Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

war. It was only closed by the death of the latter, whereupon D. ascended the throne of Judah, with the city of Hebron as his capital. The other tribes elected Ishbosheth, a son of Saul, to be their king, after whose murder D. first acquired possession of the entire kingdom, over which he ruled from 1055 until his death in 1015 B. c. His first undertaking in his new office was a war against the Jebusites. He took their chief city, Jerusalem, and made it his residence, as also the centre of the religious worship of the Hebrews. Subsequently, he subjugated the Philistines, Amalekites, EdomiteB, Moabites, Ammonites, and, after a long war, the Syrians. His kingdom now stretched from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean, and from Syria to the Red Sea, and contained a population of 5,000,000. He fostered navigation and trade, especially with Tyre, and sought to instruct the Hebrews in the arts. No less careful was he of the religion of his countrymen. He divided the priests and Levites into classes, and appointed sacred singers and poets for the musical service of God. Law and justice likewise received improvements at his hands, through the institution of higher and lower judiciary courts, while he secured the stability of his power by the formation of a standing army. Besides this, there were twelve governors over the tribes of Israel, 'who may perhaps be compared to the lord-lieutenants of English counties.' D. was not, however, without his trials. Two conspiracies were formed against him in his own family, and although both failed, they greatly imbittered his life. His sensual excesses also drove him into acts of criminality, the memory of which haunted him for ever. 'My sin is continually before me.' Yet we cannot help recognising in the man, in spite of all his errors and sins, a sincerity of moral feeling rarely equalled in history. His passions might lead him astray, but they never blinded his conscience. The crime once committed, D. never tried to find excuses for it, and so blunt the edge of his deserved misery. The psalms which he has left reveal to us the naked soul of the royal poet wrestling with a host of black troubles, fears, and doubts, out of which, however, as from the seething bosom of chaos, there emerges at last a 'full-orbed faith,' made perfect by suffering and much tribulation. There has never been trust in God more clear, unwavering, and tender than that expressed in the 23d Psalm. It is this many-sided experience of life that has made the ' Psalms of David' (though it is uncertain who made the collection, which contains many not written by David himself) the most precious heritage of the afflicted and tried in all ages of the Christian Church.—By those theologians who look upon Jewish history as having a typical or allegorical meaning as well as a literal one, D. is regarded as a type of Christ.

DAVID I. (often called St David), king of Scotland, was the youngest of the six sons of King Malcolm Ceanmohr, by his second wife, the AngloSaxon princess, St Margaret (q. v.). He was born about the year 1080. During the fierce struggle for the Scottish crown, which followed the deatnof his father in 1093, the youthful D. seems to have found refuge in England, along with his sister, Eadgyth or Matilda, who, in 1100, married Henry I., king of England. The residence of D. at the court of this accomplished monarch would appear to have been prolonged for several years, and the assertion of a contemporary English annalist may well be credited, that'it freed him from the rust of Scottish barbarity.'

In 1107, his elder brother, Alexander, succeeded to the throne, and D. became Prince of Cumbria, a territory which comprised what are now the

shires of Cumberland, Dumfries, Roxburgh, Selkirk, Peebles, Lanark, Dumbarton, Renfrew, and Ayr, and was held of the English king by the heir of the king of the Scots. Along with this great principality, he seems to have held lands in Lothian; and by his marriage in 1110 with Matilda, widow of the Earl of Northampton, he acquired possession of that earldom, together with a claim to the rest of the vast domains of her father, Waltheof, Earl of Huntingdon, of Northampton, and of Northumberland. The first act of £>., as Prince of Cumbria, was to restore the fallen bishopric of Glasgow, which he committed to the charge of his old preceptor, John. His next act was to bring a colony of Benedictine monks from the newly founded monastery of Tiron, in France, and to plant them beside his forest castle of Selkirk. This was in 1113; and even thus early, as his charters shew, he had gathered round him the Braces, the Lindsays, the Morvilles, the Umfravilles, the Percies, the Riddels, and other Anglo-Norman knights, through whose help he was to effect such a momentous change in Scotland.

