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MAGAZINE AND REVIEW,
For NOVEMBER, 1806.
The preservation of the Faith and Doctrine of the Cuvrch, depends,
under God, most chiefly in the support of the Government OF THE Caurcu, that is in supporting her as a SOCIETY.
Memoirs of the Right Reverend SAMUEL HORSLEY, LL.D. F.R. and A.SS. late Lord Bishop of St. Asaph.
(Continued from page 243.) AVING mentioned the doctor's resignation of his
place as secretary of the Royal Society, we are naturally led to narrate the particulars of his secession from that illustrious institution. When Sir Joseph Banks succeeded Şir John. Pringle as president of the Royal Society, a more than commendable degree of partiality was said to have been manifested towards those members who were distinguished by, the appellation of virtuosi. Their pursuits and discussions also engrossed more attention, and obtained more honourable marks of distinction, than the productions of more learned and scientific men. Impropero measures were likewise taken to prevent the election of some respectable candidates, whose qualifications consisted principally in their profound acquaintance with mathematical leamning. These circumstances gave great offence to many of the ablest and most active members, but it was not till a direct attack was made
Vol. XI. Churchm. Mag. for Nov. 1806. Tt upon
upon the scientific body in the person of one of its most eminent members, that the smothered resentment broke out into open hostility and rupture.
The office of the Society's corresponding secretary, an employment of great bonour, much trouble, and little profit, the annual salary being no more than 201. had been held, and the duties of it ably and punctually discharged for some years, by Dr. Charles Hutton, Professor of Mathematics in the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. On the 20th of Nov. 1783, the President summoned his council for the purpose of depriving Dr. Hutton of his office. This purpose was effected by a resolution of the council, which was said to be a method of letting down the doctor easy; namely, that it was expedient for the foreign secretary to reside constantly in London. In this resolution the council unanimously concurred; with the exception of Dr. Maskelyné, the astronomer royal, and Mr. Maty, one of the principal secretaries, who very properly desired that Dr. Hutton might be heard before he was dismissed.
At a subsequent meeting, one of the members, in an elegant and pointed speech, proposed a vote of thanks to Dr. Hutton, which was with some difficulty carried by a majority of five. No sooner was the meeting broken up, than the President summoned a council, at which the resolution of the former council, respecting Doctor Hution was declared a wise one, and ought to be enforced. On the meeting of the society the next day, Dr. Horsley moved, that Dr. Hutton's defence, which the council had treated, not only as nugatory, but as a full justification of the former council, should be read to the Society: The motion was introduced with a short speech, in which the proceedings of the council of the preceding day were treated with great freedom, and the injustice shewn to Dr. Hutton with high indignation. This motion was seconded by Dr. Maskelyne, and no reply being made, Dr. Hutton's defence was read.
This defence having made a considerable impression, the President summoned a cabinet council of his friends to deliberate on what was best to be done. The result of their deliberations was, that some motion should be brought forward, which should quash all inquiry into the President's official conduct by a general vote of thanks or approbation. A card was accordingly sent to all the members of the Society, requesting their attendance on
the 8th of January; at which meeting the following motion was made and seconded: “That this society do approve of Sir Joseph Banks for their President, and will support him.” This motion was warmly opposed in a very sensible speech by Mr. Edward Poore. He was followed on the same side by Mir. Baron Maseres; to whom succeeded Dr. Horsley, who, in a very modest manner, mentioned the une he had devoted, the contributions he had made, and the high office he had borne in the Society. This he did as a presumptive evidence that he would not be willing to disturb the peace of the Society, and call off its attention from his own favourite pursuits. But abuses he alleged had been long practised, and were still mcreasing, which must affect the honour and prosperity of the Society, which in fact threatened its very existence, and for which debate was the only remedy. The following address to the President was peculiarly excellent, and strongly characteristic of the speaker's inanner:
“Sir, if I should consider the motion as a mere compliment to the President, having neither retrospect nor consequences, I would be one of the foremost to concur in it. For, Sir, whatever warmth of resentment I may be apt to feel and to express, when I conceive the character of my friend to be injuriously attacked; with whalever zeal, with whatever vehemence of zeal, I may be ready to rise, when the chartered rights of this Society are to be asserted, when its constitution is to be defended against encroachments; I am still ambitious to seize every fair occasion of expressing personal respeet to Sir Joseph Banks. And I feel it a inost painful task, which my duty to the Society. imposes on me, to arraign and to expose his conduct, in the high office which he does us ihe honour to hold among us. Sir, it has been suggested to me, by gentlemen who conceive that debate is the worst thing which can happen in this Society, that if the abuses with which I charge the P.esident's government do really exist, I m ght take a better and a more effectual way of obtaining the reinedy: of accomplishing what they consider to be my ultimate purpose, by communicating my opinion to the members of the Society in private visits: and I am really inclined to think that this is very good advice. If my intention were to cure the 'abuses of the President's govern ment by preventing the renovation of his authority next TI2
St. Andrew's day, I do think that this purpose might be more certainly carried in the way which has been recommended to me. But, Sir, I believe you will yourself allow, that the method which I now pursue of public debate and discussion, if a less certain, is a far more fair and honourable way. You would rather, Sir, that I should make your plan of government a topic of public debate, than that I should calumniate your character in private. This, therefore, is the method to which I shall adhere as the most honourable. I must, therefore, however unwillingly, speak to the merits of the question now before us: and if I should bring forward offensive matter, I must entreat your candid hearing. You are a public man in this Society: your conduct, therefore, must be subject to revision: and you must bear with an adversary who charges you publicly, because he disdains to wound in secret.” In another part of this admirable speech, in allusion to this irregular mode of voting support to the President, the doctor observed, “As for those optimists, who hold Sir Joseph Banks to be the best of all possible, Presidents to be found in this best of all possible worlds, let them come down at the next anniversary, and re-elect him. That will be the season for giving him support. At present no support can be given him, unless it be the unjust support of approving the conduct towards Dr. Hutton, which the Society, hath already condemned or of securing him against all future complaint by a general vote of approbation.” The speaker then goes on to vindicate Dr. Hutton, after which he proceeds to the adduction of his charges against the President, particularly with regard to the influencing of elections, eight very strong and flagrant instances of which he entered into the particular history of, but was at last borne down by an incessant clamour for the question on the part of the President's friends, with an accompaniment of sticks. In the midst of this indecent confusion, so unworthy of any meeting, and particularly a philosophical one, Dr. Horsley indignantly closed his speech, in the following strong terms: “Sir, since it is the resolution of your friends, that I am not to be heard upon an argument, to which they are conscious triat they can frame no reply, I shall strug
gle no longer with their clamour. I shall say but a few words more. Sir, it would be absurd to vote for the present question without a discussion of its merits. Approbation is no approbation, unless it be accompanied with a conviction that it is deserved, on the part of those who bestow it. Sir, I well know the generosity of your high spirit will rejeet an approbation voted in ignorance. Sir, you will say to us, Give me no approbation till you are satisfied that I deserve it. Approbation given, while a suspicion may remain that it is undeserved, is a false compliment.
Falsus honor juvat-
Let the charges which have been set up against my conduct, be fairly discussed and fully investigated. When they are found to be groundless and nugatory, then give me your approbation. Your approbation given then will ' gratify me; because it will be at the same time un upprobation of me, and a censure of those who have dared, without cause, to arraign my conduct. Approbation given Now, before these charges are done away, were prend ture. It will not gratify me. It will offend. These, Sir, I křow to be your sentiments. I concur with you in these sentiments: and I move the previous question."
Dr. Maskelyne rose next, and after a short speech, seconded the motion for the previous question. . Lord Mulgrave having said, that “ some broad hints might be necessary to convince the gentlemen who seemed so active in promoting these dissentions, how highly their conduct was disapproved by the majority of the Society;" Dr. Horsley rose in some warmth, and addressed the President in these words:
Sir, what has fallen from the noble lord, seems so directedly pointed at me, that I must beg leave to say a few words, to inform the noble lord what may be the effect of broad hints. Sir, we see and confess the extent of the President's personal interest. We see that great numbers my be occasionally brought down, to. ballot upon particular questions, who do not honour the Society with a very regular attendance. We are well aware, Sir, that oppressive statutes may be framed ia the council, and, with this support in the Society at large, received. We understand, that motions, personally offen