Page images

man who had some claims to be re- We are not exactly certain at what' membered by posterity. time Mr. Barron received his licence William Barron was born in 1785, to preach the Gospel, nor when he at a small farm in the parish of Cor- was first ordained a minister: we storphine, named Kershall, which know, however, what is of infinitely was at that time rented by his father, more importance, that he was not He received the greatest part of his very fortunate in any of his parochial education at Edinburgh, where he charges, and that the experience devoted himself to the study of theo. which he obtained of the life of a logy. We are not so well acquainted country clergyman, by no means inwith his early habits and propensities, creased his attachment to that profesas to be able to trace with accuracy the sion. His first settlement took place progress of his improvement, and the at Wamfrey; from thence he went development of his intellectual facul- to Whitburn. In both these places

ties. We know, however, that his he had frequent cause to lament the father could not afford him much pe- pernicious effects of those doctrines cuniary aid, and that early difficul- which had poisoned the minds of his ties and obstacles called forth his parishioners, by accustoming them to powers, and habituated him to those look upon religion as a subject of spe exertions of industry and persever- culation and controversy, without reance, to which alone he was to trust ference to their conduct as members! for his future consequence and suc- of society. The consequences of cess in the world. He applied with such opinions he always deplored, as uncommon assiduity to the study of they necessarily involve the comfort ancient literature and philosophy, and or the character of the clergyman, by transferred the information derived forcing him either to maintain an from these sources to facilitate the endless struggle with ignorance and acquirement of the different branches folly, or at once to resign all hopes of of modern science. Among these, being useful, debase his talents, disMathematics and Natural Philosophy grace his profession, and sink into an attracted much of his attention, and unworthy and precarious popularity, formed part of his course of study by making a compromise with truth, for many years. His labours while and administering to the prejudices at the University distinguished him of his hearers. Mr. Barron uniformly among his fellow-students, and procured for him the respect and friendship of several of the most eminent of the professors.

withstood this corruption, and to a torrent of misguided zeal, and the 'fa natical fury of bigotted enthusiasm, opposed the dignity of a virtuous and upright mind, and with an ardent and manly eloquence boldly taught that active benevolence and integrity in this world were alone compatible with the glory and happiness of heaven.

The first literary enterprise in which he was engaged was as the redacteur of the journals of Mr. Bell of Antermony, who travelled in the years 1715 and 1719, from Petersburgh to various parts of Asia. In composing this work from The leisure which was left to him the materials afforded him by Mr. Bell, after performing his ministerial funche had no great opportunity of display- tions, he devoted to the improvement ing his own talents. The manner, of his own mind, and the advance however, in which he executed it, ment of science. Agricultural pura fully justified the opinion entertained suits occupied a good deal of his at of him by his friends, and by those tention, and in 1774 he published an who recommended him to the task. The first edition of this work was published in 1761. Subsequent geographical discoveries have confirmed the information originally acquired by Mr. Bell, while the very valuable intelligence which he communicates coucerning the interior of Asia, has assumed unusual importance from the extraordinary events of the present time,

[ocr errors]

Essay on the Mechanical Principles of the Plough," but his principal labours consisted in researches con cerning the government and policy of ancient nations, with a view to illus trate the doctrines of political science. With this intention he published, in 1777, a work entitled, "History of the Colonization of the Free States of Antiquity, applied to the present con test between Great Britain and her

American Colonies." When he was sation, however, for the loss of which, a clergyman he also composed his his Majesty many years afterwards, "History of the Political Connection was pleased to confer upon him a penbetween Great Britain and Ireland," sion of 100% per annum. which was published about the year When Mr. Barron went to St. An1780, soon after he went to St. An- drews, he carried with him a considrews. It is likewise proper to men- derable share of literary reputation, tion that he wrote an "Account of and the extent of his knowledge and the Life of Thomson," which was the vigour of his intellect promised prefixed to an edition of his Seasons still further to increase his fame. printed at Edinburgh. He also was a regular contributor to a literary magazine, which was established at that place about the time that he resided there, and occasionally furnished articles for some of the reviews published in Londen.

