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of his age.

ing his duty, or even of reading retirement studied mathematics, the letters of his friends : and so and amused himself with mechanic trifling an accident as the dropping exercises, wherein he proved the of a tea-cup would flurry him as happy author of several invenmuch as if a house bad tumbled tions of considerable use to the down.

public. The physicians advised his na- Nicholas, almost in his infancy, tive air for his recovery ; and in took a fancy to mechanics, which February, 1761, he set out, with proved of lignal service to him in much reluctance (believing he his maturer years. He was sent should never return) for Bosworth, young to school at Mantes-suralong with some relations. The Seine, where he discovered such journey fatigued him to such a early tokens of genius, as gave his degree, that upon his arrival, he parents fanguine hopes of his fubetook himself to his chamber, ture improvement. where he grew continually worse In 1729, he went to Paris, and and worse, to the day of his death, studied at the college de Lisieux, May the 14th, in the fifty-first year first the claffics, and then philofo

phy and mathematics, under M. He left a son and a daughter ; Robert. In a few years his father the former an officer in the royal died, and with him all family tegiment of artillery, at present expectations': however, he happily in America. The king, at the met with a patron in the duke instances of lord viscount Ligo- of Bourbon, who heard of his merit, nier, in consideration of Mr. Simp- and had been beneficent to his fon's great merits, was graciously father. pleased to grant a pension to his After he had finished his course widow, together with handsome of philosophy, he went to study apartments adjoining to the aca- divinity at the college de Navarre, demy: a favour never conferred on proposing to embrace an ecclesi

astical life. Here he redoubled his studies, employing many hours

of the day in reading books of reThe life of the Albé de la Caille, ligion, and, as many of the night member of the Royal Academy in mathematical exercises,

or in conof Sciences at Paris, &c. templating the stars.

This was

his constant tenor of life for three TICHOLAS Louis de la Caille years.

was born at a little town At length he was ordained a deacalled Rumigny, in the diocese of con, and officiated as such in the Rheims, the first of March, in the church of the college de Mazarin year 1713. His father was Louis several years ; but he never entered de la Caille, his mother Barbara into priest's orders, apprehending Rubuy ; both happier in qualities that his astronomical ftudies, to of mind than affluence of fortune. which he became most affiduoully The father had served in the devoted, might too much interfere army, which he quitted, and in his with his religious duties. His re


any before.


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putation in astronomy foon pro- was admitted into the Royal Acacured him access to the late James demy of Sciences, as an adjoint Caffini, the king's first astronomer, member, for astronomy. Besides and to the present M. Maraldi, the many



of his, who both had apartments, and dispersed up and down in their meall manner of instruments and ac- moirs, he published elements of commodations in the royal obser- geometry, mechanics, optics, and vatory With these he contracted astronomy Moreover, he carea most intimate familiarity and fully computed all the eclipses of friendship, and in the year 1738, the sun and moon that had haphe affifted the latter in a survey of pened since the Christian æra, the sea-coast from Bayonne to which were printed in a book, pubNantes.

lished by two Benedictines, inti-' In 1739, he was conjoined with tuled, L'Art de verifier les dates, M. de Thury, the son of the be- &c. Paris, 1750, in 4to. fore-mentioned M. Cassini, in' Besides, these, he compiled a voverifying the meridian of the royal lume of Astronomical Ephemerides observatory, through the whole for the years 1745 to 1755 ; anoextent of the kingdom of France. ther for the years 1755 to 1765 ; In the month of November, of a third for the years 1765 to the same year, whilst he was en- 1775; an excellent work, intitugaged day and night in the ope- led, Astronomie fundamenta norations which this grand under- vissimis solis 6 stellarum observa. taking required, and at a great tionibus stabilita, and the most cordistance from Paris, he was, with rect solar tables that ever appeared. out any solicitation, or even know- Having gone through a seven ing any thing of the matter, elect- years series of astronomical obsered into the vacant mathematical vations in his own observatory, chair, which the celebrated M. he formed a project of going to Varignon had fo worthily filled. observe the southern stars at the Here he began to teach, about the Cape of Good Hope. This was end of 1740, after his return from highly approved of by the acahis laborious expedition, and caused demy, and by the prime minister, his lectures in due time to be printed comte d'Argenson, and very rea

dily agreed to by the states of HolThe hours that could be spared land. from the duties of his professor- Upon this he drew up a plan thip, he employed in carefully of the method he proposed to computing the results of the many pursue in his southern observamensurations and observations ce- tions, setting forth that, besides leftial and terrestrial, relative to settling the places of the fixed stars, the business of the meridian. In he proposed to determine the pathe

mean time, an observatory rallax of the Moon, Mars, and was ordered to be erected for his Venus. But whereas this reuse in the college, and furnished quired correspondent observations with a suitable apparatus of the best to be made in the northern parts of instruments.

the world, he sert to those of his In May, 1741, M. de la Caille correspondents who were expert

at his own expence.

