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And with heroick patience years on years
Deep-searching, saw at last the system dawn

And shine of all his race, on him alone!
- The noiseless tide of time, all bearing down

To vast eternity's unbounded sea,
Where the green islands of the happy shine,
He stemm’d alone ; and to the source (involv'd
Deep in primeval gloom) ascending rais'd
His lights at equal distances, to guide
Historian, wilder’d on his darksome way.”

This elegant encomium * is, with one exception, just. Even the valt, capacious mind of Newton did not ascend to the source of time, but left it involved in deep primeval glaom. From the vulgar year of the nativity, as erroneously defined by Usher, A. P. J. 4709, (which is the true historical date), he pursues his researches, in the retrograde order, to the days of Eli, where he states the first synchronism of the Egyptian history with that of the Hebrews.

Much is it regretted, that he did not extend the line of investigation through the patriarchal ages, by the notations of an infallible chronology, (which happily combines GENEALOGY with HISTORY), back to the origin of things that point in measured time where genuine history begins, and beyond which chronology can go no farther. Not suspecting deception or error in the lucubrations of a metropolitan, who was

• Thomson's Foem to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton.

the

the ornament of his age, and had excelled all his prea decessors in the fingular art of HISTORICAL AR RANGEMENT, Sir Isaac stopt short, and excluded from his system the chronology of 28 centuries.

In Sir John Marsham’s Chronological Canon, this adventurous reformer of ancient computations found a rich mine of mixed ore, gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay; all in one mass ; waiting the refiner's skill, and the operations of the furnace. Hence he derived an immense variety of materials, susceptible of a better arrangement, and a more perfect form. The result of a minute examination was a full conviction, that the antiquities of the Gentiles had been amplified by fi&tion, disguised under the mask of allegory, and derived belief from the credulity of an'ignorant world.

The CHRONOLOGY of ancient KINGDOMS amended, was not an attempt rafhly projected, or its ingredients precipitately thrown together. About five months before the author's death he had an interview with Dr. Pearce, late bishop of Rochester, whom he informed, “ That he had spent thirty years, at intervals, in reading over all the authors, or parts of authors, which could furnish any materials, for forming a just account of the Ancient Chronology ;-that he had, in his reading, made collections from those authors, and had, at the end of 30 years, composed from thence His Chronology of ancient Kingdoms ;—and that he kad written it over several times, it appeared afterwards, the bishop thought 16 times), making a few alterations in it, but what were for the sake of short

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ening ening it (as the bishop gathered from his discourse), and leaving out, in every later copy, some of the autborities and references, on which he had grounded his opinions.”

As this elaborate work was begun in the vigour of bis faculties, so it was the subject of his thoughts, and the exercise of his hand, in the last period of his life. “A few days before he died, Dr. Pearce made him a visit at Kensington, and dined with him. He found him writing over his Chronology of ancient Kingdoms, without the help of spectacles, at the greatest distance in the room from the windows, and with a parcel of books on the table casting a shade upon the paper. Seeing this, on my entering the room, (said the doctor), “ Sir, you seem to be writing in a place where you cannot well see.” His answer was,“ Little light serves me.” He then told me, that he was preparing his Chronology for the press, and that he had written the greatest part of it for that purpose *.”

With many disadvantages, the almost unavoidable fate of pofthumous works, this last and least perfect production of the venerable Sir Isaac Newton, was ulhered into the world t. His work, as it is, has so

great Bishop Pearce's Life, prefixed to his Commentary on the Gospels, &c. p. 42–44.

+ Buchanan's History, without the benefit of his last revisal, appeared about three weeks before his death, and he had the mortification to be told, that the printer bad committed many egregious mistakes. Maclaurin dying with the pen in his hand, before he had finished his Account of Sir Isaac

NEWTON'S

great merit, that, with all its faults, no one publication on the subject contains so many valuable improvements. Perfection is a character incompatible with the most finished productions of human genius. Its principles new, bold, and rather deep than dark, amazed the illiteterate, and puzzled the learned. Scarcely could it be expected, that even the most accurate practitioners, in the computation of TIMES, would instantly renounce the authority of hoary tradition, abjure tenets established by immemorial belief, and become proselytes to a system, incongruous with the prejudices of education, and conftitutional habits of thinking.

The Chronology of ancient Kingdoms amended, having divided the opinions of the best judges, experienced a kind of ambiguous reception. Its fate was neither that of many fungous productions ;-a premature death in infancy ;-the last, and not least severe, curse of unsuccessful authorship: nor summary reprobation on the score of literary imposture. In the very year of its publication, 1728, Bedford sent forth his ANIMADVERSIONS, and Whiston his CONFUTATION. These Juminaries of their day elucidated several obscure parts of an abstruse subject. In their distinct performances are obvious signatures of erudition, acuteness, and candour, without credulity, adulation, sarcasm, and illi. beral abuse. With the progress of TIM!, Sir Isaac Newton's antagonists multiplied.

Newton's Philosophical Discoveries, this work concludes with three asterics, to denote imperfection. With a similar fatality was his own Chronology exhibited to the public;-a part not copied by the author, and the whole fent forth in the condition of a defenceless orphan.

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So early as 1730, Shuckford in the Preface to his third volume of Historical Connexions, revived and ftrengthened the objection of the two authors, now mentioned, to Sir Isaac's Afronomical Argument, for bringing the date of the Argonautic Expedition three centuries lower than it had been seitled by the Old Chronology; and, it must be confessed, left the great author's postulate and conclusion, under all the disadvantages (with respect to credibility), of scientifical conjecture.

SQUIRE, in his Defence of the Ancient Greek Chronology, 1741, repeated the impulse on the inind of the public, and ftruck a deeper impression. It is there afhrmed, that Chiron was no practical astronomer ;that he had not sufficient knowledge to mark out and distinguish the constellations in the zodiac from those in the other parts of the heavens ;--that though bis skill had been cqual to the construction of an exact {phere, and for alligning to the equinoctial and solfiitial points their proper places; yet such a sphere could not be of the least use to the Argonauts, in their short voyage from Thessaly to Colchis. · Costard, in his Letter to Sir Martin Folkes, on the Rise and Progress of Astronomy among the Ancients, 1746, obliquely, yet with becoming decorum, reprehends this Afironomical Argument, while he respect. fully conceals the author's name. “ Some persons, 100 great to be mentioned without reverence, suppose, that

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