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ness “ in charging a fact upon the bishop of Bangor which was not true, and quoting a witness for it who knew nothing of the matter.” And this is certainly the conclusion which every one will wish to draw who respects his character, or forms a judgment of it from his “ Letters" lately published by Mr. Nichols, a collection to which we have been greatly indebted in drawing up our account, and rectifying the errors of his preceding biographers. Many of his sentiments are given without disguise in these letters, and prove him to have been a steady friend to the civil and ecclesiastical government of his country, and a man of liberality and candour. That he was not uniformly accurate in his bistorical researches has been often repeated, but he appears to have been always ready to correct what errors were pointed out. In one letter, after defending some apparent mistakes noticed by his correspondent, he adds, “ but nothing can be pleaded, except ignorance, in excuse for the rest.” It must still be admitted, what is equally evident from his correspondence, that his temper was somewhat irritable, and that, living in days of bitter controversy, he admitted in his disputes too much of that style which has in all ages been the reproach of literature.'
NICON, an eminent Russian prelate, was born in a village under the government of Nishnei Novogorod, in 1613. His parents were so obscure that neither their names nor stations are known. He was educated under the care of a monk in the convent of St. Macarius, and here he imbibed a strong and increasing prejudice in favour of the monastic life. In compliance, however, with the wishes of his family, he married, and was ordained a secular priest. . The loss of his children by death disgusted him with the world, and he persuaded his wife to take the veil, wbilst he became a monk. He retired into an island in the White Sea, and instituted a society in this solitude remarkable for its great austerities. He had not been in this place many years before he was made, after a series of ecclesiastical dignities, archbishop of Novogorod ; and, finally, patriarch of Russia. He was not only eminent as a priest, but discovered the great and energetic talents of a statesman ; and to them he fell a victim. In 1658 he was compelled to abdicate his dignity of patriarch, on
i Letters above mentioned.-Biog. Brit.-Harris's Ware, vol. 1. -Nichols'. Atterbury:- Appendix to Newton's Life of Bishop Keonett..
which he returned to his cell, and lived over his former austerities; but his degradation did not satisfy the malice of his enemies, who procured his imprisonment. He obtained, after à number of years, his release, with permission to return to his favourite cell; but, whilst on the road to this spot, he expired in his 66th year, in 1681. Nicon did not spend his whole time in the performance of useless austerities, but occasionally employed himself in compiling a regular series of Russian annalists from Nestor, the earliest historian of that country, to the reign of Alexey Michaelovitch. This collection is sometimes called, from its author, “ The Chronicle of Nicon," and sometimes, from the place where it was begun and deposited, “ The Chronicle of the Convent of Jerusalem.” It is considered as a work of authority.'.
NICOT (John), a learned Frenchman, was born at Nismes in the beginning of the sixteenth century. He came to Paris early in life, and acquired the esteem of the learned men of that time. He was also so favourably received at court, that in 1559 he was made master of requests in the king's household, and the same year was sent as ambassador to Portugal. Of the nature of his embassy, or his talents in executing its duties, we have no information ; but he was the means while in that country of introducing the use of tobacco in Europe. Of this herb, then called Petun, he received some seeds from a Dutchman, who had them from Florida. It then became an object of cultivation or importation in France, and the name Nicotiana was given to it in honour of him. This, it has been observed by Dr. Johnson, is a proper compliment, for a plant is a monument of a more durable nature than a medal or an obelisk; and yet, he adds, “as a proof that even this is not always sufficient to transmit to futurity the name conjoined with them, the Nicotiana is now scarcely known by any other term than that of tobacco.”
After his return from Portugal, in 1561, Nicot retired from public, and devoted himself to literary employment. In 1567 he published an edition of the life of Aimon, a Benedictine of the abbey of Fleury, which Dupin has improperly attributed to Pichon. He also improved Aimar de Rançonnet's French Dictionary, so as to render it al- : most a new work. It did not appear, however, until after :
Coxe's Travels in Poland, Russia, &c.! VOL. XXIII.
