Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small]
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

MEMOIRS of the Life of George GRAHAM, F. R. S.

With a ftriking Likeness of that celebrated Philosopher and Mechanico. MP

R. George Graham, an emihe allowed her of forty pounds. He

nént aftronomer, and the most certainly suspected her of great mis. celebrated watch-maker and mechanic conduct; for the two sons she brought of his time, was born at Gratwick, him he never conceived to have any an obscure village in the north of equitable claims to his affection. Mr. Cumberland, in the year 1675. Of Graham, after having been long an his early years no information can be honour to his country, and the intiobtained.' His education, it is proba mate acquaintance of Newton, Halble, was of the most common kind; ley, and the most celebrated men of for although he was maiter of Latin, science, and persons of rank, both he was-indebted for his acquisition of natives and foreigners, died at his that language to his own instructions, house, opposite Water-lane, in Fleet, at a more mature period of life. He street, in November 1751, and was came to London in 1688; and was buried on the 24th of the same month, put 'apprentice to a person in the with great funeral folemnity, in the loweft branch of horology, a thirty- middle aisle', of Westminster Abbey, hour clock-maker. . On the expira- near the grave of Mr. Tompion. He tion of his apprenticeship, his strength left about 6,000l. which, by the inof mind, and superior genius in me- terference of the city in the difpofichanics, were fo evident, that Mr. tion of his effects, was divided beThomas - Tompion, at that time the tween the widow, and her two sons. first watch-maker in the world, was She survived him but a very short happy to take him as his journeyman. time. The art of making watches was then Such are the few incidents that can in its infancy; and Mr. Tempion be recorded of a man, whose residence himself was originally of a very in: was confined to a single street, and ferior profession, a gatesmith in the whose life was devoted solely to astrocountry: he came to London, the nomical observations and mechanical year after the great fire, and opened pursuits. But on his character and a shop, at the corner of Water-lane, talents we are better able to expatiate. in Fleet-street, where he continued That he was, beyond competition, till his death. With this ornament of the moft eminent of his profeffion, his profefsion, Mr. Graham formed was the least part of his character: a close connection, by marrying one he was the best mechanic of his time, of his nieces. He was supposed to and had a complete knowledge of have been in partnership with his un- practical astronomy. He was not fo cle-in-law, their joint names being much distinguished for having brought put to all Mr. Tompion's watches the various movements for the menfor many years before the death of furation of time to a superior degree the latter ; but this was done, in or- of perfection *, as for having invented der to secure the business to him, to several attronomical ini ruments, by which accordingly he succeeded, as which considerable advances have been well as to the principal part of Mr. made in that science': he made great Tompion's fortune. Mr. Graham, improvements in those which had behowever, was not happy in this un on; fore been in use; and, though not his wife being reparated from him possefied himself of any wonderful many years, and living on an annuity manual dexterity, yet, by being the

* He made far greater improvements in mathematical inftruments than in clocks and watches. He was not merely a warch-maker : he was an universal mechanic.

с

most

most excellent judge of good work- mirable instrument than he took it to manship, and constantly employing pieces; but, after having satisfied his the beit workmen, his inftruments curiosity, he could not put it together were constructed with a precision and again, without having recourse to the accuracy which no other person in the allittance of Mr. Graham, who was world could equal.

