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His Public Appearance at Bristol.
repay the real lover of science for the loss of such a moment as
this.' But of his own services he entertained a remarkably modest opinion. He regarded his experiments as 'feathers, thrown up to show which way the winds of science blew. It is difficult to understand how he could labour for so long a time on a scale of such magnitude, bringing out one brilliant fact after another, and yet manifest such sublime indifference to the celebrity he was entitled to claim. The prizes of distinction were within his reach, but not a finger was extended to make them
If honours had been lying thick at his door, he would never have voluntarily opened it to welcome them in. A scientific hermit he would probably have remained to the last, had he not been pushed into fame by his admiring friends. It was not until the meeting of the British Association at Bristol, in the
year 1836, that the electrician was induced to lay the results of • about thirty years of sequestered toil before the public. His
statements produced a species of delirium in the audience. The simplicity of his manners, and the apparent unconsciousness that he had anything extraordinary to communicate, gave singular point to the striking disclosures he made. Many a savant looked on in amazement whilst he explained how he had formed mineral after mineral by the aid of his little noiseless rivulets of voltaic power. But when this new-found interpreter of nature intimated his conviction that one day men would probably be able to construct every sort of crystallized substance, and amongst these the glittering diamond itself, the excitement, as described by an observer, ' became so great, and the applause so general, as to ' leave an impression on the minds of the dense mass that filled
the lecture-room, scarcely to be equalled by any circumstance ' in their existence.' Dr. Buckland pronounced the discoveries to be of the highest order;' Dr. Dalton had never listened to anything 'so interesting before ;' and Professor Sedgwick stated that though Mr. Crosse had hitherto concealed himself in privacy, he must now stand before the world as public property.
From this sudden celebrity, the electrician endeavoured to extricate himself as speedily as possible. He slipped away from the scene of his involuntary triumph more like a culprit than a conqueror. The brilliant honours he had won did not affect him in the least, but he hastened home to his batteries, and continued to enlarge the borders of his favourite science with as much zeal as if he were the lowliest labourer in that interesting domain. His faith in the power of electricity was great. He believed that it was destined to work wonders, and that the time would come when it would produce greater and more permanent alterations in society than any which might arise from political convulsions.
He expressed his belief that it would be universally employed ' in a vast variety of manufactures over the whole civilized world.' That he was no visionary in his opinions may be inferred from the fact that upwards of forty years ago, when dining with some country gentlemen at Alfoxton Park, in Somersetshire, the conversation happened to turn upon the discoveries of the day; Crosse, then a shy young man, uttered the following prediction'I prophesy that by means of the electric agency we shall be enabled to communicate our thoughts instantaneously with the uttermost ends of the earth. Now we who are in the habit of seeing those marvellous wires which are constantly streaming with intelligence, and conveying it hundreds of miles without the slightest perceptible expenditure of time, may think little of such a prognostication ; but forty years ago the idea was just as hardy and incredible as it would be now to talk of establishing a line of balloon packets to ply regularly between the Monument and the Moon. And yet in forty years more the earth may be belted round with cables and wires, differences of time may be abolished, and diversities of speech all sunk in, or at any rate subordinated to, one universal language that spoken by the quivering needles of the telegraph.
But Crosse was not exclusively an electrician. He was poet as well.
Not that he was a bard of the highest order, or as expert with the pen as with the discharging rod. His inspiration has scarcely the smack of genuine Hippocrene. There is a tone of pensiveness about his lyrical pieces which cannot fail to touch the heart of a melancholy reader, and sometimes a tenderness of emotion which made his friend Kenyon say that he could not bear Crosse's verses because they tore his very heartstrings. But in his statelier compositions the author is partial to the stilts, and exhibits an awkwardness of movement which shows that poetry was not his natural vocation. His verses are too starched, and are stiffened with too much rhetorical material to produce a perfectly agreeable impression. It was certainly not from any belief in his prowess in this line that Mr. Crosse threw off thousands of couplets, and repeated them by the score whenever he could discover a ready and congenial listener. poetry was one way of investing his superabundant energies and of solacing his mind under a multitude of sorrows. Even here, too, bis ruling tastes were frequently exemplified in the selection of his topics, for he was employed at one time in the composition of an Electrical Poem,' and some of the most pleasing and flowing stanzas he penned are those in which Science is invoked as the Queen of the Earth.' Let it be remembered also that Andrew Crosse, the Poet.
