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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF PETER NIEUWLAND.
mit them to educate his child in their house. As you have given in your Fourth Number He was nine years of age when he left his father's an account of the poet Berunicius, the following
house. biographical sketch of another extraordinary man
He applied himself to all the sciences, and may not be unacceptable. It is taken from a
succeeded in all; Belles-Lettres, history, and Dutch publication of Professor Van Swinden, | philosophy, soon became familiar to him; he who also wrote his funeral oration.
learned mathematics by his own genius, with hardly any instruction, and applied them to
physics, mechanics, and astronomy. He soon Peter NIEUW LAND was born in the year surpassed his teacher, Professor Van Swinden, 1764, in a village near Amsterdam; his father and the disciple was as much superior to the was a master carpenter, who understood arith- master as the master had been to the disciple. metic and Euclid, and had a tolerable collection His meinory was prodigious; he turned over of good books.
the leaves of books, read, as it were, two He soon perceived tha: his son had no relish pages at once, and afterwards repeater the confor the play-things suitable to his age; the child tents. All mathematical problems were solved was only to be amused with prints and their ex. by heart; geometrical figures, and algebraical planations. After his mother had for some time characters were always in his mind; he made his diverted him with a book containing fifty figures, calculations in the streets, in numerous comand had repeated to him the Dutch verses in panies, and amidst all the tumult of Amsterdam. stanzas of six lines, which were under each, she He learned languages with the same facility; one day heard the child, who was then three besides his native language, Dutch, he perfectly years old, repeat the whole fifty staazas in the understood Greek, Latin, French, English, order the prints were shewn to him, without Italian, and German, and could read Spanish, missing a syllable.
Portuguese, and Swedish books. It is unnecesAt five years of age, young Nieuwland had read sary to remark what an immense advantage this the whole Bible; two years after, his mind was knowledge was to him. full of the knowledge he had acquired by reading He possessed all the requisites of a great poet, all his father's books of history, travels, Dutch a lively imagination, a perfect knowledge of poetry; he had made notes of the remarkable nature, of history, of the best poems, and lastly, events, the characters of chose men who had dis- of his mother-tongue. He translated into Dutch tinguished themselves, and the properties of verse, before he was nineteen, all that the Greek animals and plants of which he had read; every and Latin poets have said on the state of the soul thing was strongly imprinted in his memory; he after death ; and he imitated the style of Homer, also wrote verses in which the sparks of poetical of Pindar, of Anacreon, of Theocritus, and of fire already appeared.
Virgil. To this genius for poetry he united a decided With all these brilliant qualities, he was motalent for mathematics. At eight years he per- || dest, and of the most pure and gentle manners; fectly understood the famous theorem of Pytha-full of respect for the Supreme Being, and humble goras on the right-angled triangle.
in prosperity. At nine years old he was examined by Pro Such an amiable man deserved a good wife; fessor Eneas, as to his mathematical knowledge, he found a young woman who was handsome, and performed operations which astonished the lively, tender, and sensible. He married her; Professor, who asked him if he could tell how she died in child-bed, at the age of twenty-two, many cubic inches a little wooden figure on a and her new-born daughter only survived her two clock contained? “Yes," said the boy, “if days. you will give me a piece of the wood of which He was obliged to quit Holland for sometime, the image is made.” Why?“) shall reduce to assuage liis grief for her loss (he wrote an elegy it to a cubic inch, and compare its weight with on her in Dutch verse, which was printed at that of the statue, and then I shall be able to Amsterdam in 1792), and went to Gotha in aniwer pretty exactly."
Saxony. Every body now began to talk of the carpen Here his whole time was spent in the study of ter's son; all the learned men in Holland came astronomy; after a few months' stay he returned to see him. Among others were Jerom de Bosch, to Amsterdam, and was by the Admiralty apand his brother, who requested the father to per pointed one of the Commissioners for determining No. XVII. Vol. II,
longitudes at sea, and for revising marine charts, and always knew how to make himself respected, which required all bis astronomical knowledge, | Accordingly, no Professor has been more sincerely and to this he applied as if he had never done regretted, no pupils have more honoured the any thing else.
memory of their master; he was soon taken from Soon after he was appointed lecturer on ma them, Nieuwland died in 1794, aged thirty thematics, astronomy, and navigation, at the years and nine days. public college.
