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racer, whom Pindar celebrates. I have heard of a petit-maitre, who accidentally meeting with a dead Snake, fancied he had killed it by a blow he ftruck it, and immediately applied to a painter to have the exploit preferved, and himfelf pourtrayed as Alcides encountering the ferpents. The fubject was begun, but the hero in queftion died of a confumption, before his frame had been dilated to Herculean dimenfions!
A young man who belongs to the City Affociation, by profeffion a taylor, has, fince the peace, been feized by fuch a military frenzy, that he defired to have himself difplayed in the character of the Chevalier Boyard in his dying moments. He was, it is true, reafoned out of his defign, but it is a fact, that at the last exhibition his portrait made its appearance armed at all points!
Many a Ruben's wife have I known, whofe only claim to affinity with the artift was, that they fufficiently underftood the use of colours to paint themfelves!
I was told of an unmarried lady near Windfor, who, while fhe was fitting to fupply Diana with a fet of features, was taken in labour, and delivered of an infant virgin to gambol in the train of the goddess!
Numberlefs are the Marias we have, whofe only proof of infanity, is affuming the fituation of Sterne's melancholy
A few evenings fince I was making remarks to this effect, when a young lady oppofed her arguments to mine, and told me, as a proof how fincere fhe was, that at her earnest defire herself, and four of her fifters, were painted as the Five Senfes, and that the fancy met general admiration. One of her fifters having a pretty ear, was made to perfonate hearing; another, on account of her bright eyes, was defcribed as feeing; and fo on, according to their various perfections. “And, pray, Madam (enquired I, willing to be informed of her own particular excellence) in which of the fenfes did you appear?"-“O, Sir (replied the) I was pourtrayed as feeling."-" And what (continued I) might you be feeling?"- Why, Sir (anfwered the in return) I was ftroaking a little tame rabbit that lay in my lap!" I am, &c.
FOR THE LONDON MAGAZINE. CHARACTER OF RICHARD RUSSELL, ESQ. LATE OF BERMONDSEY-STREET, IN THE COUNTY OF SURREY.
R ICHARD RUSSELL, Efq. was
born in the parish of Bermondfey in the year 1723, and was the only offspring of Mr. John Ruffell, of the fame place, fellmonger. His father, who died in the year 1770, is faid to have been a native of Warwickshire; and he acquired, by great industry in bufinefs, about ten thousand pounds, which he left to his wife principally, who furvived him, and lived with her fon till the year 1780, when fhe died. A handfome monument is erected to both their memories in Bermondfeychurch.
Their fon carried on the business of a wool-ftapler many years, and had not relinquifhed it altogether at the time of his death. He is allowed on all hands to have conducted himself in it with great credit and integrity. In perfon he was below the common ftature, was pitted with the small-pox, and, while in health, was somewhat inclined to corpulency. He was regular and punctual in his accounts and dealings, and, having been bred to an economy which bordered on parfimony, he never had any relish for pursuits
As a politician he was public-fpirited, and a great lover of freedom. He did not much like to go out of his ufual track, and, therefore, scarce. ever took journies; but having conceived a great efteem for the public conduct of one of the gentlemen whom he named an executor, his love of ease did not prevent his going thirty miles to vote for him at three or four county elections.
which were attended with confiderable he bequeathed it to him accordingly; expence. If he was not generous, he and Mr. Donaldfon has fince received was honeft and incorrupt. As an in- it from his executors, when he exhabitant of a large parifh, and as a preffed his furprife at the completion commiffioner of the pavements and of a promife which he had altogether fewers, he always oppofed the impro- forgotten. per expenditure of public money, and was ever ready to pay any fum on fuch occafions out of his own pocket, rather than put the parish or commiffion to the leaft charge. It was very much owing to him that the latter commiffioners introduced their prefent practice of paying for their own dinners at all their public meetings. He was in the commiffion of the peace for the county of Surrey, but never took out his dedimus. The world at large have fuppofed that he was the Juftice Ruffell who had fome concern in fuppreffing the riot in St. George's-Fields at the time of Mr. Wilkes's imprifonment in the King's-Bench prifon, and whofe house in confequence was nearly pulled down by the mob; but that magiftrate, Edward Ruffell, Efq. is ftill living, at Sydenham, in Kent: others have miftaken him for John Ruffell, Efq. a magiftrate at Greenwich.