Mr. Crosse's effusions were only written for himself and his friends. When he composed a lay he had not the slightest notion of piping it on Parnassus or selling it in Paternosterrow; nor should we omit to remark that some superior judges have spoken favourably of his poetical powers, and even treated him as a born Arcadian. One of his pieces, entitled 'Poland, is said to have been highly eulogized by Thomas Campbell
, though perhaps as much from sympathy with the subject as from admiration of the effort. And Walter Savage Landor addressed him as one dear to the Muses, and likely to draw tears from their eyes in case he should cease to cultivate their companionship. “ Although with earth and heaven you
With samples from your fervid lays ?" Such then was Andrew Crosse. Truly he was a right genuine and estimable man, full of noble sentiment, and alive with honourable emotion. Greatness and gentleness, knowledge and simplicity, wisdom and worth,—the fine sparkling elements which constitute the charm of a lofty and loveable character-all met in him, and brought about the happiest of marriages between the philosopher's head and the Christian's heart. Here was no dry pedantic professor of science with a mind reduced to mummy by long vigils amongst his crucibles and batteries - a man from whose nature all the ordinary viscera of humanity had been extracted—but a being susceptible of every shade of feeling from boyish glee to deathless attachment, and as capable of winning your regard by the fireside as he was of extorting your admiration in the lecture-room and laboratory. Few men have toiled more honestly, and at the same time more modestly, towards the Hill of Truth, and few have exhibited more indifference to the
proud steep' on which the Temple of Fame displays its dazzling front. There can be no doubt that he was perfectly sincere when he wrote to a friend, “You often talk of me as a philosopher. 'In the Greek sense of the term-a lover of wisdom-I am so, but a very humble and imperfect one, knowing well that little is * to be gleaned here, but praying devoutly that I may at some ' time be permitted to snatch a glance at what true knowledge ‘is. My soul would roam from sun to sun, from planet to * planet—inhaling every successive instant fresh portions of the Omniscient. He died 6th July, 1855, aged 71.
Art. V.-(1.) A Return of the Number of Electors in every County
and Division of County in Great Britain, according to the Registers of 1850—56, fc., . with the Population of eack County and Division of a County, according to the Census of 1851.
[House of Commons: Mr. LOCKE KING.] (2.) A Return, &c. [House of Lords : Lord BROUGHAM.) (3.) Speech of Lord Brougham on Representative Reform. House of
Lords. August 3, 1857. The expected Reform Bill may be assumed to be a measure rather ancillary to, than reconstructive of the great Act of 1832. It will probably be its aim to rectify, in a calm period, the defects which were introduced into that measure, either by the combination of parties or the violence of the times, and to adopt the improvements which an experience of a quarter of a century has since suggested. It will therefore be less comprehensive, but it will probably be more permanent.
A great reform, introductive at once of new principles, and of a correspondent change in the practical working of a legislative body, must almost necessarily be experimental in point of detail. The Reform Bill of 1831, as it was introduced by Lord John Russell, was based upon a theoretic recognition at once of the progressive and the prescriptive principle. Many of its provisions were inevitably the dictate, not of actual experience, but of theoretic reasoning. In dealing with the old constitution of the House of Commons, which exhibited a mass of prescriptive anomalies irreducible to a single consistent principle of action, it was often hard to determine, without the aid of direct experiment, the exact point at which these two opposite principles should be harmonized—where progress should vield to prescription, or where prescription should yield to progress. While, moreover, there would have existed this difficulty to be overcome, even if Lord Grey's Government had been the absolute arbiters of the question,
Subjects of Discussion.
357 the extraordinary exhibitions of popular violence compromised the discipline of party organization within the walls of Parliament, and the combination of the Radicals with the Toriesneither of whom entertained any such zeal for the union of the progressive and prescriptive principles-produced in the instance of the 'Chandos Clause,' the very provision of which the Radicals themselves are now the loudest to complain. The Reform Act, therefore, of 1832, though it might fairly be expected to be final in point of principle, could hardly be expected to be final in point of detail.
Assuming that this is the character of the question which is expected to receive the consideration of Parliament during the next session, it will here be our aim to enter upon a consideration of the chief practical grievances which it is sought to redress, arising out of the application of the general principles enunciated in the act of 1832.
Upon a question which will probably find the mind of every reader occupied with its own preconceptions, it is necessary to deal rather with matters of fact than with matters of opinion, and to appeal as directly as possible to the support of figures, and the testimony of experience. In these observations, therefore, we propose to call attention to the following classes of considerations :
1. The principle on which the right of representation is based, as involving the cardinal questions at issue between the different schools of Reform.
2. The reconstitution of the county franchise. 3. The reconstitution of the borough franchise.
4. The question of rendering the franchise perpetual in the person of each elector, and not contingent upon his maintenance of his original qualification-as sanctioned by the authority of Lord Brougham.
5. The disfranchisement of freemen.
6. The retention or introduction of other intangible qualifications.
7. The distributive re-arrangement of the county constituencies.
8. The distributive re-arrangement of the borough constituencies, and the pretensions of several large towns to enfranchisement.
I. With regard to the principle on which the right of repre, sentation is based, it is our aim, indeed, to avoid, as far as possible, any theoretic discussion ; but it happens to be upon the construction placed upon this right that the whole question.