He published ewenty-two works; the first is a After having filled this office with great ap volume of Dutch poems, printed in 1788; 2. on plause during six years, he was chosen professor || the relative value of the different branches of of natural philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, human knowledge; 3. on the state of sciences hyılraulics, and civil and military architecture at compared with that of the belles lettres ; 4. the the university of Leyden.
love of one's country regarded as a religious duty; He devoted himself with indefatigable zeal to 5. on sensibility. The others are on different the instruction of those pupils who were entrusted branches of mathematics, astronomy and navi. to his care. Ile was incessantly occupied in gation, of which the last was published in 1793. studying everything that had been written on During his last illness he arranged all his papers, natural philosophy in all the languages, and and amongst them a parcel was found, containlikewise soon made himself master of the theory | ing all his diplomas, titles, acts of installation, &c. of chemistry.
on the cover of which he had written :He was not only an excellent teacher of the Ilamlet. Is not parchment made of sheepsciences to his pupils, but also as excellent a skins ? guide for their good conduct, inspiring them by Horat. Ay, my lord, and of calves-skins too. precept and example with a love for virtue and Ham. They are sheep and calves which seek morality. He had for them the solicitude of a out assurance in that. father, conversed with them as with his equals,
A TRUE STORY.
Count T, chamberlain of the Duke of advised him to keep up his spirits, and to seek Bg, lost, by a sudden and violent fever, his some diversion. young, beautiful, and amiable consort, with In this manner several months passed away; whom he had lived scarcely a year in unintero || the carnival arrived, and to him that period of rupted conjugal felicity. This heavy affliction amusement was as destitute of pleasure as any reduced hiin to the brink of despair. He bimself which had preceded it; he seemed to have bidwas still young, rich, respected by many, envied den an eternal adieu to every enjoyinent. by more, distinguished by his rank, and in a still The prince at length grew weary of his long higher degree by the favour of his sovereign; had | dejection. In the mean time many courtiers he but signified his pleasure, all the young females had endeavoured, perhaps purely from disinter. about the court would have been ready to offer ested attachment to his serene highnes, to fill the him their hands. This, however, afforded him | place of the negligent favourite, and had also no consolation. Notwithstanding his illustrious occasionally indulged in satirical reflections on the descent, he was so unfashionable as to possess a gloomy melancholy, and extravagant tenderness heart susceptible of the most tender and generous of this new Orpheus, whose only cry was,feelings. He now shunned all the brilliant circles, | Eurydice! Eurydice! Their sarcasms and their and while he suffered the Prince very often to go | designs were alike unsuccessful; a stern look unattended to the theatre and to the chace, he from the Duke had always instantly checked confined himself almost entirely to his own bouse. the brilliant current of their humour. The There he frequently shut himself up for half the Prince was seriously concerned for a man whom day with his sorrows and a portrait of his beloved he had known from his youth, and with whom, wife, in a small lonely closet. When he quitted i though he had studiously avoided interfering in this retreat he conversed with not more than two the affairs of government, he could nevertheless or three of liis most intimate friends; in company converse on many o her subjects besides the last even with them he was often visibly absent, and stag with sixteen branches that had been shot, or listened with anguish in his heart and a smile the latest opera-dancer; he therefore resolved upon his countenance, when they sometimes himself to attempt his cure.