his death, when it was entitled “Tresor de la langue Frana çaise tant ancienne que moderne," 1606, fol. and was re. printed at least four times. Nicot died at Paris May 5, 1600. He left several MSS, particularly a kind of history or dictionary of navigation.' | NIEUWENTYT (BERNARD), an eminent Dutch pbilosopher and mathematician, was born Aug. 10, 1654, at Westgraafdyk in North Holland, of which place his father was minister. He discovered a turn for learning in his first infancy, and his fatber designed him for the ministry; but when he found him averse from this study, he suffered him to gratify his own taste. He then applied himself to logic, and the art of reasoning justly; in which he grounded himself upon the principles of Des Cartes, with whose philosophy he was greatly delighted. Thence he proceeded to the mathematics, where he made a great profi. ciency; and added so much to his stock of various knowledge, that he was accouuted a good philosopher, a great mathematician, a celebrated physician, and an able and just magistrate. Although naturally of a grave and serious disposition, yet bis engaging manner in conversation made him be equally admired as a companion and friend, and frequently drew over to his opinion those who, at first, differed very widely from him. Tbus accomplished, he acquired great esteem and credit in the council of the town of Purmerende, where he resided; as he did also in the states of that province, who respected him the more, as be never interfered in any cabals or factions. His disposition inclined him to cultivate the sciences, rather than to obtain the honours of the government; and he therefore contented himself with being counsellor and burgomaster of the town, without wishing for more bustling preferments, which might interfere with his studies, and draw him too much out of his library. He died May 30, 1718, in the sixty-third year of his age. His works are, I, “ Conside rationes circa Analyseos ad Quantitateş infinitè parvas applicatæ principia," &c. : Amst. 1694, 8vo. 2. 56 Analysis infinitorum seu curvilineorum Proprietates ex Polygonorum' natura deducta,” ibid., 1695, 4to. 3. “ Considerationes secundæ circa differentialis Principia, & Responsio ad Vi. rum nobilissimum G. G. Leibnitium," ibid, 1696, 8vo. This piece was attacked by John Bernquilli and James Hermant,
! Merori.-Dr. Johnson's Life of Morino
Svo. This itle of the « Relig printed thre
book in this until within the Philosopher.", four times
celebrated geometricians at Basil. 4. “A Treatise upon a New Use of the Tables of Sines and Tangents.” 5. “Le véritable Usage de la Contemplation de l'Univers, pour la conviction des Athées & des Incrédules,” in Dutch. This is his most esteemed work; and went through four editions in three or four years. It was translated into English by Mr. John Chamberlaine, and printed three or four times under the title of the “ Religious Philosopher,” &c. 3 vols. 8vo. This was, until within these forty years, a very popular book in this country. We have also, by our author, one letter to Bothnia of Burmania, upon the 27th article of his meteors, and a refutation of Spinosa, 1720, 4to, in the Dutch language.?
NIEUWLAND (PETER), professor of mathematics and nätural philosophy at Leyden, was born at Diemermeer, a village near Amsterdam, Nov. 5, 1764. His father, by trade a carpenter, having a great fondness for books, and being tolerably well versed in the mathematics, instructed his son himself till he attained his eleventh year, who appears to have exhibited very extraordinary proofs of genius long before that time. When only three years old, his mother put into his hand some prints, which had fifty verses at the bottom of them by way of explanation. These versés she read aloud, without any intention that her son should learn them, but was much surprized some time after to hear him repeat the whole from memory, with the utmost correctness, on being only shown the prints. Before he was seven years old he had read more than fifty different books, and in such a manner that he could frequently re. peat passages from them both in prose and in verse. When about the age of eight, Mr. Aeneæ of Amsterdam, one of the greatest calculators of the age, asked him if he could tell the solid contents of a wooden statue of Mercury which stood upon a piece of clock-work. “Yes," replied young Nieuwland, “ provided you give me a bit of the same wood of which the statue was made ; for I will cut a cubic inch out of it, and then compare it with the statue." Poems which (says bis eulogist) display the utmost liveliness of imagination, and which he composed in his tenth year, while walking or amusing himself near his father's house, were received with admiration, and inserted in dif. ferent poetical collections. Niceron, vol. XIII.-Martin's Biog. Phil. -Hutton's Dict,--Moreri
on being had read he could find in veraman,
Such an uncommon genius must soon burst through those obstacles which confine it. Bernardus and Jeronimo de Bosch, two opulent gentlemen of Amsterdam, became young Nieuwland's patrons, and he was taken into the house of the former in his eleventh year, and received daily instruction from the latter for the space of four years. While in this situation he made considerable progress in the Latin and Greek languages, and studied philosophy and the mathematics under Wyttenbach. In 1783 he translated the two dissertations of his celebrated instructors Wyttenbach aud de Bosch, on the opinions which the. ancients entertained of the state of the soul after death, which had gained the prize of the Teylerian theological society. From September 1784 to 1785 he studied at Leyden, and afterwards applied with great diligence at Amsterdam to natural philosophy, and every branch of the mathematics, under the direction of professor Van Swinden. He had scarcely begun to turn his attention to chemistry, when he made himself master of Lavoisier's theory, and could apply it to every phenomenon.
One of his great objects was to bring the pure mathematics nearer to perfection, and having turned his thoughts to the improvement of the methods of determining the latitude of a place at sea, he wrote, in 1789, a paper on the subject, and transmitted it to Lalande at Paris, wbo greatly approved of it, and after Major von Zach and Nieuwland had reconsidered the inethod, this paper was published by von Zach, with Nieuwland's name, in the first supplement to Bode's “ Astronomical Almanack," Berlin, 1793. This, however, was not the only service which Nieuwland endeavoured to render to astronomy. It had been observed by Newton, Euler, De la Place, and others, that the axes of the planets do not stand perpendicular, but inclined, to the plane of their orbits. Nieuwland attempted to account for this phenomenon, and his paper on the subject was printed, for the opinion of the learned, in the supplement to Bode's “ Almanack," for the same year. His success in this, however, according to the biographer we follow, seems doubtful.
Nieuwland's talents and diligence recommended him to the notice of his country. In 1786, he was appointed a member of the commission chosen by the college of ad miralty at Amsterdam, for determining the longitude, and improving marine charts. On this labour he was employed