In 1124, he succeeded to the Scottish throne, on the death of his brother, King Alexander I. That prince had had to fight for his crown against the heirs of the old Celtic dynasties, supported by the wild tribes of the north and tho west. They renewed the struggle with his successor, first in 1130, when they advanced almost to the gates of Brechin; and again about twenty years later, when they appear to have been encountered on the plains of Murray. On both occasions, the Anglo-Norman chivalry with which D. had garrisoned the southern provinces, gave him decisive, but far from easy victories. He was less fortunate in his wars beyond the Tweed. In 1127, he had sworn, along with the other great barons of England, to maintain the right of his niece, Matilda, as heir of the English crown, should her father, Henry I., die without male issue of his own body. The event thus contemplated came to pass in 1135; and when Stephen mounted the English throne, D. took arms in behalf of Matilda, and subdued almost all the country to the south of Durham. Peace was restored by the grant of the earldom of Huntingdon, and the promise of the earldom of Northumberland, to D.'s son Henry, then in his 20th year. But the war was soon resumed; and in 1138, the king of Scots, deserted by Bruce and others of his Anglo-Norman vassals, was signally defeated in 'the Battle of the Standard,' near Northallerton. The next year, a second peace was concluded between the two kings, when the promised earldom of Northumberland was bestowed on D.'s son Henry. In 1141, the Scottish king marched into England for the third time to assert the rights of Matilda. He was a third time defeated, and only regained his own country with difficulty.

The rest of his reign was devoted to the accomplishment of the great revolution which had been begun by his father, King Malcolm, and his mother, St Margaret, and continued by his brothers, King Edgar and King Alexander—the establishment in Scotland of the civilisation which obtained in England. By building castles, he secured the peace and safety of the country; by erecting burghs, he promoted its trade, shipping, and manufactures, and laid the foundations of its freedom; by endowing bishoprics and monasteries, he provided homes for the only men of learning and enlightenment known in his time. His descendant. King James L, standing by his tomb in Dunfermline, is said to' have complained that 'he was ane sore sanct for the crown;' but the remark, if it was ever made, would only shew that the sloth and ignorance of the clergy in the 15th c had blotted out the remembrance of the great services which they rendered to mankind in the 12th c, when they were the schoolmasters, the statesmen, the lawyers, the physicians, the bankers, the engineers, the artists, the builders, the glaziers, the agriculturists, and the gardeners of the age. One who was a hard judge of monarchs—the great scholar, Buchanan—said with much more truth,'that if men were to set themselves to draw the image of a good king, they would fall short of what David shewed himself throughout the whole course of his life.'

King D. died at Carlisle on the 24th May 1163. His son Henry had died in the previous June, and he was succeeded by his grandson, Malcolm, then in his twelfth year. The oldest Scottish painting now known to exist—an illuminated charter to the monks of Kelso, written in 1159—preserves rude miniatures of the young king and his saintly grandfather. It is engraved in facsimile in the Liber S. Marie de Calchou, presented to the Bannatyne Club by the Duke of Roxburghe in 1846. Some pleasing traits of King D.'s personal character —which seems to have been in many ways truly admirable—are preserved in the Eulogium Davidis Regit Scotorum, by his friend St Ailred, abbot of Bievaux, printed in Finkerton's Vita Antiqua Sanctorum Scotia; (Lond. 1789). Other instructive materials for the king's life are supplied by the same writer in his tract De Bello Standard*, printed (together with other contemporary accounts of the battle) in Twysden's Hietorke Anglioana Scriptores Decern (Lond. 1652); and by Joceline of Fumes in his Vita S. WaWievi (abbot of Melrose, and D.'s stepson), printed by the Bollandists in the Acta Sanctorum, and in a less 'perfect state in Fordun's Scotichronicon. The remains of D.'s legislation, including the interesting code of the Leges Burgorum, have been carefully collected in the first volume of The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland (Edin. 1844).

King D. is often called St David. He was never formally canonised, or placed in the roll of saints of the Roman Catholic Church; but his name was inserted in the calendar prefixed to King Charles's Prayer-book for Scotland, printed at Edinburgh in 1637.

DAVID II. See Bruce.