“ Chainberlain," said he once to him when face. She walked quite alone; she had nothing Count
Thad not appeared for two or three particularly remarkable in her dress, though it days at court, “ the tenderness of your love for was perfectly neat and new, nor any thing glaring your wife is not only honourable and praise or splendid about her person; but in her tall, worthy, but in the present times it is truly ex elegant figure, in her step, air, and movenients, emplary; but as she is dead, and it is impossible the Count imagined that he discovered a great to recall her from the grave, you should not for resemblance to his deceased wife. At length her sake fall out with all the living. Many of she reclined against a pillar exactly opposite lo the latter, and myself in particular, have a just him, and equally unconcerned about the crowd claim to your affection, and yet many weeks pass and the bustle around her, seemed to fix her away in which I cannot even obtain a sight of eyes upon him alone. An unaccountable anxiety you."
took possession of his soul, and overpowered by “ The most flattering reprimand, your serene involuntary curiosity, he looked stedfasily at the highness, that I ever received ! pardon me, how- figure. The Prince observing him change counever, if a slight indisposition"
tenance, at length inquired what was the matter. “ Yes, your looks, my dear Count, attest that “O nothing, your serene highness, nothing at you are indisposed; but probably you have all; I only saw yonder a inask that interests me. brought this indisposition on yourself by your || I should like to know who it is." incessant grief, your watchings, weeping, and Why not address her then? you are at li. continual confinement at home. Tell me how berty, Count, to go and come back as often as you have liked this carnival, how many balls you you please; it gives me satisfaction to see you have been to?"
take an earnest in something." “To confess the truth, your highness, not to The chamberlain followed his advice.
the mask, though it was impossible she could “I thought so; and can you then wonder that have heard what had passed in a whisper between you are unwell, at the same time that you refuse || them, seemed to anticipate the intention of the all medicine! The day after to-morrow I shall Count, and purposely to avoid him. Scarcely give a masquerade, and that at least I hope you did he advance towards her before she quiited her will go to."
station, and took refuge in the thickest of the “ If your highness commands it.”
crowd; the farther she removed, the more eager “ Excellent! so you would stay away from was Count T-in the pursuit; every one that too? You know that I am not fond of instantly made way, as may easily be conceived, using the word command, and least of all with for the favourite of the Prince. At last she could you, but I shall fight you with your own weapons. no longer avoid hiin without evidently giving Therefore, Sir, I request this condescension of offence. He addressed her with one of the usual you, and shall expect you at eight precisely." masquerade questions, which, perfectly unmean
The chamberlain bowed, and promised to obey. || ing in themselves, signify nothing more than,All the necessary preparations were made for the “ Mask, I do not know you, but should like to masquerade; half the town of Bequipped hear you speak.” Her reply was as short and themselves, with joy, for the occasion. The || indifferent as his question. These few words, third evening a great number of masks appeared || however, startled him; he fancied that the voice in the capacious hall of the palace, which was exactly resembled that of her włose image was magnificently lighted. The Prince, with all his sull ever present to his mind. He suppressed court, graced the assembly. Count T who his astonishment, and again addressed her. was almost always near the Duke, and very often || answered all his questions with the utmost politeengaged in conversation with him, strove to ap ness, but always in a certain melancholy tone, pear, at least, somewhat more cheerful than which corresponded but too well wiih that of his usual. Rather more than two hours had elapsed own mind. At length he offered her his arm to when, still near the person of the prince, and walk about the hall; she accepted it; but when fatigued with continually walking about, and she took hold of him, though very gently, an perhaps also from secret disgust, he reclined a inward tremor thrilled his frame. In despite of few moments against the cornice of a stove trat this sensation he proceeded. “Why, beauteous was in the centre of the hall, and which afforded | mask,” said he, “ do you touch me with so the most advantageous view of the whole gay timid a hand ? perhaps my proposal to conduct and motly throng.
you may not be agreeable?” He had not been there long before a female “ On the contrary, it is most agreeable; you, mask that passed twice or thrice close to him Count, are the only person in this hall to whom drew his attention; it was a black domino with a I could say so." white mask which completely covered the whole “ Your politeness puts me to the blush,
Have we ever been in each other's company | notice, and become the butt of the company, he before?"
employed all the powers of his eloquence, and “ Yes, often; both here and in other places; summoned to his aid all the promises he could masked and unmasked.”
think of, lo prevail on her either to tell him her “ You inust know me then?”
name, or what would be still more agreeable, to
unmask. She long refused, or rather kept silence. “ Intimately?”
