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Nor is this at all necessary; for we happen to have before us a work of M. Champollion, printed at Grenoble in 1821, two years after the publication of the article on Egypt, which sets the question for ever to rest. This work is entitled "De 1'Ecriture Hitiratique des anciens Egyptiens," and it contains the following dictum:—Que les signes hieroglyphes sont des signes de chases et nan des signes de noms;" that is, it not only states what is the very reverse of the fact, but what M. Champollion himself, in his "Lettre a M. Dacier," published the year after, most conclusively demonstrates to be so. The conclusion, therefore, is inevitable, viz. that at the time when he hazarded the above assertion, he had neither done any thing himself, nor even heard of the discoveries which had been made seven years previously by Dr. Young, — discoveries, of which he has since attempted to appropriate to himself the exclusive and undivided merit. And, were it necessary, it might also be proved, that in the interval which elapsed between the publication of the former of these works and the letter to M. Dacier, M. Champollion had read and studied the article on Egypt, a single perusal of which must have been sufficient to enable a roan of his readiness and ingenuity to comprehend what Dr. Young had performed, and to decipher the proper names with which he afterwards crowded the "Lettre " in question. We are far from attempting to deny M. Champollion the credit which is justly due to him. He has a talent for methodising his knowledge, and he has also made some discoveries in hieroglyphics, which, though of a secondary kind, are far from being unimportant. Sed facile est inventis addere. With an alphabet in his hand, and great zeal and enthusiasm in the cause, it would have been extraordinary, indeed, if he had made no progress.
Latterly, Dr. Young appears to have, in a great measure, abandoned to others the cultivation of the field which he had so auspiciously opened up to the curiosity and research of the learned. To what cause this was owing it is impossible for us to say, and we can only express our regret that such should have been the case. The probability seems to be, that enfeebled
health, and the first inroads of that fatal disease which ultimately carried him off, at an age when many men are in the full vigour of their strength and faculties, engendered lassitude, and created that tendency to repose, which is the surest symptom that the energies of life have begun to decay. It is not long, we are aware, since he was induced to undertake, or rather to give a conditional promise that he would undertake, a literary task; and we know that his love of learning continued unabated to the last. But the progress of the disease, which at last proved fatal, was too rapid to enable him to execute any thing; while his mind was occupied, and his feelings harassed, by an acrimonious discussion in which, as superintendent of the "Nautical Almanac," he unfortunately became involved.
Dr. Young was a man of somewhat peculiar, but not unamiable temper, uniformly manifesting the warmest attachment to his friends, as well as the utmost readiness to promote the interests of all who had any claim upon his good offices. He was liberal and generous, but without the least particle of enthusiasm; extremely sensitive to praise, and not very tolerant of censure; and, in fact, he carried into the world some of the habits and peculiarities of the recluse scholar and man of science. But we must leave it to the pens of those who knew him intimately to do justice to his private character and private worth. It is chiefly in his scientific and literary capacity that we have attempted to estimate his powers and accomplishments; and we think it will be allowed by all candid judges, that, considered in this light, few names are entitled to a higher place in the temple of Fame than that of the truly learned and lamented Dr. Thomas Young.
His death took place on the 10th of May, 1829, in Park Square, Regent's Park, at the age of fifty-five. His remains were interred in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey.
The following catalogue of Dr. Young's works and Essays, down to the year 1827, was found in his own hand-writing:
1. A short Note on Gum Ladanum, with a verbal Criticism on Longinus, signed with his initials, and inserted in the Monthly Review for 1791, seems to have been his first appearance before the Public. The criticism was admitted by Dr. Burney to be correct.
2. In the Gentleman's Magazine for April, 1792, Observations on the Manufacture of Iron; an Attempt to remove some Objec-" tions to Dr. Crawford's theory of Heat, which had been advanced by Dr. Beddoes.
3. Entomological Remarks ; Gentleman's Magazine, December, 1792 : on the Habits of Spiders; on a Passage of Aristotle, with an Illustration of the Fabrician System; and a Plate of the mouth of an insect.
4. Observations on Vision: Philosophical Transactions, 1793, p. 169; explaining the accommodation of the eye, from a muscular power in the crystalline lens — a theory not altogether new, but immediately afterwards claimed by John Hunter, as a discovery of his own.
5. Contributions to Hodgkin's Calligraphia Graeca, 4to. London, 1794; including Lear's Curses in Iambics.
6. Description of an Opercularia. Linnaean Transactions, vol.iii. p. 30. London, 1797; read in 1794. The Opercularia Aspera of Gartner, called by Persoon, Cryptospermum Youngii, from the name here suggested.
7- Some Notes and an Epigram, in Dalzel's Collectanea Graeca, 8vo. Edinburgh, 1795.
8. De Corporis Humani Viribus conservatricibus, Dissertatio, 8vo. Gottingen, 1796: an Inaugural Dissertation, collected from a multiplicity of authors.
