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happy prevention of disastrous storms. It will be necessary to see in Mr. Espy's work itself, the further beneficial results to navigation from the views furnished by his theory. "The different manners in which philosophers, by means of apparatus whose principle of action is the centrifugal force, have imitated water-spouts or small tornadoes, do not appear to us reconcilable with Mr. Espy's theory, which, based upon facts, equally refutes the idea of a whirling motion of the air in the tornado.*

"Here we should compare the theory of Mr. Espy with other theories, anterior or contemporaneous. The labors of Franklin, and of Messrs. Redfield, Reid, and Peltier, would furnish as many excellent observations and parts, or the whole of the phenomena, very well studied. But the extensive discussion which we should have to establish before deciding in favor of Mr. Espy, would lead us too far. Mr. Espy himself, as to the electrical part of the phenomenon, which, however, he regards as only accessory and secondary, acknowledges that his theory is less advanced and less complete than it is with regard to the phenomena of the motion and precipitation of the water, which are, according to him, the base of the production of the meteor.

"Finally, it is proved by the investigations of Mr. Espy, that it will be impossible hereafter to adduce in the mean [normale] state of the atmosphere, a descending current of air as a cause of cold, or an ascending current of dry air, a cause of heat. The applications of this theory present themselves in "climatology," but this principle especial. ly discards the idea of explanation of the tornado by the centrifugal force, which would then cause the upper air to descend in the centre of the tornado, which air becoming heated by the augmented pressure, could not allow its own vapor to be precipitated, nor precipitate that of the air with which it came in contact.

CONCLUSION.

"In conclusion, Mr. Espy's communication contains a great number of well-observed and well-described facts. His theory, in the present state of science, alone accounts for the phenomena, and, when completed, as Mr. Espy intends, by the study of the action of electricity when it intervenes, will leave nothing to be desired. In a word, for phys ical geography, agriculture, navigation, and meteorology, it gives us new explanations, indications useful for ulterior researches, and redresses many accredited errors.

"The committee expresses then the wish that Mr. Espy should be placed by the gov ernment of the United States in a position to continue his important investigations, and to complete his theory, already so remarkable, by means of all the observations and all experiments which the deductions even of his theory may suggest to him, in a vast country, where enlightened men are not wanting to science, and which is besides, as it were, the home of these fearful meteors.

"The work of Mr. Espy causes us to feel the necessity of undertaking a retrospective examination of the numerous documents already collected in Europe, to arrange them and draw from them deductions which they can furnish, and more especially at the present period, when the diluvial rains, which have ravaged the southeast of France, have directed attention to all the possible causes of a similar phenomena. Consequent. ly, the committee proposes to the academy to give its approbation to the labors of Mr. Espy, and to solicit him to continue his researches, and especially to try to ascertain the influence which electricity exerts in these great phenomena, of which a complete theory will be one of the most precious acquisitions of modern science. "The conclusions of this report are adopted."

We have great satisfaction in adding, that Mr. Espy's book is in the very best style of the Boston publications. It is illustrated with numerous engravings; the typography is clean and neat; the paper fine; and, in short, it is every way worthy of the high standing of the publishers who have undertaken to bring it before the public. We commend it with confidence to all the lovers of science, satisfied that they will derive both pleasure and profit from the perusal.

Philosophical Magazine, for June, 1841. Sir David Brewster says, "the theory of the rotary character of storms was first suggested by Col. Capper, but we must claim for Mr. Redfeld the greater honor of having fully investigated the subject, and apparently established the theory upon an impregnable basis."

ART. IV.-SKETCHES OF DISTINGUISHED MERCHANTS.

NOTICE OF THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF JOSEPH MAY.*

Lives of good men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footsteps on the sands of time;
Footsteps, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er lite's troubled main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.-LONGFELLOW.

MR. MAY belonged to a generation which has now almost wholly passed away. A few yet linger, but they will soon be all gone. He may be regarded as a type and specimen, not indeed of what was most brilliant and distinguished, but of what was most solid and worthy, stanch, honest, upright, and true in that generation. He was a native of Boston; his life was passed in the open sight of his fellow-citizens, and the testimony which we render is only the repetition of the common voice.

His integrity has never been questioned. It passed safely through the trial of adversity and failure in business-a trial which has proved too severe for the strength of many-and was as confidently relied upon after that change as before it. Perfect proof of this is given by the fact that he was called on to fill several offices, which, though not conspicuous, involved important trusts, and supposed implicit confidence, and which were held till repeated intimations of increasing age warned him to resign them.