At last, when he conjured her by all that is “ I once flattered myself that I did; now I hope | sacred on earth or in heaven, and if she had ever so still more than before.”
loved, by the object of her affection, she an“ And do I know
swered, but still not without apparent reluctance: “ Most certainly you do?”
“ Well, your request shall be granted. I will “ Extraordinary ! -And your name; might I unmask, but not here. If you know of any safe not be permitted to know that?”
and retired apartment in the palace, and stiil per“ You might; but the knowledge of it cannot sist in your curiosity, conduct me to it.” Hein. now be attended with any advantage, but would stantly rose. “ But, 1 fear, Count," continued rather prove injurious to you."
she, or rather, I am certain that you will re“ Injurious! your name injurious !--Can any pent your obstinacy.” Instead of replying, ke name prove injurious to me? Incomprehen- | offered her his arm. sible! impossible!”
They departed. One out of the suite of “ But yet too true! You are here for the
apartments that ran the length of the hall, was purpose of diverting yourself; a single word opened without hesitation for the favourite of the from me might awaken the most painful sen Prince. They entered; the mask first looked sations."
round to see whether they were alone. Having Such was the commencement of a conversa
satisfied herself on this point, she once more tion which every moment grew more interesting | asked her conductor, if he wished to see her real and more obscure for the unhappy Count, which countenance. “ Yes, yes; I implore it as the filled his heart with inexpressible anxiety, and
greatest of favours.” " Be it so !" She removed which, nevertheless, he could not prevail upon the mask, and Count T- sunk as if thander. himself to break off. He turned the conversation
struck upon the floor, for he beheld a death's to various long past occurrences of his life; the head. mask knew them all with a precision and accu. How long he remained in this condition can. racy that nothing could surpass ; nay, she even not be stated with accuracy. To the care of the Tecalled to his memory many a little trait that Prince he was, probably, indebted for his rehe himself had forgotten. At length he began covery, before it was too late. He had kept an to speak, with an inward treinor, of the felicity | attentive eye upon his favourite. His long têtehe enjoyed in the conjugal state. The mask was a-tête with a mask that nobody knew; the silent, or replied only in monosyllables. Her warmth of their conyersation, or rather the voice seemed to become fainter. When the warmth with which the Count engrossed almost Count urged her to tell him, whether she knew the whole of it to himself; the lively interest he any thing relative to this subject, she exclaimed, I took in this person, which caused him to forget " Why should I tear open wounds which still all that was passing around him, excited no small bleed in my own bosom? You are sensible, l degree of astonishment in the Duke. His surCount, deeply sensible of what you have lost. prise was increased to the highest piicli, when But as you have again made your appearance he, at length, saw them both walk straight away here, you seem already to be looking round you || from the hall. Gladly would his serene highness for consolation and oblivion.” He thoughill have ascribed it to a cause which is said not un. that, on these words, she would have dis- frequently to occur at masquerades; for then be engaged herself from him, but he held her too would have heartily rejoiced at the cure of grief firmly.
so profound. Such a change he, however, “ By all that is sacred !” cried the Count, and thought too sudden; the air of the con versation in a louder tone than was suited 10 such a place, || appeared tuo grave, and so open a departure “ I will not let you go! Incomprehensible wo from the company too incautious. That the man, who are you? and whence come you?" Count had retired for the night without paying
A motion with her right hand towards heaven his respects to the Prince, was not to be supserved instead of an answer, and seemed to say, I posed. “ From above."