Zealous in performing the duties to which he had been called, he commenced his academical career with an ardour which for a considerable time had a manifest influence on the acquirements and pursuits of his pupils. He faithfully executed what was required The integrity with which he dis- of him as a lecturer, and attempted at charged bis duties in private life, and the same time to establish a new class the proofs which he had given of for composition and elocution, as a learning and talents, enabled him to practical continuation of the one which rank among his intimates and friends he taught. In doing so he wished to many of the most eminent literary carry on the improvement of his pucharacters of his country, and procured pils in writing their own language, by for him flattering marks of respect prescribing to them subjects for essays from many of those who had distin- and orations, and to habituate them guished themselves in the most ex- to the practice of public speaking and alted departments of political life. elocution. We need not pursue this The circumstances connected with plan through all its details: no one his appointment to the situation which could be better calculated for answerbe held in St. Andrews were certainly ing the purposes for which it was inhonourable to himself, and evince at tended, nor for establishing and proleast the sentiments which were en- moting the advancement of his stutertained of him by those who are dents. But St. Andrews, it should chiefly instrumental to the success, seem, was not the place where any and consequently ought to be best such plans for enlarging the mind, calculated to judge of the claims of or exciting liberal inquiry, were to literary men. lle was nominated meet with much encouragement. Professor of Rhetoric and Logic in His establishment seconded by all that university totally without his the exertions of his friends, could knowledge. For this mark of distinc- only maintain a doubtful existence for tion he was indebted to Lord Suffolk, one or two sessions. It received no (at that time one of the Secretaries of countenance from his colleagues, and State) who on various occasions' had as most of the students are bursars, expressed it to be his fixed intens and consequently under the controul tion to take the first opportunity of of the masters, it soon perished. recommending Mr. Barron to some. We would willingly examine with mark of his majesty's favour, and that some degree of minuteness, the his merely on the ground of literary tory of Mr. Barron's academical life, merit." Several reasons, however, as it would afford opportunity for induced Mr. B. to hesitate before he introducing many interesting specu accepted this appointment, chiefly lations concerning his character and because it would force him to give happiness, and throw light upon the up the living which he possessed, with theory of education, by tending to out materially contributing to his pro- ascertain the claims of St. Andrews motion or bettering his circumstances. as a place for the instruction of youth. Lord Suffolk was not aware at that At present we must be exceedingly time that the professorship was in- brief on all these topics. We must compatible with the situation which be permitted to observe, however, he held as a clergyman; as a compen- that a small town with a society come

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

posed chiefly of individuals, whose much impaired. Disorders of this actions and opinious fluctuate with kind never fail to commit dreadful the tide and currents which are gene- havoc on the happiness of those who rated by the petty politics of univer; possess any degree of sensibility; this sity factions, is neither well calcu- consequence, however, always disaplated for the improvement of our pears when the bodily affections are. moral or intellectual faculties. A removed. But if you increase their constant warfare among the contend- power by conjoining with them that ing interests, who seem to dispense race of ills which humankind raise the honours and emoluments of aca- up among themselves," the horrid off demical preferment, not as the re- spring of malevolence and slander, yards of superior attaininents, not the result is highly deplorable, as the as incitements to study and exertion, causes are beyond the reach of the but as engines to perpetuate the exertions of any individual, The lapower and maintain the superiority of mentations and sorrows of a virtuous a party, must be hostile to science, if character are bebeld with derision and not subversive of the most valuable contempt, and those who occasion his principles of our nature. No man sufferings and his pains treat them as who is not the humble servant of oc- visionary, or, with equal wisdom and casion, is well suited for a society of humanity, ascribe them to the creative this kind, as he must either surrender powers of a diseased imagination: such some portion of his integrity, or fore- was nearly the state of Mr. Barron go much of his enjoyment in life, for several years before his death. The His best directed efforts to introduce sympathies of his family were insufa more liberal policy, his most per- ficient to support him under the causes severing struggles to support the by which he was depressed. His fairfading interests of philosophy, must ultimately be overpowered, and his Consequence in the eyes of his associates will probably be diminished, in proportion to the extent and sincerity of his previous exertions.

est prospects were blasted, his happiness was destroyed, and his literary character in some measure sacrificed to forward the views of a vicious and interested policy.