DAVID, Felicten, a French composer, was born 8th March 1810, at Cadenet, in the department of Vaucluse. He was at first a chorister m the cathedral of Aix, and at the age of twenty entered the Paris Conservatoire. He threw himself earnestly into the social speculations of his day; became an ardent disciple of St Simon, and afterwards of Enfantin; and finally, on the break-up of the brotherhood attempted at Menilmontant in 1832, he betook himself, along with eleven of his fellowdreamers, to the East, there to realise his theory of life in undisturbed peace. The little knot of enthusiasts reached Constantinople, whence they made their way to Smyrna and Cairo. As they had no means, they suffered greatly from want, Bickness, and ill-usage. The plague forced them to flee from Egypt, through the desert, to the coasts of Syria. It is said that they dragged a piano with them over the sands, and often, when they rested on their toilsome march among the wild tribes of the wilderness, D., whose ear was quick to catch the native airs of the East, sent forth enchanting strains from the instrument, and made his comrades forget their misfortunes. In 1835, he reached France, and published his Mtlodies Orientales for the pianoforte. They were unsuccessful; and D. remained in obscurity till 1844, when he brought

out at the Conservatoire his Desert, a grand Odesymphonic, as he called it, the words of which were furnished by his friend and fellow-wanderer, M. August* Colin. Its success was sudden and complete. D. was declared a master at once, and his Dtsert was performed in all the theatres. Subsequently, he travelled through Belgium and Germany, and was everywhere greeted with applause; his imitation of the scenes of nomadic life being considered as perfect as music could achieve. D.'a later works, however, have not sustained the reputation he acquired by his Dfsert. The principal are—Molse sur le Sinai (1846), Christophe Colombe, and Le Paradis (1847), and a comic opera entitled La Perle du Brtsil (1851).

DAVID, Jacques Louis, the founder of the modern French school of painting, and, according to his countrymen,' the regenerator of French art, was born at Paris, 30th August 1748, and studied under Vien both at Paris and Borne. His first efforts by no means indicated the latent tendencies of his mind. His devotion to the classic style of art was first perceptible to any extent after his second visit to Rome in 1784, where he executed his 'HoratiL' It excited the greatest enthusiasm. In 1787, he painted 'The Death of Socrates;' in

1788, 'The Loves of Paris and Helen;' and in

1789, 'Brutus condemning his Son.' During the Revolution, he was artistic superintendent of those grand national fetes and solemnities that recalled (but rather theatrically) the customs of ancient Greece. As a member of the Convention, he voted for the death of Louis XVI.; he was a hot Jacobin, and a member of the Committee of Public Safety, in all the atrocities of which he shared, and, in consequence, was twice imprisoned after the fall of Robespierre. To the period of the Revolution belong his ' Murder of Marat,' 'Murder of Pelletier,' and his 'Oath taken in the Tennis Court.' His genius culminated in the 'Rape of the Sabines' (1799). In 1804, Napoleon appointed him his first painter, and gave him a number of commissions, and among his best and most celebrated works are several historic portraits of the emperor, such as 'Napoleon crossing the Alps.' D. was warmly attached to Napoleon, and in 1814, when the Duke of Wellington paid a visit to his studio, and expressed a wish that the artist' would paint his portrait, he coldly replied: 'I never paint Englishmen.' As one of the regicides of Louis XVI., he was banished in 1816 from France, and he died in exile at Brussels, December 29, 1825. D.'s later style is more free and natural than his earlier, in which his figures, although manifesting quite an ideal beauty of form, have all the rigidity of sculpture, and lack that vital expression which creates a sympathy in the mind of the beholder. Among the paintings executed by him during his banishment were—'Love and Psyche,' 'The Wrath of Achilles,' and 'Mars disarmed by Venus.' The number of his pupils who acquired distinction was very great.

DAVID, Pierre Jean, a French sculptor, commonly called David d'Angers, was born at Angers, 12th March 1789; went to Paris when very young; and studied art under his namesake, Jacques Louis David (q. v.). In 1811, his ' Death of Epaminondos' obtained the first prize for sculpture given by the Academy of Arts. D. now visited Rome, where he formed a friendship with Canova. In 1816, he returned to France. A statue of the Great CondS, which he executed about this time, established his reputation. In 1826, he was named a member of the Institute, and appointed a professor in the School of the Fine Arts. Two years later, he went to Germany, where he executed a colossal bust of Goethe for the library at Weimar; and in a second tour in 1834, similar busts of Dannecker, Schelling, Tieck, and Rauch, as well as many portraitstatues of life-size. During the July revolution, D. had fought in the ranks of the people, and, in consequence, he was employed by the new government to execute the frontispiece of the Pantheon in 1835. He finished it in 1837. By many it is considered his chef-d'auvre. In 1848, the wellknown republicanism of the artist procured for him the honour of a seat in the Constituent Assembly. After the coup-d'Uat, lie was sent into exile, and went to Greece, but soon after returned to France. He died 5th January 1856. It would be impossible to enumerate all D.'s works. The principal are—'A Young Girl at the Tomb of Botzaris,' 'A Monument of Bonchamp,' 'A Virgin at the Foot of the Cross,' a 'Saint John,' statues of General Foy, Marshal St Cyr, Corneille, Fenelon, and Racine, and busts of La Fayette, Beranger, Rossini, Chateaubriand, Balzac, and Casimir Delavigne. There is great force of expression in many of D.'s works, but the drawing and execution are not always accurate.

