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virtuous, but vicious. Thus there is a maxim, that it is in the prudent regard of every individual to his own interest that the public good is best promoted -and that is generally true; but, assuredly, in this prudence there is no benevolence, unless by great courtesy of construction: nor, indeed, for the most part, any virtue but of the lowest kind-a keen and intelligent self-interest. But while the individual obtains the benefit - which is all that he has thought of -a small portion of unthought-of good is added to the aggregate good of the system; and this, if traced at all to design, must be attributed only to the Designer who comprehends and overrules the whole.
On this view,—while it condemns Hutcheson's theory, in common with most others, yet it leads to a consideration much to his praise. The ultimate result of the virtuous affections is clearly coextensive with an enlarged scheme of benevolence. It also aptly harmonizes with the spiritual economy of the law of God as revealed in the New Testament—the “first and great commandment,” and the second which " is like unto it.
But we forbear from entering further on a diffusive topic. We have no very high opinion of the utility of systems of casuistry. It seems to be the only subject which is least understood by those who have devoted their lives to its study. The truths of morality drop spontaneously from the poet's pen and the preacher's tongue, and there are few welltaught men in civilized society, who do not think more correctly than any systematic writer, except Butler, whose praetical chapter on moral discipline, is worth all that we can recollect to have met with on ethical philosophy. Men do not act from theories, but from laws, customs, and the complex tendencies which passions, sentiments, and habits, together, or separately, produce. Laws and institutions have their origin, primarily, in the will of God; and, secondarily, in the whole constitution of human nature. They exist in very various forms, and change according to circumstances which determine or arise from the social state, while the natural affections and the institutions of nature remain still the same, as first impressed by Him who launched the planet on its path. Those first intuitions are not to be analyzed; they are prime elements, and all attempts to derive them from something else, must end in specious nonsense. A true system of moral philosophy must commence with a full and distinct enumeration of all the moral elements separately considered, and proceed, by a careful inquiry, into their effects in human life, under all its aspects and stages of existence. It is from the clear and thorough understanding of the separate and constituent elements, that the system which involves their mutual relations can be discerned.
ALEXANDER SLOANE was the head of the Scottish colony in Ireland in the reign of James I.; he was collector of taxes for the county of Down. His son—the subject of this memoir—was born at Kilileagh, in that county, in 1660. His taste for natural history was early remarkable: and his disposition was so intensely studious that in his sixteenth year of age he was attacked by a spitting of blood which caused great fear for his life, and confined him for three years to his chamber. On his recovery he applied himself to the study of medicine, and especially to chemistry and botany. To pursue these studies with more advantage, he visited London, where he remained four years; he there became acquainted with Boyle and Ray, from each of whom he obtained much valuable counsel and aid in his favourite studies.
From London he went on to Paris, where he derived a considerable accession to his knowledge from the lectures of Duberney and Tournefort; and, perhaps, still more from his botanical excursions with Magnal, an eminent botanist of Montpelier.
On his return, his acquirements in his favourite pursuit were very great, and he was enabled to communicate much both of information and valuable specimens to Ray, who frequently acknowledges his obligation in his “ History of Plants.” Sloane now became acquainted with the illustrious Sydenham, who took him into his house and endeavoured to advance his professional interests.
But Sloane's adoption of the medical profession was chiefly the effect of his love of botany-a branch of knowledge which seems to require some very peculiar turn of intellect not easy to describe, but easily observed in those who attain decided success in its pursuit. He abandoned his apparently fair prospects for the love of the favourite and absorbing pursuit, and accepted the situation of physician to the duke of Albemarle, who was going out as governor to Jamaica. The temptation was unquestionably at that time too great to be resisted. The vegetable nature of America, and still more of its tropical islands and shores, was an unexplored field, interesting for the rich promise it offered to the curious zeal of inquiry, as well as for the questions which were entertained upon the subject. The botanist had, till then, confined his research to Europe, and the range, therefore, for Sloane's more adventurous curiosity, was vast, and necessarily profuse of novel interest and discovery. There had been, till then, a doubt entertained by the most learned botanists whether the vegetable productions of the New World were not wholly different from those of the old continents. The doubt was set at rest by a catalogue of plants collected in Jamaica identical with European specimens. Sloane, in addition to eight hundred specimens of West Indian plants, also brought a rich collection of animal specimens. His labours were also eulogized by bis contemporaries for the astonishing industry they evineed; having only remained fifteen months in Jamaica. On the death of the duke of Albemarle, he returned to London
1694, he was elected physician of Christ's Hospital, and must
He a very rapid advance in his profession: for, in addition to
exertion and influence, revived the publication of its transactions which had been for some years discontinued to these he was himself a frequent contributor.
In 1695, he married a daughter of Alderman Langley-And, in 1697, published his “ Catalogue of the Native Plants of Jamaica.”
In 1701, he became possessed of a valuable museum collected by his friend Mr William Courteen ; this collection greatly enlarged that which his own industry had formed, and which, at his death, became the foundation of the British Museum.
