view the just claim of the repre- infant navy, and contributed, as sentatives of commodore Decatur, much as any exploit in its history, his officers and crew, arising from to elevate our national character. the re-capture of the frigate Phila- Public gratitude, therefore, stamps delphia, under the heavy batteries her seal upon it; and the meed of Tripoli. Although sensible, as a should not be withheld which may general rule, of the impropriety of hereafter operate as a stimulus executive interference under a to our gallant tars. government like ours, where every “ I now commend you, fellowindividual enjoys the right of di- citizens, to the guidance of Alrectly petitioning Congress, yet, mighty God, with a full reliance viewing this case as one of a on his merciful providence for the very peculiar character, I deem it maintenance of our free institumy duty to recommend it to your tions; and with an earnest supfavourable consideration. Besides plication, that, whatever errors it the justice of this elaim, as corre- may be my lot to commit, in dis. sponding to those which have been charging the arduous duties which since recognized and satisfied, it have devolved on me, will find a is the fruit of a deed of patriotic remedy in the harmony and wisand chivalrous daring, which in- dom of your counsels. fused life and confidence into our



MEMOIR OF Sir Humphry DavY, Bart. LL.D. F.R.S. M.R.I.A.


VIR HUMPHRY DAVY's length, a negotiation between the

sessed a small piece of land oppo- menced, with a view of releassite St. Michael's Mount, called ing the parties from their enBartel, and followed the profes-, gagement; and Humphry resion of a carver in wood ; in the turned home. It is, however, town and neighbourhood of Pen- but fair to state, that he always zance there remain many speci- entertained the highest respect mens of his art; and among others for Mr. Tonkin, and never spoke several chimney-pieces, curiously of him but in terms of affectionate embellished by his chisel. His regard. mother's maiden name was Grace

A person, end ved with the Millett.

genius and sensibilities of Davy, Sir Humphry Davy was born would naturally have his mind at Penzance, in Cornwall, on the directed to the study of mineral17th of December, 1778. Hav- ogy and chemistry by the nature ing received the rudiments of a and scenery of the country in classical education under Dr. Car- which accident had planted him. dew of Truro, he was placed with Many of his friends and associates a respectable professional gentle- must have been connected with man of the name of Tonkin, at mining speculations; shafts, cross lenzance, in order that he might courses, lodes, &c. were words acquire a know ledge of the pro- familiarised to his ears; he could fession of a surgeon and apothe- not wander along the rocky coast, cary. His master, however, soon nor repose for a moment to conbecame dissatisfied with his new template its wild scenery, without pupil : instead of attending to the being invited to geological inquiry duties of the surgery, Humphry by the genius of the place. “How was rambling along the sea shore, often when a boy," said sir Humand often declaiming against the phry to a friend, upon shewing wind and waves, in order to over- him a view of Botallack Mine, come a defect in his voice, which,“ have I wandered about those although only slightly percepti- rocks in search after new minerals, ble in his maturer age, was, when and when tired, sat down upon a boy extremely discordant. At those crags, and exercised my fancy in anticipations of scientific having been wrecked near the renown!"

Land's End, the surgeon became Such scenery also, in one who acquainted with young Davy, and, possessed a quick sensibility to in return for some kind offices, the sublime forms of nature, was presented him with his case of well calculated to kindle that en- surgical instruments. The conthusiasm so essential to poetical tents were eagerly turned out and genius. It accordingly appears examined; not, however, with that Davy, when only nine years any professional view of their old, began to compose a poem on utility, but in order to ascertain the Land's End; in which he how far they might be convertible powerfully describes the magnifi- to philosophical purposes. The cence of its convulsed scenery, old-fashioned and clumsy clysterthe ceaseless roar of the ocean, apparatus was viewed with exultthe wild sbrieks of the cormorant, ation, and seized with avidity; and those “ caves where sleep the and, in the brief space of an hour, haggard spirits of the storm.” was converted into a complicated This bias he cultivated till his fif- piece of pneumatic apparatus, teenth year, when he became the Had Davy, in the commencement pupil of Mr. (since Dr.) Borlase of his career, been furnished with of Penzance, an ingenious sur- all those appliances which he engeon, intending to prepare himself joyed at a later period, it is more for graduating as a physician at than probable that he might never Edinburgh. At this early age have acquired that wonderful tact Davy laid down for himself a plan of manipulation, that ability of of education, which embraced the suggesting expedients, and of concircle of the sciences; and by his triving apparatus, so as to meet eighteenth year he had acquired and surmount the difficulties which the rudiments of botany, anatomy, must constantly arise during the and physiology, the simpler ma- progress of the philosopher through thematics, metaphysics, natural the unbeaten tracks and unexphilosophy, and chemistry. But plored regions of science. In this chemistry soon arrested his whole art Davy certainly stood unrivalattention. As far as can be as- Jed; and, like his prototype Scheele, certained, the first original expe- he was unquestionably indebted riment performed by him at Pen- for his address to the narrowness zance was for the purpose of of his original circumstances. investigating the nature of the The next prominent occurrence air contained in the bladders in Davy's life was his introduction of sea-weed. His instruments to Mr. Davies Giddy, now Mr. were of the rudest description, Gilbert, the present distinguished manufactured by himself out of and popular president of the Royal the motley materials which fell Society. Mr. Gilbert's attention in his way: the pots and pans of was, from some trivial cause, atthe kitchen were appropriated tracted to the young chemist, as without ceremony, and even the he was carelessly lounging over phials and gallipots of his master the gate of his father's house. A were without the least remorse put person in the company of Mr. in requisition. . A French vessel Gilbert observed, that the boy in