His ideas and feelings respecting riches, though not perhaps peculiar, were certainly not common. He regarded the gift of property to one's children a questionable good. He has often said, that he knew many promising youth who were stinted in their intellectual and moral growth by the expectation of an inheritance that would relieve them from the necessity of labor. Every man, he would add, should stand upon his own feet, rely upon his own resources, know how to take care of himself, supply his own wants; and that parent does his child no good, who takes from him the inducement, nay, the necessity to do so.†

He thought it well and proper to engage in the pursuit of property in some honest and honorable occupation, as one of the means of unfolding

* In the Merchant's Magazine for July, 1841, we published a brief obituary of the late Joseph May, Esq., a merchant of Boston. We had previously requested the Rev. F. W. P. Greenwood, D. D., to prepare a sketch of his life and character, which through the inadvertence of our agent, was not received until quite recently. Several paragraphs of the present sketch, are from the sermon preached by Mr. Greenwood at Kings Chapel, Sunday, March the 7th, 1841, on the death of Mr. May; and the remainder in manu script, was furnished by a member of the family of the deceased.-Ed. Mag.

+ In a communication received from the Rev. S. J. May, is an anecdote which de serves preservation, as illustrative of the sentiments of his father.

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"When I brought to him my last College bill receipted, he folded it with an emphatic pressure of his hand, saying as he did it: My son, I am rejoiced that you have gotten through; and that I have been able to afford you the advantages you have enjoyed. If you have been faithful, you must now be possessed of an education that will enable you to go anywhere; stand up among your fellow-men; and by serving them in one de partment of usefulness or another, make yourself worthy of a comfortable livelihood, if no more. If you have not improved your advantages, or should be hereafter slothful, I thank God that I have not property to leave you, that will hold you up in a place among men, where you will not deserve to stand.'"

the faculties, and forming and establishing the character. But he considered it most unworthy of a rational and moral being, to seek after riches as the chief good. He utterly despised avarice.

When about thirty-eight years of age, he was stopped in the midst of a very profitable business, in which he had already acquired a considerable fortune, by the result of an ill-advised speculation. He foresaw that he must fail, and at once gave up all his property, "even to the ring on his finger, for the benefit of his creditors." The sufferings which this disaster caused revealed to him that he had become more eager for property, and had allowed himself to regard its possession more highly, than was creditable to his understanding or good for his heart. After some days of deep depression, he formed the resolution, never to be a rich man; but to withstand all temptations to engage again in the pursuit of wealth. He adhered to this determination. He resolutely refused several very advantageous offers of partnership in lucrative concerns, and sought rather the situation he held, for more than forty years, in an insurance office, where he would receive a competence only for his family.

When in the midst of his family he seemed to have no anxieties about business, and was able to give his whole mind to the study of his favorite authors, the old English Classics, the best historians, and Paley and Priestley, of whom he was a great admirer.

He almost always read one or two hours in the morning, and as much in the evening. By the devotion of only this time to books, he was able in the course of his life to peruse many volumes of substantial value, of the contents of which his sound understanding and retentive memory enabled him to make readily a pertinent use.

In active benevolence and works of charity, he seems to have been indefatigable and unsurpassed. He was not able to bestow large donations on public institutions, but he was a valuable friend, promoter, and director of some of the most important of them.* His private charities are not to be numbered. Without much trouble he might be traced through every quarter of the city by the foot-prints of his benefactions. Pensioners came

to the door of his house as they do in some countries to the gate of a convent. The worthy poor found in him a friend, and the unworthy he endeavored to reform. His aid to those in distress and need was in many cases not merely temporary and limited to single applications, but as extensive and permanent as the life and future course of its object. A family of fatherless and motherless and destitute children, bound to him by no tie but that of human brotherhood, found a father in him, and owe to him, under heaven, the respectability and comfort of their earthly condition. It would appear as if he had expressly listened to the exhortation of the son of Sirach, and had received the fulfilment of his promise: Be as a father unto the fatherless, and as a husband unto their mother; so shalt thou be as the son of the Most High, and he shall love thee more than thy mother doth."+

* He was particularly interested in the establishment of the Asylum for the Insane, and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He felt sure that these were charities worthy of all he could do to promote them, and he labored for them heartily and effectually.

"He never," observes his son, "seemed to feel displeased when asked to relieve the necessities of his fellow-beings, and therefore never hastily dismissed their claims, but carefully considered them, that he might give substantial and permanent aid.

"I cannot remember the time, when he was not planning for the benefit of several

As a friend and neighbor, his kind attentions and services were unre. mitting ;-and how much of the happiness of our daily being is dependent on such attentions and services! He knew many persons, and suffered himself to forget none. If he had kept a list of them he could not have been more punctual in his remembrances; and he did keep a list of them in his friendly heart. But though he comprehended many in his generous regards, his strongest affections were still at home, reserved for the few who were nearest, and not dissipated or rendered shallow by the diffusion of his general charity. The stream of his benevolence was wide, but its central channel was deep.