On the 25th of Dec. 1903, the symp A strong physical constitution and toms of a disorder with which he had puremitting attention to study, put been some time affected, began to asMr. B. for a long time beyond the sume an alarming appearance, and influence of causes of this kind. He put a period to his existence in less carried on his investigations with suc- than three days. cess, and looked forward with satis- We must now conclude this notice faction to that day when he should by simply stating, that nearly twenty enjoy the sweets of his toil, and se- years of the time that he lived at St. çure to himself a lasting and wide Andrews, were dedicated to the comextended reputation, equally removed position of a History of the Gofrom the attacks of calumny and envy, vernment, Situation, and Philosophy But for several years before his death of Rome." This work and his "Lecthings began to assume a very diffe- tures" he had determined soon to subrent aspect. From his inordinate mit to the press. The latter have application to literary pursuits, his already been in the hands of the pub, digestive organ had become very liç for two years.



HE courts of France and Spain possession of the throne of Spain, and

pune. On that spot are the eyes of rial! The Bourbons are now suing Europe now fixed, and there the so- to a Corsican-to a man whose ancesvereign of France sits arbiter on the tors were not known in the time of destinies of Spain. What a contrast Louis XIV.-they are suing to him to to the scenes of former times when determine which is to be a king; he the ancestor of the royal competi- is to decide between the father and the tors for the crown lef: Paris to take son, and his word will be the faw.

Whether he will condescend to let a Without a head, without any person Bourbon reign, or if he does, which in whom they can confide, what can he will choose, time must determine. the people do? Despotism never sees The real fact is, that whichever again its folly till too late. This is suffiassuines the title of king, it is of little ciently exemplified in the two great consequence, for ueither will enjoy in kingdoms of France and Spain. The future real kingly power; that is now Bourbon family, in two of its branches, vested in Bonaparte, and the nominal had the possession of these kingdoms, king of Spain will in fact be only the and they obtained the great object of deputy of the French emperor. their ambition-absolute rule, with At the court of Bonaparte, at Bay out the intervention of the constitu onne, are not only the old king and tional authorities, so wisely placed queen of Spain, with their son (the under them in France; the assembly new king), but also the late fallen of the three estates in Spain, the minister the Prince of the Peace; all Cortez. What did the Bourbon fathree important personages at the mily gain by this conquest over their present time, and all three to be made own subjects? the disgust of the use of by the puissant emperor as occasion may require. It was expected that Bonaparte would have gone to Madrid to settle the difference, but he prefers the safer situation for a time, and his armies are arranging matters, if necessary for his pre


middle ranks, and an apathy to their interests, except in those who were paid to support them. The destruction of the family was brought about by different modes in the two kingdoms: in the one by the people themselves rising against their sovereign, in the other by the people sitting tamely by, whilst a foreign army was taking possession of the kingdom. Despots will not learn by these examples, but continue in the usual progress, they will exasperate the people till they turn with rage or indignation against their masters, or they will so break their spirits, that it is indifferent to them who is their master. Thus Providence teaches mankind, that government is of high import, and that they who will not study its duties merit to be hurled from their thrones, and to be made an example to the world. We may extend our pity to suffering individuals, but for the sake of a few, the interests of the many are not to be sacrificed.

The points in dispute between the two kings are the nature of the abdication of the father, and the right of the son to assume the reins of government. If the abdication was an act of force and violence, the right of the younger must fail to the ground, and the discussion on these cases may be prolonged by Bonaparte at will. What the Prince of the Peace has to do there it is not easy to determine. If the rights of sovereigns can be tried by an emperor, the right or the crimes of a subject are cognizable only by his own lord, and his fate will depend on that of his master. If the old king is restored, he will return, but his unpopularity is such, that this measure will scarcely be adopted. His ahdica- It is a curious question whether Botion will probably be deemed valid, naparte will now go to Madrid. He and the young king's claim will not will not do it unless he has secured soon be settled. It is said, however, the country completely by his troops. that the latter has expressed a degree At present the Spanish army must be of contritice for his conduct, and it is completely weakened, the officers even asserted that he has resigned his scarcely knowing of whom they hold crown. Nothing is improbable in this their commissions. Many reforms case. Both father and son are weak must take place in the kingdom, and men, both incapable of ruling a na- those will proceed as a boon from the tion in troublesome times. French emperor, not from a Spanish Disturbances have prevailed in monarch. The enlightened mind of Madrid, and risen to such an height the former will know how to turn as to require vigorous exertions on every thing to his own advantage, and the part of the French. Blood has it will not be difficult for him to been shed on both sides, but the Spa- appear in the light of a benefactor. niards were brought into order. Nothing has as yet transpired of his