question was young Davy, who having just established at Bristol was much attached to chemistry. his " Pneumatic Institution," for "To chemistry!" said Mr. Gil- the purpose of investigating the bert; “ if that be the case I must medical powers of the different have some conversation with him.” gases, he proposed to Mr. Davy, Mr. Gilbert soon discovered ample who was then only nineteen years proofs of genius in the youth; of age, and had prepossessed the and offered him the use of his professor in his favour by an essay library, or any other assistance propounding a new theory of heat that he might require, for the pro- and light, to undertake the supersecution of his studies.

intendence of the necessary exAnother circumstance occurred, periments. This proposal Davy which afterwards contributed to eagerly accepted. introduce Davy to notice. Mr. Such were the circumstances Gregory Watt, who had long been that first extricated Davy from an invalid, was recommended by the obscurity of his native town, his physicians to reside in the and paved the way to an eminence West of England ; and he accor- which but very few philosophers dingly went to Penzance, lodged in this or any other country have with Mrs. Davy, and became ac- been able to attain. Davy was quainted with her son. Before now constantly engaged in the the formation of the Geological prosecution of new experiments ; Society of London, geologists in the conception of which, as he were divided into two great par. himself candidly informs us, he ties,-Neptunists, and Plutonists; was greatly aided by the converthe one affirming that the globe sation and advice of his friend was indebted for its form and ar- Dr. Beddoes. He was also occarangement to the agency of water, sionally assisted by Mr. W. Claythe other to that of fire. It so field, a gentleman ardently athappened, that the professors of tached to chemical pursuits, and Oxford and Cambridge ranged whose name is not unknown in themselves under opposite banners: the annals of science; indeed it Dr. Beddoes was a violent and appears that to him Davy was uncompromising Plutonist, while indebted for the invention of a professor Hailstone was as decided mercurial air-holder, by which he a Neptunist. The rocks of Corn. was enabled to collect aud meawall were appealed to as affording sure the various gases submitted support to either theory; and the to examination. In the course of two professors, adverse in opinion, these investigations, the respirabut united in friendship, deter- bility and singularly intoxicating mined to proceed together to the effects of nitrous oxide were first field of dispute, each hoping that discovered ; which led to a new he might thus convict the other train of research concerning its of his error. The geological com- preparation, composition, properbatants arrived at Penzance; and ties, combinations, and physioloDavy became known to them, gical action on living beings; inthrough the medium of Mr. Gil- quiries which were extended to bert. Mr. Watt was enthusiastic the different substances connected in his praise; and Dr. Beddoes with nitrous oxide, such as nitrous gas, nitrous acid, and ammonia ; his style was too Aorid and imawhen, by multiplying experiments, ginative for communicating the and comparing the facts they dis- plain lessons of truth. But it closed, Davy ultimately succeeded must be considered that the class in reconciling apparent anomalies; of persons to whom Davy adand, by removing the greater dressed himself were composed of number of those difficulties which the gay and the idle, who could had obscured this branch of be tempted to admit instruction science, was enabled to present a only by the prospect of receiving clear and satisfactory history of pleasure. the combinations of Oxygen and On obtaining the appointment Nitrogen.

of professor at the Royal InstituThese interesting results were tion, Mr. Davy gave up all his published in a separate volume, views of the medical profession, entitled “ Researches, Chemical and devoted himself entirely to and Philosophical,chiefly concern- chemistry. ing Nitrous Oxide and its respira- In 1802, Mr. Davy, having been tion; by Humphry Davy, Super- elected professor of chemistry to intendant of the Medical Pneu- the Board of Agriculture, commatic Institution.” Of the value menced a series of lectures before of this production, the best crite- its members; which he continued rion is to be found in the admira- to deliver every successive session tion which it excited; its author for ten years, modifying and exwas barely twenty-one years old, tending their views, from time to and already he was hailed as a time, in such a manner as the progenius of high promise in science. gress of chemical discovery requir

Before the impression produced ed. These discourses were publishon the scientific world had sub- ed in the year 1813, at the request sided, count Rumford was seeking of the president and members of for some rising philosopher, who the board; and they form the might fill the chemical chair of only complete work we possess on the recently-established institution the subject of agricultural chemisof Great Britain ;-Davy was pro- try. posed, and immediately elected. In the year 1803, Davy was

The crowds that repaired to the elected a fellow of the Royal SoInstitution were, day after day, ciety; he subsequently became its gratified by newly-devised and secretary, and lastly its president; instructive experiments, performed and during a period of five and with the utmost address, and ex- twenty years, he constantly supplained in language at once the plied its Transactions with papers. most intelligible and the most The first memoir presented to eloquent. He brought down the Royal Society by Mr. Davy, Science from those heights which was read on the 18th of June were before accessible only to a 1801; and is entitled, “ An Acfew, and placed it within the reach count of some Galvanic combinaof all. He divested the goddess tions, formed by the arrangement of all her severity of aspect, and of Single Metallic Plates and represented her as attired by the Fluids, analogous to the new GalGraces. It has been said, that vanic Apparatus of Volta; by

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