His education had been narrow and confined, even for a tradefman; but he poffeffed a confiderable fhare of good fenfe, which he improved by reading. He was, in particular, an admirer of poetical compofitions, and purchased a renter's fhare of Drurylane playhouse, to gratify his love of theatrical exhibitions, which, in winter, he almoft conftantly attended:
in fummer he amufed himself with walking all round the metropolis, but never lay out of his own bed. He had a kind of cynical turn, which led him frequently to oppofe the fentiments of others; and that rendered him in a degree unpopular: thofe who knew him beft were not difgufted with his character, which, though odd, blunt, and fingular, was fometimes thought entertaining, and always honeft. He was a strict obferver of his word on all oceafions. Many years ago he declared in company to Mr. Donaldson, of Meffrs. Child's fhop, that he would leave him, at his death, his gold watch:
About two or three years ago he wrote a tract, called "War with the Senfes; or Free Thoughts on Snuff-taking," which, if not well written, was tremely well intended; the profits of this publication he declared his intention of giving away in charity. In this tract he has attempted a diffuafive against the practice of taking fnuff as unwholesome and flovenly, and particularly as injurious to female beauty,, of which he was always a great admirer.
It is certain that the populace dropped fome expreffions of diflike against the memory of the deceased on the day of his funeral; but it is not true that he was hung in effigy, as was reported. The world at large had entertained a prejudice againft him for having omitted all mention of his relations in his will, and this was greatly heightened in Bermondfey, by his having directed his body to be interred in St. John's church, the adjoining parish; but the funeral proceeded without the least obftruction or outrage, till it came to the church-yard, where, and in the church itself, a furprifing multitude of both fexes, and all ages, was affembled. The fingularity of ten virgins attending the funeral of an old bachelor, as pall bearers, and ftrewers of flowers, and their dreffes, excited the curiofity of the town in general: a prodigious crowd was affembled; and in it, it is believed, was every pick-pocket in London. These last placed themselves in the church and church-yard; they
let the ladies follow the corpfe without much interruption; but before the mourners and attendants could get out of their coaches they clofed in, prevented these latter from following immediately after the ladies, and plundered almost every well-dreffed perfon around them. The confufion in the church arose principally from the immenfe crowd affembled there to fee the funeral proceffion; and it would certainly have existed if the corpfe of the moft popular character had been carried for interment in a manner equally pompous and novel.
He had a natural fon, who died young feveral years ago, to whom he had left all his forrune. From the time of his death he gave all his property, real and perfonal, in every will he made, to public charities. He has left 3000l. to the Magdalen, 3000l. to the Small-Pox, 3000l. to the LyingIn hofpitals, and all the refidue of his fortune, after a few legacies, to the Afylum for female children. These feveral charitable foundations were established, in a particular manner, alleviating the diftreffes of the moft amiable and helpless part of the creation; and, as he had been a man of fome gallantry in the earlier part of his life, may we not charitably fuppofe that he intended making retribution to the fair-fex, by donations in their favour the moft liberal and uncommon! He exerted himself much in his life time in the establishment of a very ufeful charity, the Surrey Difpenfary, of which, at the time of his death, he was one of the vice-prefidents, and to which he has given 500l. by will.
He was a member of the Antiquarian, and, it is faid, was a candidate at the time of his death for admiffion, as a fellow, into the Royal Society. He was a great admirer of the fine arts, and has left behind him a collection of prints which are faid to be very valua ble. These, by his will, are to be fold to any gentleman that will give zool. for them.
