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sensibility to the beauties of poetry. It is a pleasing
Among the poets of America, Bryant was his favorite. The Old Man's Funeral, he esteemed one of the most beautiful productions of the English language, and he often quoted, with delight, Sprague's fine stanzas to the swallows that flew into church, beginning,
“Gay, guiltless pair,
What seek ye from the fields of heaven?
Ye have no sins to be forgiven.”
Such was Nathaniel Bowditch-certainly one of the most remarkable men of his time. We, who have seen him among us, can hardly appreciate the full scope and meaning of his life. He has acquired, among men of science, a brilliant reputation by his mathematical papers, and especially by his translation of the Mechanique Celeste. In every respect, this is a stupendous work; it not only displays the highest mathematical talents, but when we look at the amazing extent of the calculations, the beauty and perfecta ness of his processes, and finally consider that this herculean performance was but the plaything of a busy man's life-we shall regard it as indeed one of the most remarkable productions of human intellect.
Yet it is not for this performance that we give him a place in these pages. If we were making an array of men of genius, he would claim a conspicuous atation, as being the author of the great work we have noticed. But it is rather as the author of the Praca tical Navigator is the benefactor of the mariner, and of the human race, that we wish to present him to our readers. He has made the path of the treacherous sea more safe; he has gone with the lonely sailor, to guide his course, and teach him how to shun the sunken rock and reef, the insidious shoal, the iron shore. He has thus preserved thousands of lives; suved millions of property; reduced the rate of insurance; cheapened every foreign commodity. Not only has the family whose father is upon the wave, and the mother whose son is ploughing the deep, and the maiden whose lover has trusted himself to the billow, occasion to bless the name of him who has thus abated the perils of the sea—but every member of the community shares in the beneficent fruits of his labor. We have no precise means to estimate the amount of good which he has thus done; indeed, operating on so vast a scale, it surpasses any definite conception we can form.
Nor is this all. Dr. Bowditch has left us the precious legacy of a good name. He was not only great, but good. The example of one who has dazzled the world by his achievements, is contagious; even when dead, he multiplies his image, good or evil, by the force of that sympathy, which genius seldom fails to excite. It has thus often happened, that great gifts, lending a charm to vice, have been a curse rather than a benefit to mankind. But when a great man practises justice, charity, peace, and kindness, he becomes an effective preacher of viriue; his light is set on a hill, and the world will delight to walk thereby.
It is, therefore, as a great man, being good, that he challenges admiration. It is not because he was a great astronomer, that he claims our homage—but, being such, that he was still a kind father, a good neighbor, a sincere friend, a patriot, a gentleman, a Christian. “I can hardly bear,” says Dr. Frothingham, “to hear him described as an astronomer, or mathematician-though among the most illustrious that have lived-he was so honestly, heartily, bravely, and entirely a man. There was something in him brighter than talent, and deeper than even that profound knowledge which led the way, with a modest silence, where there were few intellects that could so much as attend him.”
FRANCIS HUBER was born at Geneva, in Switzerland, on the 2d of July, 1750, of a highly respectable family, remarkable for intelligence. His father was distinguished for wit and originality in conversation, and for a cultivated taste in the fine arts. Voltaire particularly delighted in his company, on account of the freshness and brilliancy of his mind, and his skill in music. He excelled in painting pictures of game, and wrote an interesting work on the flight of birds of prey. His son inherited his taste and talent.
Study by day, and romance reading during the night, impaired the health of young Huber, and weakened his sight. When he was fifteen years old, the physicians advised entire freedom from all literary occupation. For this purpose, he went to reside in a village near Paris, where he followed the plough, and was for the time a real farmer. Here he acquired a great fondness for rural life, and became strongly attached to the kind and worthy peasants among whom he resided. His health was restored, but with the prospect of approaching blindness. He had, however, sufficiently good eyes to see and become attached to Maria Aimée Lullin, a young lady who had been his companion at a dancing-school. They loved, as warm young hearts will love, and dreamed of no possibility of separation. M. Lullin regarded the increasing probability of Huber's blindness as a
sufficient reason for breaking up the connection ; but the more this misfortune became certain, the more Maria determined not to abandon her lover. She made no present resistance to the will of her father, but quietly waited until she had attained a lawful age to act for herself.
Poor Huber, fearful of losing his precious prize, tried to conceal from the world, and even from himself, that an entire deprivation of sight was his inevitable lot; but total darkness came upon him, and he could no longer deny that the case was hopeless. The affliction was made doubly keen by fears that Maria would desert him. But he might have trusted the strength of a woman's heart; as soon as Miss Lullin was twenty-five years old, she led to the altar the blind object of her youthful affections. The generous girl had loved him in his brilliant days of youth and gaiety, and she would not forsake him when a thick veil fell forever between him and the glories of the external world. There is something exceedingly beautiful and affecting in this union. Those who witnessed it, at once felt a strong internal conviction that the blessing of God would rest on that gentle and heroic wife.
Voltaire often alluded to the circumstance in his correspondence, and it forms an episode in Madame de Staël's Delphine. Mrs. Huber had no reason to regret the disinterested step she had taken. Huber's active and brilliant mind overcame the impediments occasioned by loss of vision. His attention was drawn to the history of bees; and by the assistance of his wife and son, he observed their habits so