too indifferent to his own interest and The great mural arch, or quadrant, reputation, to refuse it. Mr. Rowin the royal observatory at Greenwich, ley, from this circumstance, was enawas made for Dr. Hailey, under his bled to copy it, including in it, by immediate inspection, and divided by the addition of some simple movehis own land. From this incompa- ments, such parts of the system as rable original, the best instruments of Mr. Graham had omitted ; and he the kind in France, Spain, Italy, and made his first planetarium for Charles the West Indies, are copies made by earl of Orrery, a great literary chaEnglish artists. The sector, by which racter of that period. Sir Richard Dr. Bradley first discovered two new Stecle, who knew nothing of Mr. motions in the fixed stars, was invent- Graham’s machine, thinking to do ed by him, and conitructed under his justice to the first encourager, as well inspection; and that great philosopher as to the inventor of such a curious expressed a lirong sense of his dbliga. inftrument, called it an Orrery, and tions to Mr. Graham, for that alliit- gave to Mr. Rowley the praise which ance in his astronomical enquiries was due to Mr. Graham. which he derived from the excellency When the French academicians of his instruments He comprised were sent to the north, in the year as much of the planetary system in the 1736, in order to ascertain the true compass of a {mali cabinei, as was figure of the earth t, they thought necessary to alift the astronomical flu- Mr. Graham the most proper person dent in his enquiries. From this in Europe, to superintend the conplanetarium, as from a model, all the itruction of their instruments. They modern orreries have been construct- accordingly succeeded, having exeed; while the honour due to Mr. cuted their commission in less than a Graham, as the inventor, was un- year; so that by subsequent observajustly attributed to another. The his- tions in France, fir Isaac Newton's tory of this invention is very remark- theory of the figure of the earth was able.-When prince Eugene came to completely confirmed. But the acaEngland, after the conclusion of the demicians who went to Peru, not peace of Utrecht, he purchaled many taking proper instruments with them, philosophical instruments of Mr. Row- were very much embarrassed and reley, the royal mathematical inftrument- tarded in their operations. maker; and being introduced (as all Mr. Graham communicated many scientic foreigners of diitinction were) ingenious and important discoveries to Mr. Graham, he was so greatly to the Royal Society, of which he ftruck with this planetarium, that he was a member; particularly, a kind strongly folicited him to part with it. of horary alteration of the magnetic The great artiit reluctantly yielded to needle ; a quicksilver pendulum ; and the solicitations cf the philosophical many curious particulars relative to hero, and, by his directions, fent the the true length of the simple penduplanetarium to Mr. Rowley, in order lum, upon which he continued to make that it might be conveyed to Vienna, experiments till a few years before with the other inftruments which the his death. He was indeed an celprince had purchased. Mr. Rowley lent experimental philosopher; all his was no sooner in possession of this ad- experiments being made with an un

* See Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Bradley, in our Magazine for March 1791. + See Bonnycattle's Astronomy, page 269.

com

common degree of accuracy and pre- pleasure, he was generous. He fre. cision.

quently lent money, but could never His temper was as communicative, be prevailed upon to take any intereft; as his genius was penetrating ; his and, for that reason, he never inprincipal object being the advance- vefted any money in the public funds, ment of science, not the accumulation. He had bank notes by him, at his of wealth, or the acquisition of fame. death, which were thirty-two years He was originally bred a quaker; old; and his whole property, except but he discarded all the fingularities his stock in trade, was found in a of their dress, but their neatness; and strong box. he does not appear, in the sequel, to It may not be improper to observe have been attached to any particular here, that Mr. Thomas Mudge, watchchurch or sect. As he was perfectly maker to his majesty, whoie inventive sincere, he was without suspicion; as genius has contributed so much to he was superior to envy, he was ever the improvement of his art, was apcandid ; and as he had a relish for true prentice to Mr. Graham.

Curious ANECDOTES of the Recovery of Ancient MANUSCRIPTS.
I his .
T was a Florentine who found, bu- translated into Latin, and published

Since, howrotten coffer belonging to the mo- ever, other manuscripts of the same nastery of Saint Gal, the works of work have been discovered; and the Quintilian ; and, by this fortunate fraud of Leonard Aretin is apparent. discovery, gave them to the republic Machiavel acted more adroitly in a of letters.

similar case.

A manuscript of the Papirius Maffon found, in the Apophthegms of the ancients, by house of a book-binder of Lyons, the Plutarch, having fallen into his hands, works of Agobart. The mechanic he selected those wirich pleased him, was on the point of using the manu- and put them into the mouth of one sçripts to line the covers of his of his hero:s. books,

A

page of the second Decade of Raimond Soranzo, a celebrated Livy was found by a man of letters, lawyer in the papal court at Avig- on the parchment of his battledore, non, about the middle of the four- as he was amusing himself in the teenth century, had in his poffesfion cauntry. He ran directly to the maker the two books of Cicero on Glory. of the battledore : but arrived too He made a present of them to Pe- late ; the man had finished the last trarch, who lent them to an aged page of Livy, in compleating a large and poor man of letters, formerly his order for these articles about a weck preceptor. Urged by extreme po before. verty, the old man pawned them ; Sir Robert Cotton, being one day and, returning home, died fuddenly, at his tailor's, discovered that the without having revealed where he man held in his hand, ready to be had left them : since which time they cut up for measures, the original have never been recovered.

Magna Charta, with all its appenLeonard Aretin was one of the dages of seals and signature. He most distinguished scholars at the dawn bought this fingular curiosity for a of literature; but he has done that trifle; and recovered, in this manwhich reflects on him great dishonour. ner, what had long been given over. He found a Greek manuscript of Pro- for loft. copius de Bello Gothico. This he

[blocks in formation]
« PředchozíPokračovat »