DAVID—DA VILA.

DAVID, or DEWI, St, the patron saint of Wales, was, according to tradition, the son of the Prince of Ceretica (Cardiganshire), and was born about the end of the 5th or beginning of the 6th century. Having resolved on a religious life, he spent, as was customary in those days, a probationary period in solitude, after which he commenced preaching to his countrymen. He built a chapel at Glastonbury, and founded twelve monasteries, the chief of which was at Menevia, in the vale of Ross. At the synod of Brevy, in Cardiganshire, held in 519, St D. shewed himself a strong opponent of the Pelagian heresy. Subsequently, he became Archbishop of Caerleon-upon-Usk, but transferred his see to Menevia, now called St Davids, where he died about the year 601. St D. was celebrated for his eloquence and success in conversion. Several works have been ascribed to him, but these are no longer extant. His life was written by Ricemarch, Bishop of St David's, who died about the year 1099. The Historia S. Davidis, by Giraldus Cambrensis, written about 1175, and published in Wharton's Anglia Sacra, is little more than an abridgment of Ricemarch's work.

DAVID, a town on the left bank of a river of the same name, is situated near the south-west extremity of Veragua, the most westerly province of New Granada, and lying on the frontier of Costa Rica, in Central America. D. is in lat. 8° 23 N., and lone. 82° 27' W., and is separated by a comparatively narrow part of the Isthmus of Darien from the lagoon of Chiriqui, an inlet of the Caribbean Sea, which, with sufficient depth for large Bhips,

fenetrates nearly 50 miles into the land towards the acific Ocean. To this position the place appears to owe its prosperity. Though of recent origin, it numbered, in 1843,4321 inhabitants, with a constant and regular immigration. It exports rice, coffee, hides, turtle, shells, and gold-dust. Its climate is understood to be comparatively Balubrious.

DAVIDS, St, an ancient but now decayed episcopal city, in the west of Pembrokeshire, the westmost town in Wales. It is situated on the streamlet Allan, a mile from its mouth, near St David's Head, on the north side of St Bride's Bay. It has been the seat of a bishopric since about 519, when St David transferred the archbishop's see to St D. (before called Mynyw, and by the Romans Menevia) from Caerleon. It was in the middle ages a large city—the great resort of pilgrims to St DavicTs shrine; it is now a small village, with only a few good houses, besides those of the clergy.

It has a fine cathedral, and splendid remains of religious houses, episcopal palace, and St Mary's College (founded by John of Gaunt), within a high embattled wall nearly a mile in circuit. These were Beveral times pillaged and burned by the Danes and others during the 9th and two following centuries. The cathedral, founded in 1180, on the site of the monastery of St David, is cruciform. Its dimensions, in the interior, are as follows: length, 290 feet; breadth, 76; nave, 124; choir, 80; transept, 120; central tower, 127 feet high. It contains a curious movable pulpit, an elaborately worked bishop's throne; the tomb of the Earl of Richmond, father of Henry VII.; and also sepulchral monuments of the early bishops of the see, as Giraldus Cambrensis, Anselm, &c. Among the former bishops, may be named Laud, Bull, South, and Horsley. The present occupant of the see is Connop Thirlwall, the historian of Greece. The cathedral establishment includes a bishop, a dean, four canons, five vicars choral, and other officers residentiary, with four archdeacons, and 12 prebendaries, or honorary canons, non-resident The bishop has £4500 a year, and lives at Abergwili, near Caermarthen. Pop. (1861) 1500, chiefly agricultural labourers. William the Conqueror made an offering as a pilgrim at St David's Bhrine. Cairns, tumuli, holy wells, chapels, crosses, &c, abound around St D., and especially at St David's Head, a high rugged promontory two miles northwest of the city, and the westmost point in Wales, in lat. 51° 54' N., and long. 5° 20' W.

