequence of bathing, immediately after which he expired in the shop of a friend at Peterborough. Gent. Mag. Vol. 66, pp. 637, 913.


6. MR. AITON, Botanist. Mr. Aiton, whose name is known to literature by his HORTUS KEWENSIS, was born in 1731 at a small village near Hamilton in Scotland. Having been brought up to Horticulture, he came in 1754 to England, and soon after attracted the notice of Mr. Philip Miller, the author of the “ Gardener's Dic. tionary,” and superintendant of the Physic Garden at Chelsea. Here he improved his skill in botany, which


H 4

« ZurückWeiter »