As Count T - had now been absent for some The Count could scarcely restrain the tumult | tine, and did not return, the Prince began to be of his feelings. Seating himself with ber in a seriously alarmed; he made more particular in. corner of the hall, lest they should excite the quiries, and was insorined that they had gone
into a certain apartment and shut the door. He and a few imagined that something of human went thither; and after calling to no purpose, artifice must be at the bottom. opened the door, and beheld the Count extended They justly observed, that a spirit would not in the middle of the apartment, with all the ap have wanted a couple of chairmen to carry it pearances of death. Surgeons and attendants | away. “ lf," said they farther, “ the spirits of were instantly summoned to his aid. All their the departed were actually permitted to appear efforts to restore animation were long ineffectual. to the living ; if they could, on such occasions, At length, when the Count came to himself, and assume the former body, with all its clothing and seemed somewhat recovered, the Prince urgently appurtenances, still this apparition was highly intreated him to disclose the cause of the acci censurable. What was it intended for? A visit dent. The Count gave a faithful narralive of of punishment. How had the Count di served it? the whole aff.ir. The Duke was in the utmost Or, was it a friendly visit?- In this case, neither astonishment, and would have suspected that the time, place, or manner, could have been worse Count was delirious, bad not his pulse, and the chosen ; and it would prove that, on the oiher testimony of the medical attendants, refuted such side of the grave, people behave still more incon. an idea. Nay, the Prince himself had, with his sistently than they, alas! so frequently ace on own eyes, beheld at least some part of this extra this side of it." ordinary occurrence. The strictest inquiry was The sentiments of this last class were certainly now made for the mask. Nobody had seen her the most rational; but unfortunately the vir. go away, or even come out of the room; and yet tuous Count had too much warmth of feeling, she was no where to be found. All the hackney- and too litile strength of mind, to adopt them. coachmen that were drawn up before the palace, He was thoroughly convinced that his wife's all the gentlemen's servants, were interrogated, spirit had actually appeared to him, for the purnone of them had driven or attended her. At pose of admonishing him never to forget her.last, when they were all tired of inquiring, two He now withdrew, still more rigidly than before, chairmen came forward. They had, they said, | from all diversions, and indulged still more freely been called about an hour before to take up a in his sorrow and his love of solitude. female domino, who came out of a back door of suasions, no remonstrances had any effect. His the palace. Being asked where they had set her health, already impaired, received a severe shock down, they at first hesitated to tell; but when from the fright, and still greater injury from this farther urged, they replied: “ At the church. mode of life. It continued on the decline. Beyard.” They added, that the mask had directed fore a year elapsed, symptoms of a confirmed them to stop there; that when she was set down, l consumption appeared; and towards the conclushe put an old ducat, covered all over with mould, sion of the second he expired. On this event, into one of their hands; that she then went to the app rition was again, for a time, the subject the church-yard gate, which she opened with a of conversation; after which, it was again forsingle touch, and quickly shut it again after her. gotten, at least for a considerable interval.. What afterwards became of her, they knew not. About twenty-five years afterwards, an elderly As far as their terror and astonishment would lady of honour, the Baroness U-, was gapermit them to observe, she had sunk into the thered to her right noble and illustrious antomb on the right hand, as she there vanished cestors. She made, as it is called, a very edify. from their sight.
ing exit; and, by her will, bequeathed a legacy In the very spot, described by the chairmen, | of fifty dollars to the church and schools.-was the family vault of the Count. There his Soon after her interment, a story, to which she deceased consort was interred. The door of the had herself g ven occasion, by a confession made vault was next morning found open. No farther on her death-bed, began to be whispered in the traces could be discovered ; and in spite of re-higlier circles. The substance of it was as fole peated inquiries, nothing more was ever heard or seen of this mask.
“ Count I had been in her youth the It is easy to conceive that this event, when it first, and, it mighe be said also, the only object became known--and it could not but be known of her affection. Encouraged by herself, he had, the next morning to every child in B-, pro for some time, professed himself her admirer, duced an uncommon sensation; and it is in the and possessed her favour in the fullest meanature of things, that very different opinions On her side she was perfectly serious, but should be formed concerning it. The multitude li probably he was not the same on his; for, in a took it for an actual apparition; another, and not few months, he suspended his assiduities, and an inconsiderable portion, assuming an air of soon afterwards publicly couried the hand of profound wisdom, came to no decision at all; the lady who became his wife. This conduct