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Should it please God to cut off my life in the prosecution of this design, let not my conduct be uncandidly imputed to rashness or enthusiasm, but to a serious, deliberate conviction that I am pursuing the path of duty, and to a sincere desire of being made an instrument of more extensive usefulness to my fellow-creatures than could be expected in the narrower circle of a retired life.” With regard to his objects in undertaking this journey, his biographer, Dr Aikin, observes that he had various conver
ons with him on the subject; and found rather a wish to have objects of inquiry pointed out to him by others, than any specific views present to his own mind.
On the 4th of July_1789 Mr Howard, accompanied by a single servant, quitted England on his last philanthropic journey. He passed through Holland, part of Germany, Prussia, and several cities of Russia, examining the state of the hospitals; and about the end of the year had reached Cherson, a new settlement of the Russian empress at the mouth of the Dnieper. This was destined to be the closing scene of his labours. Visiting, according to one account, the Russian hospital of the place; according to another, a young lady, whose friends were anxious that he should prescribe for her, as he had done successfully in many similar cases, he caught a malignant fever, which, after an illness of twelve days, carried him off on the 20th of January 1790, in the sixty-fourth year of his age. On his deathbed he showed the same calm and Christian spirit which had distinguished him through life. To Admiral Priestman, who resided at Cherson, and who visited him during his illness, and endeavoured to amuse and cheer him by his remarks, thinking to divert his thoughts, he said, “ Priestman, you style this a dull conversation, and endeavour to divert my mind from dwelling on death; but I entertain very different sentiments. Death has no terrors for me; it is an event I always look to with cheerfulness, if not with pleasure; and be assured the subject is more grateful to me than any other. I am well aware that I have but a short time to live: my mode of life has rendered it impossible that I should get rid of this fever. I have no method of lowering my nourishment, and therefore I must die. It is such jolly fellows as you, Priestman, that get over these fevers.” Then aliuding to the subject of his funeral, he continued—“There is a spot near the village of Dauphigny; this would suit me nicely. You know it well, for I have often said that I should like to be buried there; and let me beg of you, as you value your old friend, not to suffer any pomp to be used at my funeral; nor any monument, nor monumental inscription whatever, to mark where I am laid; but lay me quietly in the earth, place a sun-dial over my grave, and let me be forgotten.” These directions were in spirit, although not strictly, complied with; and on the 25th of January 1790 the body of Howard was buried in the spot which he had chosen near the village of Dauphigny, at a little distance from Cherson. The authorities and the inhabitants of the place testified their respect for him by attending his remains to the grave. Instead of the sun-dial, a small brick pyramid was erected on the spot. In Cardington church, according to his directions, a plain slip of marble was erected by his wife's tomb, bearing
this inscription: “ John Howard; died at Cherson, in Russian Tartary, January 20th, 1790. Aged 64. Christ is my hope.". A more stately monument was soon afterwards erected to his memory in St Paul's Cathedral. Howard's son, who never recovered from his malady, died in April 1799, in his thirty-fifth year.
Howard is described as having been under the middle size, thin and spare in his make, sallow-complexioned, large featured, with nothing striking or commanding, but rather something mean and forbidding, in his general appearance. His eye was keen and penetrating; his gait quick and animated ; his demeanour soft, gentle, and sweet, indicated by a voice almost effeminate. Of all the features of his character, the grandest was his unintermitted determination towards a single object; the calm, slow, resolute obstinacy with which he persevered in the particular
walk of well-doing which he had chosen as properly his. “It was this singular devotedness to the great work in which he was engaged,” says his biographer, Mr Brown," that induced him not only to decline so generally as he did every invitation to dinner or supper while upon his tours, but also to abstain from visiting every object of curiosity, how attractive soever it might be to his taste and natural thirst for information, and even from looking into a newspaper, lest his attention should be diverted for a moment from the main end of his pursuit. Once, indeed, and it would seem only once, he deviated from the rule hé had prescribed for himself, by yielding to the intreaties of some of his friends, who wished him to accompany them to hear some extraordinarily fine music in Italy; but finding his thoughts too much occupied by the melody, he could never be persuaded to repeat the indulgence. The value he set upon his time was most remarkable. Punctual to a minute in every engagement he made, he usually sat, when in conversation, with his watch in his hand, which he rested upon his knee; and though in the midst of an interesting anecdote or argument, so soon as the moment he had fixed for his departure arrived, he rose, took up his hat, and left the house." It was this resolute adherence to one object, con joined with his noble philanthropic heart, which so distinguished Howard above his fellow-men; and not what we call intellect, genius, or comprehensiveness of mind. 5 Minuteness of detail,” says Dr Aikin," was what he ever regarded as his peculiar province. As he was of all men the most modest estimator of his own abilities, he was used to say, 'I am the plodder who goes
about to collect materials for men of genius to make use of.?” With all this absence of those general ideas and large views of human life, the existence of which we usually imply when we use the word genius, Howard was an infinitely greater man than thousands of those whom the world honours with the name. Listen to the following eulogies pronounced on him by two men who possessed, in an extraordinary degree, that very generality of thought which he wanted :-“This man,” says Edmund Burke, * visited all Europe, not to survey the asness of palaces, or the stateliness of temples ; not to make accurate measurements of the remains of ancient grandeur, nor to form a scale of the curiosities of modern art; not to collect medals, or to collate manuscripts; but to dive into the depths of dungeons; to plunge into the infection of hospitals; to survey the mansions of sorrow and of pain; to take the gauge and dimensions of misery, depression, and contempt; to remember the forgotten; to attend to the neglected; to visit the forsaken; and to compare and collate the distresses of all men in all countries. His plan was original; and it was as full of genius as it was of humanity. It was a voyage of discovery--a circumnavigation of charity; and already the benefit of his labour is felt more or less in every country." And Bentham, speaking of the literary defects of Mr Howard's productions, says even more eloquently—“My venerable friend was much better employed than in arranging words and sentences. Instead of doing what so many could do if they would, what he did for the service of mankind was what scarce any man could have done, and no man would do, but himself. In the scale of moral desert, the labours of the legislator and the writer are as far below his as earth is below heaven. His was the truly Christian choice; the lot in which is to be found the least of that which selfish 'nature covets, and the most of what it shrinks from. His kingdom was of a better world; he died a martyr, after living an apostle.”
