« IndietroContinua »
When the direction of this establishment was committed to the present Editor, it was proposed to publish a supplemental volume which should contain a history of the passing times. The three volumes would have been so moulded as to contain an annual register of history, science and literature. The plan of such a works had been submitted to the public by the editor, in 1812, when he sought refuge in this city from the fury of a ferocious and uprestrained populace, in a neighbouring state. When The Port Folio was offered to him, it appeared that this work might be extended so as to comprehend what he had proposed to publish under the title of “The Chronicle." Not long after that proposal was submitted to the public, Mr. Dobson offered an Annual Register, which should “ prise, a sketch of the political history, foreign and domestic, of the six months immediately preceding the appearance of each volume an exposition of domestic and foreign literature for the same interval," &e. (see the Prospectus in The Port Folio, vol. i. 1816, p. 263.) Our work was therefore suspended, because our chief inducement was to supply a desideratum which was loudly demanded. Mr. Dobson has published two volumes, which, in the opinion of their accomplished editor, “ fully rəalize the idea of a Register, (vide pref. 1.) As we had contemplated something materially different from this plan, we resume our offer of publishing a supplemental volume.
It shall contain-a HISTORY OF EUROPE, taken chiefly from the Edinburgh Annual Register, a work decidedly superior to any similar journal in Europea HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES—an annual view of LITERATURE, compiled from the best sources-an annual view of the progress of the SCIENCES STATE PAPERS, &c. &c.
The history of Europe will be commenced with the second restoration of the Bourbons in France, and that of the United States, with the accession of Mr. Monroe. In treating of our domestic affairs, we shall confine ourselves to facts, and avoid comments as much as possible. · The price of the Supplement, which will be published with a distinct title, index, &c. will be $ 6-or $ 5 to those who pay in advance. The subscribers to The Port Folio and Supplement, may receive the three volumés for $ 10, if paid in advance. If the subscriptions actually paid shall not be equal to the necessary augmentation of expense, the sums paid will be returned or passed to the credit of the individual in his account for the Port Folio.
We have received Mt. Ackerman's letter and thank him for his politeness. He will find in our present number that we are indebted to bis splendid work for a scene in which a melancholy truth is illustrated by sacarstic wit.
The life of Mr. Mackintosh was published some years ago, and we regret that we are unable to continue the article to the present time.
We have received translation's of M. Dejony's Ode, from a correspondent in New York and from one in Richmond, Va. but neither of them is sufficiently correct for publication.
" A.” atBaltimore was too late. His amendment shall not be neglected.
We expect to be able to present a series of papers on classical subjects to the readers of our next volume. If instructors of seininaries and their pupils would co-operate with us, we think this journal might be made a powerful auxiliary in the important business entrusted to them.
This note is addressed, more particularly to our former associates, the Clios of Nassau-hall.
THE PORT FOLIO.
CONDUCTED BY OLIVER OLDSCHOOL, ESQ.
Various; that the mind
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH.
We are fully sensible how difficult it is to comprise, within the narrow limits allotted to our biographical sketches, any thing like a satisfactory account of the life and writings of men distinguished for genius, and eminent for learning. But we are equally sensible how curious the public must feel to learn whatever particulars may be collected of persons, who, like the gentleman of whom we are now proceeding to speak, are enabled, by the direction of their talents, so powerfully to influence the opinions and the taste of the nation. Respecting such men, we think it better to say even a little, rather than remain wholly silent; always anxious to exert ourselves to gratify the laudable curiosity of our readers, while we are equally desirous to advance nothing, which we do on the present occasion, but what we derive from faithful and authentic
James MACKINTOSH (now sir James) is descended of an ancient and respectable family, in the Highlands of Scotland, which possessed a small estate of about five hundred pounds a year. He was born on the 24th of October 1765, in the parish of Dores, in the county of Inverness, and the care of his infant years was intrusted to his grandmother. At the age of seven he was relieved from female tuition, and removed to the school of Fortrose, where his juvenile studies were ably superintended, first by a Mr. Smith, and afterwards by a Mr. Stalker. His proficiency was such as announced the dawn of extraordinary talents, and he was particularly remarkable for quickness of conception and retentiveness of memory; the power of the mind, which is generally the earliest to expand itself, and in which to excel is the first intellectual struggle of puerile emulation. When he had scarcely reached the age of thirteen, he had already acquired all that the school of Fortrose was competent to teach, and by the advice of his master he was sent to King's College, Aberdeen. Here he applied with equal diligence and success, to a more critical study of the classicks, under Mr. Ogilvie, and was afterwards initiated in the ele- , ments of philosophy, under Dr. Dunbar. In the one he evinced the elegance of his taste, in the other the acuteness of his understanding, and in both he afforded an instance of rapid improvement as had seldom been observed in that or any other university. To