intentions, and it is probable that Sweden. If it retreats, the Russians every thing has been determined upon will place themselves in security in at Bayonne, before it is read in the the ports on the east of the gulph of Privy Council of Spain. Very pro- Bothnia, ready to transport thembably Gibraltar will be an object of selves into Sweden, and attack the his military plans, and if we can keep north, whilst the French are invading the French and Spanish forces em- the south of that kingdom. If the ployed, as we did in a preceding war, Finland army should be reinforced, it may be some satisfaction to us, that then the strength of the interior of his entry into Spain has not met with Sweden will be diminished, and great complete success. danger is to be apprehended from the Danes and French.

In Portugal every thing follows his will. The late reigning family had It is most probable that Finland is no interest in the minds of the bulk left to its fate, and the next accounts of their subjects, and their departure will be, that the greatest part of the is not regretted but by those whose Swedish army in Finland has shared property is in danger from the rapa- the fate of the fortress of Sweaborg. city of the French. These persons Still Sweden is not conquered. The are daily endeavouring to get away, news of the loss of this fortress has and thus affording new pretexts for not damped the ardour of the chivalplunder to the 'ruling powers. Very rous king. On receiving the news, severe edicts have been issued, and he immediately broke the commandgreat care is taken to prevent a cor- ing officer and all the officers in counrespondence with our fleets. The cil with him, who had not protested scarcity of provisions is, however, by against the convention. We do not no means of that nature as was at first imagine that this is the best way to represented. Some articles are dear, reinvigorate his army. He might have but the country is very far from being stopped till a court-martial had been under any apprehension of famine. holden on the conduct of the officers, Our accounts, however, from the in- and their guilt had been completely terior of that country are so scanty, ascertained. General Whitelocke was that its real state is hardly to be as- not dismissed from the service till certained. after a trial; and we should have From the South of Europe our at thought it very strange if the Duke of tention is called to the North, and York had been cashiered, when be the King of Sweden claims the re- saved himself and army by his articles spect due to his spirit of chivalry. of convention with a French geHe bas manfully thrown down the neral.

gauntlet to his two great antagonists, In the convention at Seaborg a Russia and Denmark, and as yet the very extraordinary article has been French troops have not assailed him. introduced, and evidently with the It is to be hoped that our squadrons design of bringing the conduct of the will be able to prevent a landing of English at Copenhagen into contempt. the French in Sweden, and also, by The article runs thus-"The flotila cruising in the Baltic, to prevent a shall be restored to Sweden, according Russian armament from convoying its to the particular return made thereof, troops over the gulph of Bothnia. As after the conclusion of peace, in case yet the war has been to the disadvan- that England should also restore to tage of the King of Sweden. The Denmark the fleet which she took Russians may be said to be at this mo- last year." Now there seems to be no ment masters of Finland; they have analogy between the two cases. Rustaken Sweaborg, the Gibraltar of the sia, by fair war, and after a declaraNorth, and with this important for- tion of war, takes a fortress and a tress have possessed themselves of flotilla; England, without a declaragreat quantities of naval and military tion of war, and in time of professed Sores, and the Swedish flotilla in the peace and amity, seizes the fleet of harbour of Sweabourg This is a sad its friend, and sets on fire his capital.. blow to the king; for his army in There is no comparison in the values Finland must now either retreat, or be of the fleet and the flotilla, and it is supported by a considerable army from evident this article can be introduced.

« PreviousContinue »