It was at first believed that he had directed all the eftates of which he received the rents to be fold for the benefit of the charities above-mention
ed; but, on a clofer examination into his property, that bequest, it is faid, extends only to fuch as were of his own purchafing; his father, by his will, devifed all his real estates to his wife for life, with remainder to his fon Richard, and his heirs, lawfully begotten; and, in default of fuck, directed they fhould be fold, and their produce divided among the children of his brother Thomas Ruffell, and his fifters Willett and Parkes. Their defcendants confider themselves as now entitled to enter into poffeffion of those eftates, and have demanded them accordingly. The executors, it is faid, will take the best advice in the law for their conduct, determined, as they are, to do ftrict juftice to all parties. Thefe eftates, fo left by the father, are of confiderable value; and, it is thought, the knowledge Mr. Ruffell had of the certainty of his relations taking those eftates after his death alone prevented his mentioning them in his will; for with fome of them he lived on friendly terms, and corresponded.
He generally kept about 10,000l. running cafh at his banker's, with which he was always ready to accommodate any of his neighbours of whom he had a good opinion (and they were not a few) by difcounting their bills. In thefe tranfactions it is certain, fo far from being guilty of ufury and extortion, he never took a penny more than legal intereft. At a time when the trading part of mankind were fubjected to many inconveniencies for. want of regular remittances, fuch a conduct on the part of Mr. Ruffell was particularly ufeful: the want of fuch a friend, we hope, will not now be inconvenient to his trading connexions.
He was a great admirer of the late Dr. Samuel Johnfon, who, it is faid, had formerly been his tenant; and he left him, originally, 100l. on condition that he fhould write his epitaph. So far from entertaining a with that fuch epitaph fhould be fulfome, he knew enough of Dr. Johnfon, to be convinced that he was lefs likely than any other man to flatter the dead or the living. That he afterwards changed the bequest in favour of the Rev. Mr. Grofe might
and probably did, arife from the infirm ftate of Dr. Johnson's health*, and from a defire of paying a teftimony of respect to the talents and ingenuity of a worthy young clergyman, who refided many years near him, and with whom he had lived on terms of great intimacy and friendship.
From his firft being feifed with the jaundice, of which he died, he was firmly perfuaded that he fhould not, and he frequently faid he did not wish to recover. Poffeffed of his full fenfes almost to the laft, he from day to day would talk of his approaching diffolution, and gave directions to his fervants, and to Mr. Leavis, one of his executors, who was every day with him, with a calmnefs, compofure, and fortitude of mind which would do honour to the best of men. His regularity was fuch, that having been accustomed to pay his fervants on the day next after every quarter-day, he paid, on the 30th of September, his houfekeeper her wages, and made her a prefent for her care of him, an hour or two only before his death, at a time when he expected almoft immediate
He was a great admirer of fculpture, which probably led him to direct a monument of zoool. value to be erected in St. John's church, in Southwark. He paffed over his own parish-church
on this occafion, not, as it has been faid, from diflike to the inhabitants there (for whofe charity-school he left tool. by his will) but from the impoffibility of obtaining room for its erection in a fabrick ancient and decayed. If this laft act of human vanity will not bear the rigid animadverfion of reafon and philofophy, let us confider how few of us are perfect; that the beft of men have their frailties, and that he is happiest who has the fewest imperfections!
The author of this account knew him many years in publick, and fince his death he has had many opportunities of acquiring information refpecting his private life. That Mr. Ruffell was not what the world would call an amiable man in his manners or deportment is certain; a defective education had prevented him from being fuch. But it is equally certain that he did not deferve the opprobrium with which his memory has been branded by the public prints. Impelled by truth alone, the author of this brief account, who can have no other motive, has thought it a duty in him to vindicate from mifreprefentation the character of a man, whofe failings have been exaggerated, and whofe good qualities have been funk in general abuse.
Nov. 11, 1784.
