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and sanguinely putting forward his yet more promising plans, ready to he brought into immediate activity; — if this sense of amply doing the duty he was sent out to perform, animating the natural strength of his fine constitution, could have kept the warm blood unvenomed in that benevolent heart; could have preserved the bright health, which one hour glowed on that manly cheek, and in the next was extinguished in livid paleness; if all this could have sufficed, to compass with security the life of man in that colony, Denham would not have died! 'But the*"good, the brave, has indeed fallen! and, who is safe?' *
"It was on the 9th of June, 1828, that he breathed his last, in the Government House at Sierra Leone, after a few days' severe illness. Young as he was, he had completed his commission on earth; for his sun, though yet in its early noon, had gone down in a glorious path, and a rich harvest of good works waved over it.
"The news, when brought to England, did not find a father or a mother to weep for a noble son,—whose growing fame was to reflect honour on their hoary heads no more. They had been, many years before, laid in their peaceful tombs. But his brother survived; his elder in primogeniture, and, as such, one who, from the time of their revered parents' death, had been a brother indeed,—a friend, a father, to the young and enterprizing soldier; he lived but in the happiness and honour of that dear and adventurous charge; and nobly did the indefatigable aspirant repay him with the object of his fraternal cares; for, ere a few years had passed away, Dixon Denham became renowned as a successful as well as faithful servant of his country ; also, as an unwearied benefactor to the poor inhabitants of the wildest regions, whithersoever he was sent: and in this true celebrity his not less beneficent and disinterested kinsman found a just recompense, himself a retired man, but frankly enjoying, with an honest pride, the light which shone round his brother's name; for it was the light of integrity, talent, and an intrepid soul."
• The Arab's Lament.
SIR HUMPHRY DAVY, Bart., LL.D. F.R.S. M.R.LA.
Of the various branches of human knowledge which have been elucidated by the discoveries and improvements of modern times, no one has been further advanced than that of chemistry. The rapid and important acquisitions in that science which have distinguished the present age, are chiefly to be attributed to the substitution of the analytical for the synthetical system of philosophising; and, in the next place, to the profound judgment and indefatigable ardour with which the subject of this memoir availed himself of that great improvement, in unveiling in a career, unequalled since the death of Newton, the mysterious constitution of the infinitely diversified matter by which we are surrounded.
The circumstances that may have produced in any eminent man a propensity for a particular pursuit, will always be enquired into with curiosity and interest. No one can deny the powerful and commanding influence of our first impressions; and the acute observer of character will continually develope traits that are referable only to such a source; even as, in the magical colouring of Rembrandt's pictures, the practised eye readily recognises the chiar'-oscuro of his father's mill, in which the artist passed his earliest days. But circumstances, however happily combined, although they may direct, can never create, genius; it is true that Cowley, as he himself relates, became a poet by reading Spenser's Fairie Queen, which he accidentally discovered in the window of his mother's apartment; and it is equally true, that Sir Joshua Reynolds had the first fondness of his art excited by the perusal of Richardson's treatise: it is possible that, without such accidents, the one might never have courted the Muses, nor the other won the favour of the Graces; but still Cowley and Reynolds never could have shone dimly under any circumstances; for true genius, as it has been well observed, is a mind of general powers, accidentally determined in some particular direction. So was it with Davy; his mind was as vigorous as it was original, and no less logical and precise than it was daring and comprehensive; nothing was too mighty for its grasp, nor too minute for its observation: like the trunk of the elephant, it could tear up the oak of the forest, or pluck the acorn from its branch. That circumstances in early life should have directed such energies to the advancement of a science which requires for its successful cultivation all the aids of novel and bold, and yet patient and accurate, research, is one of those fortunate coincidences to which the world is indebted for almost all the valuable knowledge in its possession.
The name of Davy is of ancient respectability in the West of England. Sir Humphry's paternal grandfather had considerable landed property in the parish of Ludgvan, in Cornwall; and his father, Robert Davy, possessed a paternal estate opposite St. Michael's Mount, called Bartel, which, although small, was amply competent for the supply of his limited desires. It is probable, therefore, that his profession, which was that of a carver in wood, was pursued by him as an object rather of amusement than of necessity, although in the town and neighbourhood of Penzance there remain many specimens of his art; and among others several chimneypieces, curiously embellished by his chisel. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to witness his son's eminence; but from his widow *, who has only lately descended to the tomb, full of years and respectability, this boon was not withheld: she witnessed his whole career of usefulness and
• Mrs. Davy's maiden name was Grace Millett.
honour, and happily closed her eyes before her maternal fears could have been awakened by those signs of premature decay, which long since excited in his friends, and in the friends of science, an alarm which the recent deplorable event has fatally justified.
Sir Humphry Davy was born at Penzance, in Cornwall, on the 17th of December, 1778. Having received the rudiments of a classical education under Dr. Cardew of Truro, he was placed with a respectable professional gentleman of the name of Tonkin, at Penzance, in order that he might acquire a knowledge of the profession of a surgeon and apothecary. His master, however, soon became dissatisfied with his new pupil: instead of attending to the duties of the surgery, Humphry was rambling along the sea-shore, and often, like Demosthenes, declaiming against the wind and waves, in order to overcome a defect in his voice, which, although only slightly perceptible in his maturer age, was, when a boy extremely discordant; instead of preparing the medicines for the doctor's patients, he was experimenting in the garret, and upon one occasion he produced an explosion that put the doctor and all his phials in jeopardy. At length, a negotiation between the parents and the master commenced, with a view of releasing the parties from their engagement; and we believe that Humphry returned home. It is, however, but fair to state, that he always entertained the highest respect for Mr. Tonkin, and never spoke of him but in terms of affectionate regard.
We shall here pause in our narrative, for the purpose of introducing a few anecdotes, which will serve not only to illustrate the early character of Davy, but to exhibit in their origin and growth several of those prominent peculiarities which distinguished him in after-life. That he was a boy of decision and courage, may be inferred from the fact of his having, upon receiving a bite from a dog, taken his pocket knife, and, without the least hesitation, cut out the part on the spot. The gentleman who related this anecdote observed, that he had frequently heard him declare his disbelief in the