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society; but lie had ill-health, and died a very few years after the period of which I am now speaking. I was too shy and too much awed by the society of persons generally a good deal older than myself to take any part in the debates, except when it was my turn to open the discussion, and on these occasions my speeches had little to recommend them, except their brevity. In the first year, however, I furnished an essay on the advantages which might be derived from metaphysical enquiries. I read other essays afterwards, one on the principles of science, and the mode of conducting scientific enquiries (which gained me some credit in the society), and another on what were supposed to be modern discoveries, which could be found in Pliny's 'Natural History.' I mention these trifling matters merely because they show that, although I was really studying hard in my profession, I nevertheless found some leisure to think of other things. Ellis and myself were for some time joint secretaries, or, as we were called, registrars of the society, and hence arose an intimacy between us, which has continued uninterrupted to the present day. He was then a sub-librarian of the British Museum, of which institution he has been now for many years the principal official person.
As I have introduced the 'Academical Society/ I shall give the rest of its history, which may, however, be comprised in a few words. The most zealous of its members was our president Dr. Maton. He regarded it as an institution for the advancement of literary and scientific knowledge, and, I have no doubt, looked forward to the time when it would occupy a high place among the learned societies of the metropolis. But it was too near to the Inns of Court for this purpose. The young lawyers especially were wont to introduce political allusions, on which occasion Maton, sitting as president, would take off the three-cornered hat which he wore according to the fashion of that day, and warn them that this was contrary to our regulations. But his warnings were gradually less and less attended to: the society assumed more and more the character of a common debating club, and our president resigned. The meetings were afterwards transferred to a larger room in Chancery Lane, and, I believe, flourished very much in their new character for a few years, then declined, and died a natural death. In fact, the altered habits of society have not been favourable to these evening meetings. In the beginning of the century lawyers dined at halfpast four or five o'clock, and had long evenings. In like manner the Royal Society Club dined at the Crown and Anchor at five o'clock, and made a full attendance at Somerset House afterwards. But now, when few persons of the best educated classes dine before seven o'clock, the meetings of the Royal Society are scarcely attended, there being not unfrequently no more than twenty or thirty of the Fellows present, or, as the French say, assisting on these occasions.
During my first winter in London, I attended Mr. Abernethy's lectures on anatomy, and worked in the dissecting-room, and attended Dr. (now Sir Alexander) Crichton's lectures on chemistry every other morning. My time was not so much occupied but that I had leisure for some other pursuits. I read the first volume of Dugald Stewart's 'Moral Philosophy/ which was then lately published, and Berkeley's'Dialogues' and 'Principles of Human Knowledge,' which last I obtained for the sum of half-a-crown at a bookstall. If I were called upon to name the author from a perusal of whose works I have derived the most advantage, I should mention Berkeley. Of course I refer not to his hypothesis of the non-existence of the material universe, but to the example which he affords of clear, precise, and accurate reasoning, combined with a simple, unaffected, and perspicuous style. At another bookstall I found his 'Treatise on Tar-water/ of which I read as much as I could. Full as it is of learning, I wondered at that time, as I wonder still, that the author of the 'Principles of Human Knowledge' and the 'Essay on Vision' should have produced another work with so many strange conceits and illogical conclusions as the 'Tar-water.' Berkeley's metaphysical head seems to have been totally unfitted for mere physical researches.
On the whole, the beginning of my London life was agreeable enough, though it formed a strange contrast to the quiet of my father's house. In the spring of 18021 returned to Winterslow. I had never been absent before for more than a fortnight at a time, and once only even for so long a period as this. I began at last to suffer from a kind of nostalgia, and I shall never forget the delight which I felt when, seated in the little Salisbury coach, which performed its journey of eighty-two miles in about thirteen hours, I once more breathed the country air, and looked out on green fields and trees, or recognised .the scenes of my boyhood gradually disclose themselves as I walked from the Winterslow Hut (two miles off) to my father's house. During the following summer (1802) I passed my time much as I had done formerly. I thought, however, that I ought to do something towards advancing my professional knowledge, and, accordingly, I borrowed Benjamin Bell's 'System of Surgery' from Mr. Wyche, one of the surgeons to the Salisbury Infirmary. I found it, however, a most unreadable production; indeed, I doubt whether it was ever read by any one. Yet, somehow, it had a sort of