DA'VIES, Sir John, a poet and statesman of some reputation, was the son of a legal practitioner in Wiltshire, and was born in 1570. At the age of 15 he was sent to Queen's College, Oxford, where, five years after, he took his degree of B.A., having spent two of these years in the Middle Temple, where he studied law. He was called to the bar in 1595, but forfeited his privileges, and eventually was expelled from the Temple on account of certain indiscretions. He began his political career in 1601. In 1603, he was sent by James I. as Bolicitor-general to Ireland, and almost immediately after, he became attorneygeneral. He was called to the degree of sergeantat-law in 1606, and in the spring of the following year received the honour of knighthood. On the assembling of the Irish parliament, called in 1613, D. was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons. In 1620, he took his seat in the English parliament as member for Newcastle-under-Lyne. He died suddenly of apoplexy, December 7, 1626.

As a lawyer, the character of D. is that of a man of great learning and talent. His lieports of Cases adjudged in the King's Courts in Ireland, published in 1615, were the first reports of Irish cases ever published, and had a preface from the pen of D., which was esteemed by an old critic as the best that was ever prefixed to a law-book. But it is as a poet that he is chiefly notable. His Orchestra, or a Poem on Dancing (1596), was followed by his great work, the Nosce Telpsum, a Poem on the Soul and the Immortality thereof (1599). His verse is elegant without being artificial, and flowing without being careless, while its compact structure is remarkable for his times. Among his miscellaneous works may be mentioned his Discovery of the True Cause why Ireland teas never Subdived entirely until the Reign of King James I. (Lond. 1612), a work which has always been considered of great value to political inquirers.

DA VILA, Enrico Caterino, a celebrated Italian historian, was born at Pieve di Sacco, in the vicinity of Padua, October 30, 1576. D., when seven years old, was taken to France for his education. At the age of 18, he entered the service of Henry IV., •which he afterwards exchanged for the military service of Venice. On his way to Crema, to take command of the garrison, in 1631, he was shot by a postmaster on the road, with whom he had quarrelled. D. has been rendered famous by his great work, entitled Storia delle Guerre Civili di Francia (History of the Civil Wars in France), (Venice, 1630), comprising^ that eventful period from the death of Henry II., 1559, to the peace of Vervins in 1598. D. is universally regarded as one of the best historical writers of Italy.

[ocr errors]

DAVIS, Jefferson', a political character noted in the modern history of the United States of America, | first made himself conspicuous as a member of the House of Representatives, and afterwards of the National Senate, in which he represented the state of Mississippi At the commencement of the Mexican war he left Congress, and engaged actively in the contest. Having the advantage of a military training, and having served in the regular army, he eoon acquired distinction. When Pierce was elected president in 1853, D. was appointed secretary of war, and at this period ho exercised a powerful influence in the administration—ruling, in fact, the president as well as the greater number of the members of the cabinet. When Buchanan became president, he left the cabinet, but was returned to the senate by the legislature of Mississippi, which position he retained till the secession of his state. On the 18th February 1861, the southern states, which had previously passed votes professing to secede from the Union on account of the election of Mr Lincoln to the presidency, formally appointed D. to be their president at Montgomery, Alabama.

DAVIS, John, an eminent navigator of the latterpart of the 16th c., was born at Sandridge, near Dartmouth, and is principally distinguished for having, between 1585 and 1588, undertaken three voyages to the northern seas in search of a north-west passage. In the first voyage, he sailed as far north as the 73d degree of latitude, and discovered the strait which Dears his name. He afterwards made five voyages to the East Indies, in the last of which he was killed in a fight with some Japanese on the coast of Malacca. This event took place in 1605. He is the author of several works, among which the chief are—The World's Hydrograph'ical Description, wlierein is proved that Vie World, in all its Zones, Climates, and Places, is Habitable and Inhabited, and Vie Seas likewise universally navigable (Lond. 1595); and The Seaman's Secrets, wherein is taught Vie Three Kinds of Sailing, Horizontal, Paradoxal, and Sailing upon a Great Circle, 8vo (Lond. 1595).