whatever department of science the propensities of his own mind inclined him, he was now intended by his friends for the profession of physic, and with that view he removed to Edinburgh. The literary fame which the superiority of his talents had acquired at Aberdeen, travelled before him to Edinburgh, and, on his arrival, his acquaintance and company were eagerly courted by those students who aspired to equal eminence, or who embarked in similar pursuits. If Edinburgh afforded him more various facilities of improvement, it also held out opportunities of pleasure and dissipation, in which the most cautious youth is often but too prone to indulge. Young Mackintosh was not altogether proof against the frailties of his age, and he indulged pretty freely in all those enjoyments in which its ardour and impetuosity are wont to revel. The character, however, of his dissipation, was very difforent from that of the generality of young men. Whatever might be the inconstancy of his other amours, the love of knowledge never once deserted him. Whether he sighed in the Idalian groves, or joined in the roar of the convivial board, he had constantly a book in his hand; and most commonly an ancient or modern poet,
upon whose sentiments or diction he frequently interposed some observations, and to which he endeavoured to direct the attention and remarks of others. He was thus unremittingly active in the exercise of his mind, and thus happily contrived to imbibe instruction with his wine. But the particular bias of his mind soon began to declare itself: his attendance at the medical lectures became daily less frequent, and he was jocosely styled, by his fellow students, an honorary member of the classes. Notwithstanding, however, this apparent inattention, his medical knowledge was astonishingly extensive, and he was observed to collect it from conversing with those who were known to be most sedulous and successful in such pursuits. He was likewise a distinguished member of the Medical Society, in which he made his first essay in public speaking, and in which he was admired not only for eloquence and acuteness, but also for the profoundness of his medical researches. His favourite society, however, was the speculative, in which literary, metaphysical, and political subjects were discussed, and which afforded him happier opportunities of displaying the versatility of his genius, and the variety of his accomplishments.
In the year 1787, the career of his medical studies drew near to a close, and previous to taking his degree of doctor, he was obliged to write a Latin thesis, in conformity with the rules of the University, which is submitted to the professors as a probationary essay. His habitual indolence, for no man was ever, with such mental activity, physically more indolent, and his general disrelish of medical subjects, made him postpone this production until the last moment; but when it was produced, it bure the stamp and features of a mind which could give birth to nothing vulgar or subordinate. He chose, indeed, a subject (muscular motion) which at once gave room for the display of his physiological and metaphysical knowledge, and the intricacy and obscurity of which he aptly alluded to in the motto prefixed to the dissertation:-Latet arcanâ non enarrabile fibra. On this intricate and obscure question he was supposed to have thrown as much light as it has hitherto been thought susceptible of, and which it was well possible to concentrate within the limits usually prescribed to these academical essays. But another and more striking instance here oc
curred of the indolence that early marked the disposition of Mr. Mackintosh. Although the examination of the different candidates who aspired to medical honours at the same graduation, was not to take place till between ten and eleven o'clock in the forenoon, yet Mr Mackintosh could not prevail upon himself to get ready in time, but kept the senatus academicus waiting for liim nearly a whole hour. For this disrespectful inattention, he, how. ever, abundantly atoned, by the quickness and dexterity with which he replied to the different objections that were urged against his positions.
Having now obtained the privilege of teaching and practising medicine, he impatiently hastened to London, which he had long anxiously wished to behold, as the centre of talent and of learning He had there very different temptations to withstand from those which first entangled him at Edinburgh; and as they pressed around him in much more various shapes, and more fascinating forms, they naturally made him oling more closely to such a residence, and as naturally alienated him from a profession already distasteful to him, and the exercise of which was incompatible with his favourite pursuits and abode. His friends, however, continued to urge his entering on practice, and at one time he was advised, by Dr. Frazer, a near relation of his, to attempt an establishment in London or Bath: at another, with better prospects, he was preparing to set out for Petersburgh, where he had hopes of succeeding Dr. Robertson, as phvsician to his imperial majesty. At this time his pecuniary re' urces were far from being ample, and this inci. pient embarrassment of his circunstances, joined to his aversion from his pr session, and his reluctance to quit London, contributed not a littl.: to thicken his perplexities. From this dilemma he was soon ext eated by the death of his father: an event which, however it must affect his filial feelings, left him at least at liberty to follow his o DC bice, and to engage in a profession more congenial with the cast of his mind, and more coincident with the course of his reading. Accordingly he lost no time in entering his name at Lincoln's Inn, and readily preferred Coke on Littleton to Galen and Hippocrates.
Shortly after he commenced the study of the law, the French revolution broke out, and opened such auspicious prospects to the