The best eulogy on Howard, however, is the reformation which has been effected in the prison system since his time, and in consequence of his labours. Until his time, little or no attention had been paid to the subject of prisons or prison discipline. All doomed to incarceration were treated with uniform indifference; and every jail was an engine of vengeful inhumanity: Howard's revelations turned attention to the subject, and various regulations were instituted, which in time remedied some of the more obvious evils of the system. Yet it was left for Mrs Fry, and other philanthropists of our own day, to effect a thorough revision of prison management to cause the separation and classification of individuals, to introduce work of various kinds into the jails, and to aim at the moral reform of offenders. Much still remains to be effected in all these respects; but not the less is society indebted to the early and untiring exertions of the BENEVOLENT HOWARD.
CURIOSITIES OF ART.
HE interest excited by any product of ingenuity or Skill must ever be compa
rative. The musket of the sailor is a matter of wonder to the savage,
the steam-vessel a marvel to the Chinese, and the electric telegraph a curiosity to the British. Five hundred years ago qur forefathers would have been as much struck as the South Sea islander with the feats of the musket; thirty
years ago steamboats were subjects of wonder to our countrymen; and ten years hence we shall be as familiar with electric telegraphs as we are now with spinning-machines, gas
light, locomotives, and steam-frigates--all of which were marvels and curiosities in their day. Since invention is thus ever-active and progressive, we can regard as permanent curiosities of art only such products as exhibit vastitude or boldness of design, great ingenuity and perseverance in accomplishment, intricacy and complication of parts combined with harmony of execution, minuteness of proportions with delicacy of finish, and simulation of living agency by inanimate mechanism. In this sense we intend to present the reader with descriptions of some of the more remarkable results of human ability, confining ourselves particularly to those of a mechanical character.
The earliest efforts of mechanical ingenuity in Europe were chiefly directed towards the construction of clocks, watches, and automata. In all of these, weights and springs were the prime movers, and the skill of the mechanic was expended in rendering the movements of his work as numerous and complicated as possible. They had no idea of applying their art to the great manufacturing operations so characteristic of the present age; not that they were unskilful workmen, but that they were ignorant of that agency which has developed our steam-engines, spinningmills, printing-presses, and other machinery. Steam force was to them unknown. Their sole great moving power was falling water-a power attainable only in a limited degree, and, when attainable, not often in a situation to be available. It was thus that ingenious workmen so frequently devoted a lifetime to the construction of some piece of mechanism, which, after all, was only valuable as an amusing curiosity. Among the more remark
able of these were their clocks and time-keepers, some of which we may shortly advert to.
REMARKABLE CLOCKS AND WATCHES. The famous astronomical clock of Strasburg, completed by Isaac Habrecht about the end of the sixteenth century, deserves a prominent place in our catalogue. It has been recently renovated by a M. Schwitgue after four years' labour; but its original movements are thus described in Morrison's Itinerary :-“Before the clock stands a globe on the ground, showing the motions of the heavens, stars, and planets. The heavens are carried about by the first mover in twenty-four hours. Saturn, by his proper motion, is carried about in thirty years; Jupiter in twelve; Mars in two; the sun, Mercury, and Venus in one year; and the moon in one month. In the clock itself, there are two tables on the right and left hand, showing the eclipses of the sun and moon from the year 1573 to the year 1624. The third table, in the middle, is divided into three parts. In the first part, the statues of Apollo and Diana show the course of the year, and the day thereof, being carried about in one year; the second part shows the
year Lord, and the equinoctial days, the hours of each day, the minutes of each hour, Easter day, and all other feasts, and the Dominical letter; and the third part hath the geographical description of all Germany, and particularly of Strasburg, and the names of the inventor and all the workmen. In the middle frame of the clock is an astrolabe, showing the sign in which each planet is every day; and there are the statues of the seven planets upon a circular plate of iron; so that every day the planet that rules the day comes forth, the rest being hid within the frames, till they come out of course at their day—as the sun upon Sunday, and so for all the week. There is also a terrestrial globe, which shows the quarter, the half hour, and the minutes. There is also the figure of a human skull, and the statues of two boys, whereof one turns the hour-glass, when the clock hath struck, and the other puts forth the rod in his hand at each stroke of the clock. Moreover, there are the statues of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, and many observations of the moon. In the upper part of the clock are four old men's statues, which strike the quarters of the hour. The statue of Death comes out at each quarter to strike, but is driven back by the statue of Christ with a spear in his hand for three quarters; but in the fourth quarter that of Christ goes back, and that of Death strikes the hour with a bone in his hand, and then the chimes sound. On the top of the clock is an image of a cock, which twice in the day crows aloud, and claps his wings. Besides, this clock is decked with many rare pictures; and, being on the inside of the church, carries another frame to the outside of the walls, whereon the hours of the sun, the courses of the moon, the length of the day, and such other things, are set out with great art."