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1793.) Biographical History of Mr. Thomas Wright.
· 9 A Sketcb of the Character of Mr. Tho- employment in the summer months in
MAS WRIGHT, linse of Byer's-Green London was making mathematical in. Lodge, in ibe Caury of Durbam. ftruments under Mr. Heath and Mr.
the fave from oblivion the memory of year, Mr. Wright took up his residence Mr. Thomas Wnghi, Jare of Byer's. at Sunderland, again opened a school Green lodge, in the county of Durham, there, and caught navigation with great deceased, we take up the pen, and offer success. to the publick some ruthentic anecdotes In the spring of the year !?31, being of this fingular character, colle&ted from then with his father, he proje&ted a geo his own note-books and manuscripts. neral representation of Euclid's Elements The portrait prefixed to this narrative in one large sheet, and the doctrine of was engraved in his midde lage of life plain and spherical trigonometry, all at at his nun expence, but we do not hud one view ; wrote a theorical journal it prefixed to any of his works.
from the Lizard to the island of Barba. Mr. Wright was bornai Byer's-Green, does, and made an almanack, in imita. on the 22. nf September, 1711; bis fa. tion of that of Oxford, for the year ther, a carpenter, living on a fmall 1-32, calculated for the meridian of estare of his own. His earliest educa. Durham. 11oo was under one Thomas Munday, Ouringenious mathematician now en. of B thop-Auckland, in the county of tered upon ficuatinns which poor and in. Durhamn, where he made foine progress genious authors often experience; fruitin the mathematicks; being obliged to ful of disappointinen: and vexation, he quit his study of the langages, on ac- travelled to London, in hopes of publishcount of a great impediment of speect., jog his almanack with profi:; but the lie was entered an apprentice to a clock. Company of Stacjoners blighted his deb maker in 1735, and at leisure-hours ap- lusive prospects, by teling him it was plied himielt c'olely to the liudy of then too late for prioring it, though astronomy. On account of lome difen. only in the month of October; they tions in his master's house, in Septem- contrived to keep his anxious hopes of ber, 1719, he ran away from his fervio brend, and withes for public tame, alive, tulic, and soon after ontained a discharge by encouraging him to calculate another from his indentures, and then lar down almanack for the year following, and with fingular induftry to study naviga. promised hiin a yearly falary, to ieward tion, astronomy, geometry, and the ab.
his labours, if he could procure soo frufe branches of the matheon aticks. Subscribers for ile îili in prebon. Thus On having a promise of a tip from his flattered, and berraved into tuch labours, father, if he would become a scaman, with empty pockers, Mr. Wright left in 1730 he made a crial-voyage from the London, and returned to Sunderland to port of Sunderland 10 Amiterdam in teach navigation. the ship Feowick and John, Thomas In the pring of the year 1732, he de. Port, matier; but, experiencing the difo. ligned an almanack for the following trefles of a tedious voyage, and the per year, and, in the ciuile of six weeks, rils of a form, on his return to Eng. produced goo lubicribers, Vain of this land he gave up all thoughts of the lca, success, he halied again to London, perand opened a fchool for teaching the fuading himself on the way, that his mathematicis ar Sunderland.
fortune was made. Under thote vilio. Thus fettled, with a mind at ease, he pary hopes his Iteps were light, and became enamoured of Miss Eftreland,, with an exulung hcart he presente t vis the daughter of a clergyman; bur, not work to the Company of Stationers, at being approved by her father, he made a general meeting. But they, inftead fruitiefs attempts to obtain a clandestine of receiving him with looks of appromarriage, which so unhinged him, that bation, regarded his subscription with a in the end he determoed to quit the jealous eye; and, pretending they were country. Patrog i London by fea, he unwilling to interiere with the Oxford there engaged with the master of the almanack, ab!olutely refuted to print Fame galiey to carry him to Barbados; for him. Overwhelmed in disappointbut, after every necessary preparation ment and dittrels, for his cash was near. fo: che voyage, was induced to quit that ly exhausted before his lenience was purfuit, ai the earnett folicitation of his passed, he returned home again on font, father, and returned to the North. His iiyo hundred and fixty miles, with only GENT. MAG. January, 1793.
three or four shillings in his pofleffion. this ingenious man's reaching the ma
. In his passage he made himself known thematicks; but, having discovered the to several men of science, and received invidious arts that were used to give false great civilities on the road; visiting Mr. impressions, and now becoming fully acIreland, at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and quainted with his excenfive genius and one Mr. Townsend, near Peterborough, good difportion of heart, he invited his pocket was supplied; he also met bim to live ivich him as his familiar with Mrs. Marv Hargrave, his mother's companion. During Mr. W:ight's hay hfter, at North-cave, where he kept a in this clergumzo's hofpit ble mansion, boarding-chool *, and who had not he complered his Pannauticon, the Mac been heard of by her relations for seve- riner's Universel Magazine; and, in Tal years; the received him with great April, he published a General Calculacordiality.