His love of nature was ever fresh and warm. He watched the seasons as they rolled, and found in each much to excite his admiration and love of the great Creator and sovereign Disposer of all. The flowers, the birds, the sunshine, and the storm were objects of his continual notice, and of frequent remarks in his diary. His habit of walking early in the morning, often before sunrise, which he persisted in regularly until about two years since, secured to him a season of daily communion with the beauties of creation and its Author.

His love of children was ardent—and he inspired them with love for himself. It was his wish ever to have some children in his family. Their joyous laugh was music to his ear. After the death of his first born, he felt so lonely that he adopted a boy to supply the vacant place. And even within a few weeks of his decease, the son of a widow was brought by him to a home in his house.

On the services of the church and the ordinances of religion as administered at King's Chapel, he was a constant attendant. And this was because he viewed them in their proper light as the outward supports of order and virtue, and the good helps of piety, and not because he esteemed them as religion in themselves, or substitutes of religion: for if there ever was a man whose piety was practical, whose religion was life-religion, who could not understand or enter into any views of religion which were not practical, it was he.

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He had borne many sorrows in the course of his protracted pilgrimage, and religion had supported him under them all. His belief in the sure mercies of God and promises of the Saviour was as firm and deeply rooted as the mountains. His faith in a future and better life was as sight. saw its glories with his eyes, and the more distinctly as he drew nearer to them. Many expressions of his, simply and strongly declaratory of this sight-like faith, dwell, and will always dwell, on the memories of his relatives and most intimate friends.

His frame was so robust, his manner of living so regular, his mind so calm, his whole appearance so promising of endurance, that, aged as he was, even in his eighty-first year, I had thought he would yet continue for a season with us, and come up for many Sabbaths to our solemn assempoor or afflicted persons. The last few years of his life were peculiarly blessed by visits from numerous persons, or the children of persons whom he had befriended."

"There was a time when, as he afterward thought, he was not discriminating enough in his charities. The reading of Malthus on Population, and the discussions which arose upon the publication of that work, modified considerably his views of true benevolence. Prevention of poverty seemed to him both more merciful and practicable than the relief of it and he was therefore continually suggesting to those who were on the verge of poverty, principles of economy and kinds of labor, by which they were enabled to put themselves into a comfortable estate."

blies. But it was not so to be. Till the Sunday before his death, he appeared as usual in his accustomed seat. For a few days afterward, gentle intimations of death were given-hardly alarming to his friends, and not at all so to him, though he perfectly comprehended their meaning. There was some aberration of mind, but no suffering of the body,—and then, to use the words of an old writer on the decease of a venerable prelate, "then he sweetly fell asleep in Christ, and so we softly draw the curtains about him."

A prominent place should be given, in a sketch of Mr. May's character, to his love of order, his methodical habits, his high estimate of the importance of punctuality. These were conspicuous traits, and they enabled him to accomplish a great deal of business, to attend to a variety of matters, which would have distracted a man without such habits, giving him, at the same time, a real though unobtrusive power of usefulness to his fellow-men, President Quincy has said in his history of Harvard College, that "there is no class of men to whom history is under so many obligations as to those who submit to the labor of keeping diaries." Mr. May performed a great deal of this sort of labor, because it enabled him to be so continually useful to all about him. His pocket and memorandum books were filled with items, that were often of great convenience, and sometimes of inesti mable value to others. To this he was prompted by his spirit of practical benevolence, and was enabled to perform with comparatively little trouble by his habits of regularity and method.

His habits of order and strict method saved him a vast deal of anxious thought about his daily business cares and duties; he always knew exactly the state of his concerns. It required no effort of careful recollection to keep in mind any thing he ought to remember, for he could recur at once to his accounts and memoranda and find all as he left it; so exact was his method, that he could return to his office in utter darkness, find any key in use there, put his hand upon any book or bundle of papers he might wish to examine.

It may be well to mention another of his principles, which he deemed -no more than a part of strict honesty. "Live within your income, whatever that may be," he would often say; "and then you will wrong no one, and will be always independent." "Should your income cease altogether, or be too narrow for your wants, make known your necessitous situation, and incur no debt but the debt of gratitude. "It is dishonest to borrow unless you foresee that you shall have the ability to repay the loan; and you should never obtain credit for any article, even a necessary of life, if you know not when or how you shall get the means to pay for it. In this case beg, rather than borrow."

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Knowing as he did the trials and temptations of a merchant's life, he took a lively interest in young men who were just entering upon it. There are not a few who gratefully acknowledge, that to him they are indebted for habits and maxims that have been of essential service to them. Early rising, order, punctuality, living within one's income, the useful occupation of leisure time, he inculcated earnestly upon all. "Few men," he would say, "are so busy, none should be, as to have no time which they might devote to their moral culture, and the acquisition of useful knowledge. Life was not given to be all used up in the pursuit of what we must leave behind us when we die."

He used the world without abusing it. He saw much that was beauti

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