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to himself, very often omits the intermediate steps and connecting links in his demonstrations.* He jumps

over the interval, and grasps the conclusion as by intuition. Dr. Bowditch used to say, "I never come across one of La Place's Thus it plainly appears,' without feeling sure that I have got hours of hard study before me to fill up the chasm, and find out and show how it plainly appears." It was in the year 1815, at Salem, that he began this herculean task, and finished it in two years, in 1817. The Commentary kept pace with the Translation; but whilst the publication was in hand, his alterations and additions were so numerous that it might almost be considered a new draft of the work.

Let it not be said, in disparagement of the labors of Dr. Bowditch, that this was not an original work, but merely a translation. Suppose that it had been so.

* Dr. Bowditch himself says, in his Introduction to the first volume, "The object of the author, in composing this work, as stated by him in his Preface, was to reduce all the known phenomena of the system of the world to the law of gravity, by strict mathematical principles; and to complete the investigations of the motions of the planets, satellites, and comets, begun by Newton in his Principia. This he has accomplished, in a manner deserving the highest praise, for its symmetry and completeness; but from the abridged manner, in which the analytical calculations have been made, it has been found difficult to be understood by many persons, who have a strong and decided taste for mathematical studies, on account of the time and labor required, to insert the intermediate steps of the demonstrations, necessary to enable them easily to follow the author in his reasoning. To remedy, in some measure, this defect, has been the chief object of the translator in the Notes."

What then? Was it not still a benefaction to this country and to Great Britain, thus to bring it within the reach and compass of the American and English mind?* It is truly said by an old writer, "So well is he worthy of perpetual fame that bringeth a good work to light, as is he that first did make it, and ought always to

* The only attempts that have been made in England to grapple with the great work of La Place are, 1. "An Elementary Treatise upon Analytical Mechanics, being the First Book of the Mécanique Céleste of La Place; translated and elucidated with Explanatory Notes, by the Rev. John Toplis, B. D., London. 1814." 8vo.-2. "Elementary Illustrations of the Celestial Mechanics of La Place, [by Thomas Young, M. D.] London. 1821." 8vo.-3. "A Treatise on Celestial Mechanics, by P. S. La Place; translated from the French, and elucidated with Explanatory Notes, by Rev. Henry H. Harte, Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin. Part First, Book First, 1822. Book Second, 1827. Dublin." 4to.

It is not surprising that two out of the three translators of parts of La Place's work in England are clergymen. The clergy in England, as well as on the continent, and in this country, have ever been not only among the warmest patrons, but the foremost and most successful cultivators, of all branches of science and letters. Passing over the names of continental scholars, we have, in science, the names of Flamsteed, astronomer royal, Barrow and Whiston, both professors of mathematics at Cambridge, Bp. Sprat, one of the founders of the Royal Society and its first historian, Thomas Birch, the author of the more extended history of the same Society, Joseph Priestley, Richard Kirwan, Dr. Pearson, lately deceased, and among the living, Whewell, Buckland, Kirby, Sedgwick, Conybeare, Lardner, Baden Powell, Prof. of Geometry at Oxford, James Cumming, Prof. of Chemistry at Cambridge, &c. &c. The published Translations and Reports of "The British Association for the Advancement of Science," show that some of the most prominent and active men at its sessions are clergymen. Then, in classical literature, we have the two great names of Richard Bentley and Gilbert Wakefield, and in history, Robertson.

In this country, while the clergy have done their full part in the ad

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be reckoned the second father thereof."* But the fact is, it is more than half an original commentary and exposition, simplifying and elucidating what was before complex and obscure, supplying omissions and deficiencies, fortifying the positions with new proofs and