tion of the Eclipse of the Sun, which Soon after Mr. Wright returned to was to happen in My, and propoled a his father's, he determined to change public lecture upon ihe subject at Dure the title of his almanack, and have it ham. During this happy retirement he printed in Scotland; thoughi unknown also inven'ed a composiun of dials, to any one at Edinburgh, he travelled and erected his model on the pier, or thither on foot, having obtained a re- mole, at the mouth of Sunderland bar. commendation to Mr. Alan Ramtay. bour, by order of the commillioners or One Richard Cooper contracted with confervators of the river Wear, apo him to engrave and print his work for pointed by act of parliament, from 15 guineas, and, on the sth of October, whom he received a gratuity of twenty it was begun, and ftamped paper was guineas; a defcriprion of this work was procured from London. In order to printed and published at the expence of expedite the work, and attend to its core
the town. rectness, he lodged with the engraver, Mr. Wright's better fars were now and spent several weeks at his eate. rising upon him; and, from this period, Mr. Ramsay, who was then manager of his merits began to come forward in the play house, made our traveller known public reputation. Mr. Newcombe in. to leveral eminent men t.
troduced him to the earl of Scarborough, In November, Mr. Wright published at Lumley-cafle, who invited him to a correct calculation and type of the London, and promised his countenance total eclipse of the Moon for November and patronage. Mr. Wright, in a huit 20, 1732, which was received with time after this visit, took leave of the much applause. The engraver being North, to try a new profpe&, and, in dilatory, very few of the almanacks were his way, he received from Mr. Rakes, published in January, so that several of Northailerton, a recommendatory subscribers refused to pay their sub- letter to Roger Gale, esq. commillioner scription-money, which occafioned Mr. of excise, and then treasurer of the Wright to visit Sunderland; but not Royal Society, who became his warm being able, with his utmost endeavours, friend, and introduced him to the So. 10 raise a sufficient fum to satisfy the en- ciety, when he communicated the Pan. graver's demand, he submitted to a pro. nauticon, which was ordered to be posal, that he should design an alma. booked in their Transactions; and he renack for the following year, and vest ceived their public thanks. The earl the whole propesty in him; on which of Scarborough took the earliest oppure condition the engraver undertook to dis. tunity of recommending Mr. Wright to charge Mr. Wright of the debti he the Admiralty, who gave approbation was obliged to comply; and, with his for his publishing the Pannuuticon by genius only for his confolation, he fubscription, and he procured per million trudged home on foot,
for the work to be dedicated to the king. The Rev, Mr. Newcome, of Sunder. At the earl's instance the prince of land, who had been Mr. Wright's bit Wales became a subscuber; and the ter adversary in former years, now be earl of Pembroke was added to the came his very warm pueron and friend; number of his friends. hereofore he had used efforts to prevent Mr. Wright was engaged, in the
spring of the year 1934, in preparing His role took says, she was a great his publicarion for the press; but, icholar.
through want of money, was obliged ro + Lord viftcunt Elphinston showed him engrave all the mathematical paris him. great countrunce.
felf, he having engaged leveral work.
1793-] Biographical Account of Mr. Thomas Wright.
of the Roval Society, which was pre-
In 1735, Mr. Wright invented his pence in copper-plates and printing f. Hérispherium, and made two different 10 1737, his leisure-hours were ema. designs of it, one for the cieling of a ployed in drowing many Demonstratory room, the other for a grand amphithea- Schemes in Afronomy, and in projec.
Of this invention he made a model ting certain Physical and Mathematical in brass for lord Pembroke. He pub. Elements; for publishing which, by Jiched the Calculations of two Total subscription, he set out proposals. In Eclipses of the Moon, for 1736, en the lummer he went down with the earl grased on copper, and dedicated to the of Pembroke to his feat at Wilton, duke of Cumberland, to whom he was where he constructed for his lord ship, introduced by lord Pembroke. In the in brass, a System of the Planerary Boa winter of this year, Mr. Wright, on dies, in due proportions, equal to a ibe recommendation of Mrs. Holt, was radium of 190 feet; also invented his introduced to the honou able Mrs. Cylindrical Dial, and presented it to the Townsend, and tauglit her geomerry. earl; published the design, in, copper He drew up, for Mr. Senex, F.R.S. plate #, at the command of the duke of a Calculation ard Geometrical Construc. Richmond and lord Pembroke, dedi.. rion of the great Ecliple of the Sun, for cared to Dr. Defaguliers; spent some
* Particularly Lord Scarborvugh, the Rev. Mr. Newcombe, Mr. Rakes, and the Rev. Mr. Dealtry, near York.
+ Several plates have been resoned from the copper-smith hy falling into the hands of George Allan, efq. of Darlington, who purchaled his collection of prints, mathematical inftruments, and other valuable articles.