In that period the species of knowledge to which Sloane was devoted, occupied proportionally a higher share of public estimation than at any subsequent period. It was still haloed round by the visionary lights of alchemy and enchantment; though these hallucinations of mankind had been dissipated, there lingered an imaginary charm about the objects in which they had been conversant: while, at the same time, the opposite impulse which has its origin in sober reason, gave no less importance to researches which tended to restore the fields, skies, and elements, to the empire of reality. The higher and more intellectual sciences had at that time but recently been developed by Newton, and his contemporaries. And the mere collections of curious research, always valuable as materials for knowledge, had then a far higher importance than the very sciences to which they have since given rise, or been the foundation. The industry of Sloane had surpassed his contemporaries, and his singular munificence had extended the results of his industry-his skill, as a physician, increased his intercourse, and gave a more sterling value to his claims. The Transactions of the Royal Society, in the publication of which he took an active part, and to which he was a constant and useful contributor, placed him in immediate contact with the ablest men of his day. The consideration of this combination of circumstances enables us to understand the high consideration wbich seems to have attached to Sloane, beyond any pretension in his intellectual character, or in the importance of his discoveries. Eminent worth-unquestionably the highest claim to respectunless when accompanied by elevated station and commanding power, can leave little to the record of human praise. The munificence which has left durable bequests to the British public has well earned the meed of national gratitude; but, when the fact is written, all that can be added is the sounding amplification of eulogy—too often abused to have much value. We offer these reflections, as we trust they may enable the reader to understand, more fully, the necessity under which we are compelled to offer an account of this illustrious physician and virtuoso, far from commensurate with the important position which he filled in society. In truth, it is only when intellectual pretension is backed by far more popular attractions, that men of the highest order can well take their place in the world's eye; and the popular manner and graceful address will, to a great extent, dispense with the more sterling claim: and thus it has been, and still is, that popular distinction is often hard to be understood by those who fail to penetrate the true secret of public favour. A commanding fame, like Newton's, could shine through the clouds of unpopularity, and command respect,
and admiration, without courting favour; but the station conceded to Newton's pre-eminence, was, on his death in 1727, conferred on Sloane, a more popular character. This fact is, however, not invidiously mentioned here, notwithstanding the prejudice of comparisons; Sloane was eminently deserving of all honour; and his elevation to the president's chair, in the Royal Society, was a just tribute to worth, munificence, zeal for science, and professional skill. We believe that, on this occasion, it was that he presented one hundred guineas to the Society, and a bust of Charles II.
His medical reputation was such as to place him in the foremost rank. He had been constantly consulted by queen Anne, whom he attended in her last illness. On the accession of George I. he was created a baronet, and appointed physician-general to the army. In 1727, he was appointed physician to George II.
In 1733, when he had attained his seventy-third year, he began to feel the necessity of contracting his scope of activity: he now resigned the presidency of the Royal College of Physicians, to which he had been elected in 1719. In his eightieth year, his resignation of the presidentship of the Royal Society was received by this distinguished body with marks of high respect. He had, some time previous, pur. chased the manor of Chelsea, and established there a botanic garden, which he gave to the apothecaries' company on condition of a quitrent of £5; and the annual delivery of fifty different specimens of plants to the Royal Society, till the number presented should amount to two thousand. Having experienced the injurious effects of an illness consequent on the severe winter of 1739, he now thought it full time to relinquish his profession, to the fatigues of which he found his strength unequal, and removed from Bloomsbury to his Chelsea manor. In this retreat he still continued to receive persons of rank and distinction, and was often visited by the royal family. He also continued to give medical advice to all who came to consult him, and showed the most obliging attention to those who came to see his museum. Though feeble, he still retained the entire possession of his intellect, and was free from disease. His decline was gentle, and he was accustomed to express his wonder at finding himself still alive. He died at last, after a few days’ illness, and without suffering. At his death he left legacies to all the hospitals in London. His death took place on the 11th January, 1753, in his ninety-second year.
His museum he left to the public, on the condition that £20,000 should be paid to his executors. According to his own estimate, the whole collection was worth four times the sum; so that the value of this splendid legacy, to England, may be estimated at £60,000. In the collection, there were gold and silver coins which, as bullion alone, would have brought £7000, besides also numerous precious stones, and a library of 50,000 volumes, many of the most costly description. The government took the offer, and paid the stipulated sum. There was an act passed for the purchase of Sir Hans Sloane's collection, with that of the earl of Oxford, at the time offered for sale by his daughter, the duchess of Portland, and for placing all together with the Cottonian library. They were accordingly collected and
arranged in Montague House, in Bloomsbury, and formed the com. mencement of the British Museum, which was first opened to the public in 1759.
This last act of Sir Hans Sloane's life is his great and true claim to the grateful memory of England. In that splendid national institution the students of nature may find his monument; there the memorials of his unwearied and successful devotion to their favourite pursuits still claim the tribute of veneration, and breathe their “circumspice” to those who look for his monument.