DAVIS, Sm John Francis, Bart., born in London 1795, long resident in China as chief superintendent of Canton, and afterwards as governor and commander-in-chief of the colony of Hong-kong, is one of the best and most trustworthy authorities on China and the Chinese. In 1845, D. was created a baronet, and received the order of Knight Grand Cross of the Bath in 1854. Sir Francis D. is deputylieutenant of the county of Gloucester. His China, durmg Vie War and since the Peace, appeared in 185? and was followed in 1857 by his China, a General Description of Vial Empire.

DA'VIS' STRAIT, so called from the navigator who discovered it, forms the southern part of that inlet of the Atlantic which washes the western coast of Greenland. It thus connects Baffin's Bay, and also, in some sense, Hudson's Strait, with the open ocean. At its narrowest point, it measures 160 in ilea across. It is largely frequented by whaling-ships.

[merged small][graphic][merged small]

and used as a crane for hoisting the anchor out of the water clear of her bow; two such pieces of timber or iron on her side, or stern, are used for hoisting or lowering the boats.

DAVOUT (not Davoust, as commonly written), Louis Nicolas, a French marshal, was born 10th May 1770, at Annoux, in the old province of Burgundy; was educated along with Bonaparte at the military school of Brienne; and in 1785, became sub-lieutenant in a cavalry regiment. During the revolutionary wars, he rose to the rank of general. He accompanied Bonaparte to the East, where he mainly contributed to the victory at Aboukir, and otherwise distinguished himself both in Upper and Lower Egypt. On his return to France, he was named general of division in 1800, commander-in-chief of the consular grenadier guards in 1801, and marshal of the empire m 1804. In the campaigns of 1805, 1806, and 1807, he acted a brilliant part in the great victories obtained by the French at Ulm, Austerlitz, Jena, Auerstadt, Eylau, and Friedland. In reward of his bravery, Bonaparte created him Duke of Auerstadt (July 2, 1808). On the renewal of the war with Austria in 1809, D.'s star was again in the ascendant, and he was created Prince of Eckmiihl for his services at the battle of EckmUhl. At Wagram, he performed prodigies of valour. Appointed governor of Poland, he ruled that country in a spirit of the harshest despotism, and provoked the reproaches of the emperor, but, nevertheless, did not change his system. In the Russian campaign of 1812, he gathered fresh laurels on the fields of Mohilow and Borodino. After the retreat from Moscow, D. became governor-general of the Hanse towns, and established himself at Hamburg, where he gallantly maintained himself till the first restoration of the Bourbons. On the return of Bonaparte from Elba, D. was appointed war-minister, and in this office shewed a remarkable genius for the rapid organisation of troops and supplies. After the battle of Waterloo, he received the command of the relics of the French army under the walls of Paris. He would have continued the contest, had he not been ordered by the Provisional Government in the capital to conclude a military convention with the allies. In 1819, he was made a peer of France. His death took place June 1, 1823. Firmness of character and dauntless courage were D.'s leading characteristics; but his military severities often went the length of harshness, and even cruelty, while his rapacity had in it something akin to barbarism.

[ocr errors]

DAVY, Sir Humphry, one of the greatest chemists of his own or of any age, was born on the 17th December 1778, at Penzance, in Cornwall, where his father was a carver in wood. At the school of Truro, where he was educated until he was 15, he shewed little relish for classical learning, but he was distinguished for a highly retentive memory and an early passion for poetry, which never forsook him. Another prominent trait of his character was equally early developed: as a child, he would angle even in the gutters of the streets; and only two years before his death, and after his health had given way, he published his interesting volume, Salmemia, or Days of Fly-fisliing. Soon after leaving school, he became apprentice to a surgeon and apothecary in Penzance. He at the same time entered upon a course of study all but universal. 'Speculations on religion and politics, on metaphysics and morals, are placed in his notebooks in juxtaposition with stanzas of poetry and fragments of romance.' A system of mathematical study, sceptical philosophy, Scotch metaphysics and German transcendentalism, ^successively engaged his attention. The study of natural philosophy brought him nearer to that department which was to be his own; but it was not till he had reached his 19th year, that he entered Beriously upon the study of chemistry. He now made the acquaintance of Dr Beddoes, who had established a Pneumatic Institution at Clifton, and who took him as his assistant. Here D. carried on a course of experiments on the respiration of different gases, in which he had more than once nearly sacrificed his life. He thus discovered the singular exhilarating effect of nitrous oxide when breathed. The account which he published of his researches, established his reputation, and led to his appointment, at the age of 22, as lecturer to the Royal Institution of London. He delivered his first lecture in 1801; and his eloquence, and the novelty and variety of his experiments, soon attracted crowded and brilliant audiences. In 1803, he began researches connected with agriculture, on which he delivered a course of lectures. These were published in 1813, under the title of Elements of Agricultural C/iemistry, and form an era in that science. The discoveries, however, on which D.'s fame as a chemist chiefly rests, took their origin in the views which he developed in 1806, in his Bakerian lecture, On some Cliemical Agencies of Electricity. This essay was universally regarded as one of the most valuable contributions ever made to chemical science, and obtained the prize of the French Institute. Following out his principle, he was led to the grand discovery, that the alkalies and earths are compound substances formed by oxygen united with metallic bases. It was potash that he first succeeded in decomposing, on the 8th October 1807. When he first saw the globules of the new metal, potassium, his delight is said to have been so ecstatic that it required some time for him to compose himself to continue the experiment. He next decomposed soda and the alkaline earths, baryta, strontia, lime, and magnesia; and discovered the new metals, uxlium, barium, strontium, calcium, and magnesium. With regard to the earths proper, he succeeded in proving that they consist of bases united to oxygen.