REPLY TO MR. CAVENDISH'S
I Mean to trouble the Society but
In the first place, he fays, that in Mr. Laffone's experiment the effervefcence proceeded not from any fixed air in the alkali, but from the further action of the acid on the zinc from which inflammable air was difengaged. But this could not have happened; for,
firft, the zinc, instead of being further acted on by the acid, was precipitated according to Mr. Laffone's own account (p. 8); and, fecondly, the acid was only added by degrees, and undoubtedly would unite to the alkali preferably to the zinc; therefore it was from the alkali, and not from the zinc, that the effervefcence arofe.
Secondly, With regard to the calcination of lead; though in England the fmoke and flame may come in con
*We are rather inclined to believe that Mr. Ruffell felt Dr. Johnfon's fuperior virtue, and, therefore, changed his epitaph writer.
tact with the metal, yet in Germany red lead is formed without any communication between them, according to Mr. Nofe, who has given an ample account of this manufactory (p. 86). Is not lime formed in contact with fuel, flame, and smoke? Mr. Macquer even thinks it probable, that the contact of flame is hurtful to the production of minium (2 Dict. Chy. 639). Mr. Monnet made minium by melting lead in a cuppel, in fuch a manner that it was impoffible it could come in contact with the least particle of flame or smoke (Mem. Turin. 1769, p. 71.) Mr. Cavendish expreffes his furprife at my afferting, that the black powder, which Dr. Prieftley formed out of an amalgam of mercury and lead, was exactly the fame as that out of which he had extracted fixed air; but, I think, I have affigned very fufficient reafons for my opinion: how far I was right will beft appear by Dr. Prieftley's own letter, in the hands of the fecretary, of which the following is an extract:
I certainly imagined the two black powders you write about to be of the fame nature, and therefore did not attempt to extract any air from the latter; but immediately on the receipt of your favour of yesterday, I diffolved an ounce of lead in mercury, and expelling it by agitation, put the black powder, which weighed near twelve ounces, into a coated glass retort; then applying heat, I got from it about 20 ounce measures of very pure fixed air, notth of which remained unabforbed by water."
Fourthly, It is impoffible to attri-bute the fixed air, produced by the diftillation of red precipitate and filings of iron, to the decompofition of the plumbago contained in the iron; for the quantity of fixed air produced in Mr. Cavendish's own experiment is more than twice the weight of the whole quantity of plumbago contain ed in the quantity of iron he used, fuppofing the whole of the plumbago to confift of fixed air, which is not pretended; and more than eight times
the weight of the quantity of fixed air which plumbago really contains. For Mr. Cavendish employed in his experiment 1000 grains of iron and 500 grains of red precipitate, and obtained 7800 grain measures of fixed air, which are equal to 30 cubic inches, and weigh 17 grains. Now 100 grains of bar iron contain, according to Mr. Bergman, at moft, two-tenths of a grain of plumbago; and confequently 1000 grains of this iron contain but two grains of plumbago; and plumbago, according to Mr. Scheele, contains but one-third of its weight of fixed air; fo that here, fuppofing the plumbago to be decompofed, we can have at moft but seven-tenths of a grain of fixed air, or little more than one cubic inch. If we fuppofe the filings to be from fteel, 1000 grains of fteel containing eight of plumbago, we may have about 2,5 of fixed air, or about 1,5 cubic inch, and this is the ftrongeft fuppofition, and the moft favourable to Mr. Cavendish. What fhall we then fay, if we confider that thefe filings were mixed with copper or brafs which contain no plumbago? and, above all, that plumbago cannot be fuppofed decompofable by red precipitate, fince even the nitrous acid cannot decompose it?
Fifthly, With regard to the power which nitrous felenite has of abforbing fixed air, I muft allow the experiments of Mr. Cavendish to be juft and agreeable to my own; but it only follows, that when fixed air is in its nafcent ftate, it is more abforbable. Thus many metallic calces take it from alkalies in its nafcent state, though in other circumftances they will take
Laftly, the permanence of a mixture of nitrous and common air, made over mercury, cannot be attributed to nitrous vapour, as vapour is not elastic in cold; befides, I have often made the mixture without producing any fuch durable vapour, and this will always happen, when the nitrous air is made from nitrous acid fufficiently diluted.