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Of the necessity of this, we have demonstration in the case of Mr: Leslie; and we state, daring any contradiction, that had the boy been mewed up constantly within the four walls of a school-room, or left to gossip with other boys in his hours of play, the philosopher would not have been what he is. There is a flow and a freshness in the writings of Leslie—a familiarity with nature at all its points, and an apprecia+ tion of all its beauties which tells more, and breathes more of the green slopes of Largo Law, the cheerful scenery around, and the glittering expanse of the Firth of Forth gliding off into the eastern sea, than of the air of any school that ever was built ; and we would not, and we are sure none of the numerous readers of his writings would, exchange it for the cold pedantry of all the scholastic institutions that ever existed.
Independently of the triumphant appeal to Leslie, there is intrinsic evidence in the circumstances themselves. Place an active and inquiring boy in the open fields, so as to be lightly exercised but not fatigued; give him no mechanical drudgery to formalise his mind, let nature around him be rich and yaried, and his view of it be extensive ; in addition to this, let him be acquiring at intervals, under a good teacher, the elements of language and of science; and we should gladly travel far, if we could find another mode of youthful discipline as delightful and as certain of leading to the very best results.
Had Leslie been deprived of his time and his temptations to exercise his own powers in studying the phenomena of nature, he might have been a linguist, a mathematician, or a student in any singlé department of science; but to the circumstances in which he was placed he must have been in a great measure indebted for his universality of application. The appearances of the heavens, the changes of the weather, the succession of the seasons, the features of the land, and the phenomena of the ocean, were around him from a commanding station, and they were so grouped that a youth of ardent mind could hardly avoid thinking of them, and speculating about and wishing to know their causes. Hence, when his more scholastic instruction, and his extensive acquaintance with men of information and with books put him in possession of the theories, he was instantly enabled to refer these to facts with which he was already familiar. So that Leslie ought to be considered as a man enjoying the advantage of a double education,-a knowledge of phenomena, which is wholly his own, and which he would have enjoyed whether he had been a farmer or á philosopher; and a knowledge of philosophy, usually so called, which he acquired from attending college, from reading books, from extensive intercourse with learned and eminent men, from a long and arduous course of personal observation and experiment, and from much practice in the profession of teaching.
We have mentioned that Leslie's introduction to this second species of information was accidental, and the accident is worth relating. Engaged, as has been previously mentioned, till about, we believe, his thirteenth or his fourteenth year, he had made considerable progress in all the branches taught at the village school, which, as the parish is rich and populons, ranks as a parish school of the first class, and generally possesses an able teacher.
• But it appears that Leslie had a more extended desire of knowledge than that which the school afforded him. The field on which he tended the cattle was for the most part hedged in, so that his attendance was more a necessity of being in the fields than an em. ployment. There are always books in a Scotch farm-house, and additional ones can always be borrowed in a Scotch village. Young Leslie generally had his book with him, not his class-book in order to con his lessons, for that cost him little trouble, but a book which he read for the information of the facts, or the amusement of the story, as might happen. Among these there was a copy of Simson's Euclid, upon which Leslie commenced his career as a mathematician. Unprovided with other apparatus for the drawing of his diagrams, he began at the beginning, by having recourse to the abacus of the ancients,-he powdered the foot-path by the hedge-side with sand, delineated his figures thereon with his finger; and, closing his book, went over his demonstrations.
In the early part of his course, and when he was passing that serious bridge, called the “ bridge of asses,” because they alone are unable to cross it, the minister of the parish was on the other side of the tall hawthorn hedge, also engaged in study. The minister of Largo was kind and conversational, and in the absence of a local newspaper he performed not a few of its functions. He held forth passing well when he had got a sermon and was in the pulpit; but a new one was the labours of Hercules. So, to bring his bumps into proper action, he used to pace up and down the side of the hedge above-mentioned; and it must be allowed that if agitation was his object, the place was well chosen. The slope was very considerable, not less than five-and-twenty or thirty degrees ; and as the ventral region of the minister was a little ponderous, and his legs none of the longest, when he went dodge, dodge down the hill, the different parts of his cranial organization were ground and triturated against each other, in the same way as the Dutch make marbles, and the dust of words was produced in abundance. Then as he went up the hill, the upper part of the cranial organs (which also were none of the lightest) pressed out, in the form of sentences, the words which had been elaborated during the descent. Physically and mentally, this was rather hard labour; and the minister had often to staud and take his breath.