It was reserved for Wijhler and others to exhibit the bases by themselves.

In 1812, D. was knighted, married a lady of considerable wealth, and resigned the chemical chair of the Royal Institution. That he might investigate his new theory of volcanic action, he received permission from the French government — though the two countries were then at war—to visit the continent, and was received with the greatest distinction by the scientific men of France. On returning to England in 1815, he entered on the investigation of the nature of fire-damp, which is the cause of explosions in coal-mines. This resulted in the invention of the safety-lamp (q. v.) —one of the most valuable presents ever made by science to humanity. Though the value of the invention was everywhere acknowledged, the only national reward was a baronetcy after a lapse of three years. This has been contrasted with the pension of £1200 a year bestowed by the same government on Sir William Congreve for the invention of his rocket. On the death of Sir Joseph Banks, in 1820, Sir Humphry D. was elected President of the Royal Society. His attention was shortly after called to the important object of preserving the copper-sheathing of vessels from corrosion by the action of sea-water. This ho effected by altering the electric condition of the copper by means of bands of zinc; but the bottoms of the vessels became so foul from the adhesion of weeds, shells, &c, that the plan had to be abandoned.

Early in 1825, Sir Humphry D. had begun to complain of the loss of strength, and, in 1826, he had a paralytic attack affecting his right side. He made two journeys to the contment for the recovery of his health, and died at Geneva on the 29th May 1829, at the early age of 51. The Genevese government evinced their respect by a public funeral So widely spread was the reputation of Sir Humphry D., that he was a member of almost all the scientific institutions in the world. Cuvier, in his Eloge, says: 'Mr Davy, not yet 32 years of age, occupied, in the opinion of all that could judge of such labours, the first rank among the chemists of this or of any other age.' Besides the works already mentioned, and a great number of contributions to the Philosophical Transactions, Sir Humphry D. published Elements of Cliemical Philosophy (Lond. 1812); and Consolations in Travel, or tlie Last Days of a Philosopher (3d ed. Lond. 1831), appeared after his death. See Memoirs of the Life of Sir Humphry D., by his brother (Lond. 1836, 2 vols.); and T/ie Life qfSir Humphry D., by Dr Paris (Lond. 1831).

DAVY'S SAFETY-LAMP. See Safety-lamp.

DAWA'LLA (Hypophtlialmus dawalla), a fish of the family Silurida, found in the rivers of Guiana, and highly esteemed for the delicacy of its flesh. It is sometimes two feet and a half long, and has a snout somewhat like that of a pike, but the mouth is furnished only with very minute teeth. The skin is destitute of scales, and the colours have that brightness so often seen in tropical fishes, green, brown, and carmine. The D. has become shy in the waters of the more populous and long-settled parts of Guiana, although easily captured in more remote regions.

DAWK, or DAK, a method of travelling in India which consists in posting by palanquin from station to station, or for any distance. The traveller must first purchase a strong palanquin, which he can have for from 40 to 100 rupees (£4 to £10), but which he can always dispose of when his journey has been completed, and generally at a profit. His clothes, together with whatever articles he may

« ZurückWeiter »