vancement of science and letters, the history of the country has been almost exclusively written by them. Witness the names of Cotton Mather, Thomas Prince, Gordon, Eliot, Holmes, Belknap, Smith of New Jersey, Trumbull, Freeman, Sparks, George Bancroft. In philosophy, the great name of Jonathan Edwards stands at the head; and glancing over the names of Witherspoon, Samuel Smith, and President Dwight, we have, among the living, Dr. Miller and President Wayland. In mechanical philosophy, the late Dr. Prince, of Salem, had no equal. In general literature and criticism, the name of Edward Everett is in itself a host; Dr. Channing, as an essay-writer, has no rival; and in the department of theology, let me point to the recent contributions of Norton and Palfrey. The editors of our principal Reviews, the North American, the New York Review, the Christian Examiner, have been and still are clergymen; e. g. E. Everett, Sparks, Prof. Palfrey, Dr. Hawkes, Dr. Walker, F. W. P. Greenwood; and the best and most popular writers in them, including the names just mentioned, are of the clerical profession, e. g. Andrews Norton, Orville Dewey, W. B. O. Peabody, H. Ware jr., George Ripley, and many others, whom I have not space to specify. It will be seen that I only glance at this subject; it deserves to be followed up. It has been too much the fashion to represent the clergy as a body apart by themselves, taking no interest in any thing but their professional studies, and doing nothing to promote the progress of general knowledge. Nothing can be more untrue and unjust than this charge. I believe it will be found that the clergy, as a body, in this country, have done more for general literature, history, philosophy, and science, than all other professions and occupations, put together. See 2 Corinthians xii. 11. "Every man," says Lord Bacon, "is a debtor to his profession." I want to pay my debt.

*John Bale's Conclusion to John Leland's "Laborious Journey and Search for England's Antiquities."

giving additional weight and efficiency to the old ones; and, above all, recording the subsequent discoveries, and bringing down the science to the present time.* I have heard it said that La Place, to whom Dr. Bowditch sent a list of errors, (which however he never had the grace to acknowledge in any way),† once remarked, "I am sure that Mr. Bowditch comprehends my work, for he has not only detected my errors, but has also shown me how I came to fall into them."

The manner in which he published this work affords a striking illustration of the spirit of independence, which was a prominent feature in his character. He had been frequently solicited and urged by his numerous

It is highly honorable to the sex, that the best, may I not say, the only Exposition of La Place's work that has appeared in England, is from the pen of a female, the accomplished MARY SOMERVILLE, wife of Dr. Somerville, of Chelsea Hospital; a lady, who to profound acquisitions in science, and a practical skill in several of the elegant arts, adds the faithful discharge of all household duties. On visiting her house in 1933, in company with a son of Dr. Bowditch, I remember observing that the walls of the drawing-rooms were hung round with the beautiful productions of her own pencil.-The Edinburgh Review said of her work, entitled "The Mechanism of the Heavens," on its first appearance, in 1821, "This unquestionably is one of the most remarkable works that female intellect ever produced, in any age or country; and, with respect to the present day, we hazard little in saying that Mrs. Somerville is the only individual of her sex in the world who could have written it."

†This, possibly, may have been an inadvertence, or the letter of acknowledgment may have miscarried on the way. It is certain that his widow received the son of the American mathematician with great kindness and consideration, when, in the year 1833, he went to Paris to pursue his medical studies, carrying out with him the second volume of

wealthy friends, and by eminent scientific men, and formally requested by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, to permit them to print it at their expense, for the honor of the country, and for the cause of science. He was well aware, however, that there was not sufficient taste in the community for such studies to justify an enterprise which would involve a great outlay, and, as he thought, would bring him under pecuniary obligations to others. I recollect conversing with him once on this subject, when he said to me, in his usual ardent way, "Sir, I did not choose to give an opportunity to such a man (mentioning his name) to point up to his book-case and say, 'I patronized Mr. Bowditch by subscribing for his expensive work,'-not a word of which he could understand. No. I preferred to wait till I could afford to publish it at my own expense. That time at last arrived; and if, instead of setting up my coach, as I might have done, I

his father's work. He was immediately invited to a splendid soirée, and on entering the brilliant saloon, filled with the savans of France, he was unexpectedly greeted by seeing on the centre table,--the only thing on it, the identical volume which he had brought over with him-a delicate compliment, which none but a graceful French woman would have thought of paying. Madame La Place subsequently sent to Dr. Bowditch the noble bust of her husband, which now stands on the secretary in the Library. This bust is ultimately to go to Harvard College, according to the following provision in his Will.

"Item. The bust of La Place, presented to me by his widow, and which was brought to me from Europe by my son Henry, I give to my said son for life, and at his death to said President and Fellows of Harvard College."

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