During one of these pauses he was startled by muttered sounds from the other side of the hedge; and listening, he could hear the words “ angle," “ triangle,” “ two sides of the one equal to two sides of the other," and A, B, C, mingled with words and sentences. St. Andrew's, where he had disciplined, flashed upon his mind: “ That must be mathematics !" quoth the minister of Largo. He listened with more attention; and as the recollections of St. Andrew's came more vivid to his memory, he ascertained that the lesson was in very deed the fifth proposition of Euclid's first book, while his own eyes through the hedge informed him that the student was none other than John, or, as he was then called, Jock Leslie, conquering that in solitude and without instructor, which the minister himself had never been able to overcome amid all the science and stimuli of St. Andrew's.
· The minister was more than delighted; and though it cut his sermon in the middle, and rendered not merely the connection but the second half doubtful, down he trudged to communicate the discovery to Leslie's father. “I have something important to communicate,” said the minister of Largo. Mr. Leslie turned, and looked gravefor he was an elder of the kirk, and sometimes, though not often, they had inquirings and rebukings “anent sin;" but he spake not. The minister laid hold of his button, and with a beaminess of visage, which convinced Mr. Leslie that there was no sin in the case, uttered, at half-minute time, these words •—“ Mr. Lessels, I am sure your son Jock's a genus.” “What,” said Mr. Leslie, rather hastily, " has he been lattin the kye eat the corn ?” Very far from it, Mr. Lessels,” replied the minister, “ he has a genus for mathematics, and you must just send him to St. Andrew's.” The advice of the minister was complied with : Leslie went to St. Andrew's the very next autumn, was successful in his classes, prudent in his finances, and gave sufficient evidence that he would not turn back in the path to eminence on which he had entered. Not very long after the completion of bis studies, he became tutor to the Wedgewoods, which gave him much knowledge of the world both at home and abroad while in that employment, and afforded him an annuity for life which, independently of any other provision, would have enabled him to pursue those experimental inquiries to which he had got an additional stimulus from the scientific owners of Etruria. Soon after this he went into philosophical retirement in his brother's house at Largo, where he performed a number of experiments, and made some of his neatest inventions. Along with his profundity he was playful; and sometimes took delight in astonishing the rustics and fishwomen with phantasmagoria, and other optical illusions, or startling them with electricity or galvanism. On account of this playfulness of disposition the elder Sibyls generally suspected that he was conversant with the black art; but the younger and better educated were incredulous on that point, and alleged that he was flesh and blood just like themselves.
Toward the close of the last century, Mr. Leslie was a candidate for the chair of natural philosophy in Glasgow, but he was unsuccessful, not from any want of qualification, but because he had been a good deal out of Scotland, and was consequently not so well known as some of the other candidates.
Want of success at Glasgow did not in any degree damp Mr. Leslie's ardour in his philosophical studies. On the other hand, he, if possible, pursued them with more assiduity and success; and, though he was chiefly among his apparatus in his retirement, his name became celebrated in the scientific world as one of the most ingenious and original of inquirers. His experimental inquiry on heat excited much attention, both on account of the ingenuity of the experiments, and the boldness of the conclusions. On the death of Professor Robinson, in 1805, and the subsequent promotion of Playfair to the chair of Natural Philosophy in Edinburgh, Leslie became a candidate for the Mathematical Professorship in that University; and, though the candidates were numerous, and several of them men of eminent talents, it was generally admitted that Leslie was entitled to the office. A
violent outcry was raised against hiin by those who could not enter the lists with him in qualification, and yet were anxious to see it filled otherwise; but the result was a triumph to Leslie far greater than if the outcry had not been raised. When the scientific world was deprived of Playfair, in 1819, Mr. Leslie was promoted to the chair of Natural Philosophy as a matter of justice to his talents.
It is needless to enumerate either the inventions or the writings of Mr. Leslie; they are numerous, they are varied, and there is much spirit and novelty in them all. Subjects which appear at first sight the least imaginative, are by him clothed with the fascinations of fancy; and if there be occasionally apparent obscurities both in his lectures and his writings, these must be ascribed to the giant strides which he takes from one eminence to another, without noticing the intermediate points, without which inferior men cannot proceed.
A JOURNEY FROM ATHENS TO MISSOLONGHI,
IN THE AUTUMN OF 1822.