1 The contruction of this Afronomical Cylinder, or Sun dial (which is engraved at the bottom of our plate I ], he thus explained : “!. The perpendicular lines represent every five degrees of the sun's longirude in the ecliptic; fix of which inaking one fign is diftina guished by a large black one, and each are marked with their proper characters. 2. The circles parallel to the base are the almicantliers, or every degree of the sun's altitude above the borizon, and are numbered from it accordingly on the autumn colure; also, if counted from the equinox, as is Thewn on the opposite or vernal colure, will aofwer bis declination. 3. The elliptical diagonal biack lines are the hours of the day, and are marked on the fummer folitice, those of the morning ascending, and those of the evening delcending. Lastly. The contrary broken lines are the sun's azimu:ls from the South, and they are numbered on the winter folftice.
“ The Use. Set the brass index at the top to the day of the month, then place the cyliader perpendicnlar; afterwards turn it about to the sun, till you hnd the projecting index' or gnomon to have no thailow, except that of its own thickness, and there will be sewn to you all at once the things required: viz. 1. The fhadow will cut the horizon, and give you the time of fun-rising and setting. 2. It will Mew you his place in the zodiac.
The Thadow-point will thew you the sun's altitude. 4. Amongst the hour-lines, give you the time of the day. Lalily. If you turn the index to the opposite degree (or the earth's place) on the cylinder, you will fine, in the same manner, the sun's amplitude, his azimu.h, and, * fought, his declination, all at the fame time.”
days with Mr. Duck, at the Queen's, planned a View of the Visible Creation;
Ledures of Natural Philofophy
his Aftronoinical Elements. After jour. In the summer he paid a visit to the neying from place to place in the lumhonourable Mr. Cowper, at Oxford; mer ll, he returned to London in No: went into Bedford thire, and there, bcing vember. where an application was made met by the duke of Kent's servants, to him from the Czarina, by the prince made a visit to Wrcft; thence he tra. Pariskin, to become chief profesior of velled to the earl of Bristol's, in Suf. navigation in the Imperial academy at folk, to wait upon the honourable Miss St. Petersburg, with a salary of 3001. a Hervey, and again returned to Wiel. year, and many other contingent adIn the winter he was introduced to lord vantages. Our mathematician thought Cornwallis, to itach his daughters gep• this too small a recompence for leaving metry.
his native country, and deserting a round Mr. Wright having obtained an in- of amusements, together with the entroduction to many great families, where joyment of ihat British hospitality, to a very honourable attention was paid which he was now eagerly invited; so him for his scientific knowledge, we acceptable had Mr. Wright rendered find several of his succeeding years himlelf to people of fashion, and so alled with a rotation of visiting and much was science at that period thought journeys to the houses of illuftrious per. an object of attention with those of Tonages; yet even there we see him pur. high rank, of both sexes. He desuing his ftudies with unremitting ar. manded a fixed lalary of sool. a year, dour, and teaching the sciences to pero and his proposals were reported to the fons of the firn distinction *... To attend sovereign, but were not acceded 10; lo to all his journeyings would be tedious that Mr. Wright was again left in a and unprofitable to the reader. The course of life highly pleasing to himself, mos reinarkable are fhostly mentioned
(To be continued.) in the potest.
in 1739, Mr. Wright fulilled his Thoughts on POETRY, especially moderne engagement with AI-. Senex, and finish
wtb Criticisms on several l'OETS. ed his Trtatilc onihe U'le of the Giubes.
body of ;
* Gave private lectures to tle exrl of Scarborougla, 1739.-Proje:ts a large horizontal dial for lurð viscount Middleton; went wth his loruinip to his feat in Surey; lady Mido decon, lady Charlotte and lady Mary Capel, study the ute of the globes. •
+ Vifits úr Thomas Samwell, bart. at Upton, near Northampton; hunts with the earl of Halifax; spent three months at Wrest, to tech the ladies o survey; the duchef surveyed alt the pleasuie-grounds, and made a plan of them, which was engraved. In 1740, with Jord Middleton at Sepperham. When in London, he was honoured with the vilts of the duke of Portland, the earl Sti affurul, loid Glanvrchy, and feveral other greit personages; dined almost every day with the duke and duchess of Kent; taught the benourable Miss Cornwallis, Miss Hervey, Mils Talbot, and lady Sophie Grey, afterwards lady of Dri Egerton, bishop of Durham.
I Mr. Ailan has these plates. § We find the names of Thomas Allan, Ralph Gowland, Bazil Forcer, Tempest, and Blake, esquires. 1741, he gave private lectures to the duchess of Kent, lady Sophia Grey, the marchioness Grey, lady May Grey, Miss Talbot, honourable Miss Cornwallis, and Mifs Hervey. Visited lord Middleton, Dr. Carter; the duchefs of Kent at Old Windsor, the earl of Eflex at C. ffiotury, &c.
|| Caitiovury; Brook-Green, the seat of lord Limerick; Culford, the seat of lord Cornwallis; Jeckworth, the seat of the earl of Bristol; Old-Windfor any d'epperbam, &c.