9. Translation of Lichtenstein on the Genus Mantis. Lininruii Transactions, vol. vi. p. 1.; read in 1797.
10. The Leptologist. British Magazine, 1800: a series of Essays on Grammar, Criticism, Geometry, Paintings, Manners, Iliches, Exercises, Medicine, and Music ; some of them reprinted afterwards.
11. 12. There is also an account of the French Calendar and Measures, and an Essay on the Morals of the Germans.
13. Experiments and Enquiries respecting Sound and Light. Philosophical Transactions, 1800, p. 106: the vibrations of the air observed by means of smoke; those of strings counted, and their orbits observed with a microscope; their harmonics suppressed at pleasure.
14. A Bakerian Lecture on the Mechanism of the Eye. Philosophical Transactions, 1801, p. 23: describing a new Optometer, and showing that the eye retains its power of accommodation underwater; measuring also the dispersive power of the eye. (Dr. Young remarks, that he "afterwards found that his own eye lost almost the whole of its power of accommodation soon after fifty, remaining fixed at its greatest focal distance.")
15. A Letter respecting Sound and Light. Nicholson's Journal, August, 1801; in Answer to Professor Robison, of Edinburgh.
16. A Syllabus of a Course of Lectures on Natural and Experimental Philosophy, 8vo. London, 1802: presenting a Mathematical Demonstration of the most important Theorems in Mechanics and in Optics; and containing the first publication of the general law of the Interference Of Light, which has been considered as the happiest result of all the Author's efforts. It was not till the year 1827, that the importance of this law could be said to be fully admitted in England: it was in that year that the Council of the Royal Society adjudged Count Rumford's Medal to M. Fresnal, for having applied it, with some modifications, to the most intricate phenomena of polarised light.
17. A Bakerian Lecture on the Theory of Light and Colours; Phil. Trans. 1802, p. 12 ; developing the law of interference, and entering into all the details of the theory to which it leads; dwelling, at the same time, upon the difficult points, with somewhat more of candour than might have been consistent with his object, had he been anxious to obtain proselytes.
18. An Account of some Cases of the Production of Colours, p. 387; containing a simpler statement of some applications of the same law, intended to exhibit the facts in a more concentrated form.
19. A Reply to Mr. Cough's Remarks. Nicholson, November, 1802, p. 1. This Letter, together with some subsequent Correspondence, relates principally to the coalescence or composition of Sounds, affording an analogy to the interference of Light.
20. Journals of the Royal Institution, 8vo. London, 1802-3. A first volume, and part of a second were edited, and chiefly written, by Dr. Young.
21. Experiments and Calculations relative to Physical Optics. Phil. Trans. ISOt, p. 1. Another Bakerian Lecture, continuing the demonstration and the application of the law of interference.
22. A Reply to the Animadversions of the Edinburgh Reviewers, 8vo, 1804: a defence of the papers printed in the Transactions, against two articles supposed to have been written by Mr. Brougham.
23. To an Imperial Review, which was an unsuccessful speculation of some booksellers in 1804, he contributed several medical and some other miscellaneous articles. The works that he reviewed were, Dumas Phisiologie, Darwin's Temple of Nature, Blackburn on Scarlet Fever, Percival's Medical Ethics, Fothergill's Tic Douloureux, Crichton's Table, Nisbet's Watering Places, Rowley on Madness, Htttton's Ozanum, Buchan on Sea-Bathing, Robison's Astronomy, Winterbottom's Sierra Leone, Macgregor's Medical Sketches, Wilson's Philosophy of Physic, Richerand's Physiology, and Joyce's Scientific Dialogues.
24. An Essay on the Cohesion of Fluids. Phil. Trans. 1805, p. 71 ; containing many of the results which were published' new, about a year afterwards, by La PJace. The mathematical reasoning, for want of mathematical symbols, was not understood, even by tolerable mathematicians; from a dislike of the affectation of algebraical formality, which he had observed in some foreign authors, he was led into something like an affectation of simplicity, which was equally inconvenient to a scientific reader.
25. A Course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy and the Mechanical Arts; two volumes, 4to. London, 1807. This elaborate work was the result of the unremitting application of five years; two, whilst the author was engaged in giving the Lectures at the Royal Institution, and three more in compiling the mass of references contained in the second volume, and in incorporating their results, when requisite, with the text of the first. By means of numerous plates, and by indexes of various kinds, he had endeaToured to render the book as convenient for occasional reference, as it was correct for the purposes of methodical study. (The failure of the booksellers who published this work, at the moment of its appearance, so greatly injured its sale at the time, that it did not repay the expenses of the publication; and Dr. Young considered that his labours were first generally appreciated by the Natural Philosophers of the Continent.)
26. Remarks on Looming, or Horizontal Refraction. Nicholson, July, 1807, p. 153, supplying some deficiencies in Dr. Wollaston's Theory, particularly with regard to the occurrence of actual Reflection.
27. A Table of Chances, with Remarks on Waves. Nicholson, October, 1807, p. 116.