Ar the approach of the rainy season I determined to leave Athens, . and to return to Europe (to use a Greek expression) by the way of Delphi and Missolonghi. It is singular that the Greeks, whenever they speak of Europe, do not include Greece in it.
They have adopted the phraseology of the Turks, who have never forgotten that they came from Asia, and that Asia is their home. The Greeks call themselves Romans ('Pwualoi), because Greece formed once a part of the Roman empire; and when, in the beginning of the revolution, the ancient name of Hellenes was revived, the common people in Greece hardly knew what was meant by it, and the Turks of course were still more at a loss to understand it, as they kuew the Greeks by no other name than Raiades, or Romans.
I resolved to return to Europe, and not by sea, as I might easily have done ; for there are frequent opportunities at Athens to embark for the Ionian islands, or even a direct passage for Venice may be met with. I chose the more perilous road, but also the more interesting one ; and, for the purpose of seeing Bæotia, Phocis, Locris, and a part of Ætolia, countries which are celebrated in the history of Greece, I did not hesitate, from any apprehension of danger or fatigue, to set out upon a journey from which my best friends at Athens endeavoured to dissuade me.
The affairs of Greece were in a very precarious state at the time I left Athens. Attica was threatened with an invasion by the Turks of Negropont, and by the troops of Dram Ali Pasha, which were in possession of Corinth and Megara. · Thebes was deserted by its inhabitants, who had fled either to Salamis or to Delphi. The whole plain of Bæotia was overrun by Turkish cavalry, and, except in nighttime, it was extremely dangerous to pass it.
Great confusion prevailed throughout the Morea ; and all the most important fortresses May, 1829.
were still in the hands of the Turks, whilst the Greeks were satisfied with preventing them from penetrating into the interior. The Turks, however, suffered greatly from the want of provisions, and lost many men in the frequent skirmishes which took place whenever they attempted to advance on any side. To the north of the Gulf of Corinth matters were worse for the Greeks; for considerable forces bad been collected in Thessaly and Albania, and were threatening the whole extent of the country through which I had to pass; but it was impossible at Athens to ascertain the precise state of affairs. The reports varied from day to day, from hour to hour, as must be more or less the case in a country which is involved in war, and especially in Greece at that time, when all was in a state of anarchy, and no regular communication kept up between one part of the peninsula and the other. I knew the Greeks well enough to distrust all their swaggering statements of victories gained over the Turks; I knew how prone their vanity is to fiction, or at least to exaggeration; and, moreover, I perceived, that the policy of Captain Odysseus, who then commanded at Athens, would lead him to withhold bad news from the knowledge of the public; but, after having made allowance for all this, and after having believed, of all the sinister reports on the state of the countries through which I intended to travel, the worst I had ever heard, it was still proved by the event, that much worse had happened, or was to happen, than we knew, or ventured to anticipate, at Athens.
A few days before my departure from Athens, I was introduced to Odysseus by his friend, the Austrian Consul, Gropius: when I told him that I wished to go to Delphi, he proposed that I should go with one of his Captains as far as Livadia; and, upon my thanking him for his proposal, he immediately sent for Captain Giorgaki. *** This gentleman will go with you to Livadia. Take good care of him, and let me know from Livadia that you have brought him there safely; and you will write,” he added, addressing me again, “ to our friend the consul.” I could not help admiring the noble soldier-like deportment of Odysseus; his countenance bespoke shrewdness, as well as determination and intrepidity; and it was easy to remark, from the respectful conduct of the soldiers who surrounded him, that they were used to obey, as Odysseus in mien and attitude seemed to be born to command.
It was a beautiful morning when we left Athens by the gate of Marathon. The Acropolis began just to lift up its head in splendour, as the sun was rising from behind the mount Pentelicus. The dusky morning twilight of autumn was yet hovering over the plain of Athens ; but the noble pillars of the Parthenon, which is built on the most elevated part of the Acropolis, were already glittering in full brilliancy, and at a distance the high summits of the mountains of the Morea began to sparkle in the sky. Passing along the banks of the Ilissus, we threw a parting glance on the columns of the temple of the Olympian Jupiter. To the other side of the road the hill of Anchesmus, which gives such a high finish to the landscape of Athens, was towering over us in sublime magnificence. I felt deeply affected in surveying, for the last time, all the wonders of nature and