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in practical astronomy,* previ- nor, M. Tulbagh, who received ons notice in print, what obser- him with great civility, and during vations he designed to make at his stay there conferred inceffant such aid such times, for the faid favours upon him, he forthwith purpose.

got bis initruments on fhore, and Then, without further loss of with the assistance of some Dutch time, he packed up his instru- artificers, set about building an ments and made preparations for astronomical observatory, in which his voyage; which count d’Ar- his apparatus of instruments was genfon' being informed of, fent properly disposed, as soon as it him 4000 livres, though he had was in fit condition to receive never solicited any such favour, them. and with it a written promise of The sky at the Cape is generally whatever further sum he might pure and' serene, unless when a have occasion for ; this, however, fouth-east wind blows. But this is was but a small. addition to his often the case, and when it is, is purse, for he expended in the pur- attended with some ftrange as well chase of new and larger instruments as terrible effects. The stars look much more than he was before pof- bigger, and seem to caper ; the fessed of.

moon has an undulating tremor ; At length, on the twenty-first and the planets have a fort of of O&tober, 1750, he set out from beard, like comets. Paris for the Cape, accompa

Two hundred and twenty-eight nied only by a young artificer, nights did our astronomer surs who, from the great affection he vey the southern heavens ; during bore him, earnestly requested that which space, which is almost inhe might be the companion of credible, he observed more than his voyage. He failed from Port ten thousand stars : and whereas l'Orient the twenty-first of No- the ancients filled the heavens vember, on board the Glorieux, with monsters and old wives tales, and had the happiness to find the the abbé de la Caille chose racaptaint a very civil man, and ther to adorn them with the ina good mathematician, which was struments and machines which the no small satisfaction to him ; and `modern philosophy has made ufe of he proved an excellent help-mate in the conquest of nature. (See the in observing the latitudes, longi- planisphere in his Cælum Australe tudes, &c. during the whole voy- Stelliferum.) age. They arrived at the Cape With no less fuccess did he atthe 19th of April, 1751.

tend to the parallax of the Moon, Having waited on the gover- Mars, Venus, and Sun.

* Those, besides his astronomical brethren of the Royal Academy of Sciences, wore Dr. Bradley at Greenwich, Dr. Bevis at London, Mellis. Muller and Grischow at Petersburgh, Mr. Struyk at Amsterdam, Mr. Wargentin at Stockholin, Mr. Ferner at Upial, M. Máver at Gottingen. Likewise several Jefuit astronomers, F. Boscowich at Rome, Fs. Hell and Scheffer at Vienna, F. Ximenes at Florence, F. Pezenas at Marseilles, Fs. Gaubil and Benoist at Pekin.

† M. d'Après de Mainvillete, author of an excellent work, intituled, Le Neptune Oriental.


Having thus executed the pur- return home, but to proceed to pose of this voyage, and no pre- the isles of France and Bourbon, fent opportunity offering for his in order to determine the position return, he thought of employing of them, which had indeed been the vacant time in another ar- done the last year by the above duous attempt : no less than that mentioned M. d'Après de Mainof taking the measure of the villette ; however he chose to obey earth, as he had already done that the royal mandate, and went. of the heavens. This indeed had, He returned to Paris the 27th through the munificence of the of September, 1754, having in his French king, been done before by almost four years absence expended different sets of learned men, both no more than 9144 livres on himin Europe and America ; some self and his companion : a fingudetermining the quantity of a lar instance of honest frugality in degree under the equator, and so profuse and luxurious an age! others under the arctic circle : Nor should it pass unmentioned, but it had not as yet been de- that at his coming into port he cided whether in the southern pa- refused a bribe of 100,000 livres, rallels of latitude the same die offered by one who thirsted less after mensions obtained, as in the north- glory than gain, to be a sharer in

This point one single mån his immunity from custom - house resolved to examine into, accom- searches. panied only with his friend Mr. After receiving the congratuBestbier (at whose house he lodg- latory visits of his more intied) à guide and interpreter, mate friends, and the astronothe young artificer before men- mers, he first of all thought fit tioned, and a few Hottentot fer- to draw up a reply to some stricvants.

tures which professor Euler had His labours were rewarded with published relative to the merithe satisfaction he wished for, dian, and then he settled the rehaving determined a distance of sults of the comparison of his own 410,814 feet from a place called with the observations of other Klip-Fonteyn to the Cape, by astronomers, for the parallaxes. means of a base of 38,802 feet That of the Sun he fixed at 9" three times actually measured : 1, of the Moon at 56'56", of whence he discovered a new secret Mars in his opposition 36', of of nature, namely, that the radii Venus 38". He also settled the of the parallels in south latitude laws whereby aftronomical refracare not the same as those of the tions are varied by the different corresponding parallels in north la- density or rarity of the air, by titude. About the thirty-third de- ' heat or cold, and dryness or gree of south latitude he found a moisture. And lastly, he shewed degree on the meridian to contain an easy, and, by common navi342,222 Paris feet.

gators, practicable method of findThe next French ship which ing the longitude at sea, by

' arrived at the Cape brought M. means of the moon, which he de la Caille instructions not to illustrated by examples selected .



from his own observations during loss of appetite, with an oppletion his voyages.

of the whole habit. His mind reHis' fame being now establish- mained unaffected, and he refoed upon so firm a basis, the moft lutely perfifted in his ftudies as celebrated academies of Europe usual

. In the month of March meclaimed him as their own, and he dicines were administered to him, was elected unanimously a member which rather aggravated than alof the Royal Society of London, leviated his fymptoms : and he was of the Institute of Bologna, of now sensible that the same disorder the Imperial Academy of Pe. which in Africa ten years before tersburgh, and of the Royal Acade- yielded to a few fimple remedies, mies of Berlin, Stockholm, and did, in his native country, bid deGottingen.

fiance to the best physicians ; this In the year 1760, M. de la induced him to settle his affairs : his Caille was attacked with a severe manuscripts he committed to the fit of the gout, which, however, care and discretion of his esteemed did not interrupt the course of friend M. Maraldi. It was at laft his studies, for he then planned determined that a vein should be out a new and immense work, no opened, but this brought on an ob. less than a history of astronomy stinate lethargy, in which he died through all ages, with a compa- the twenty-third day of March, rison of the ancient and modern being then forty-nine years old. obfervations, and the construction

He was naturally of a robuft has and use of the instruments em- bit, with a very comely, open counployed in making them. In order tenance, fignificant of the complex. to pursue the talk he had imposed ion of his mind ; humane, friendly, upon himself in a suitable retire and modest to an extreme. ment, he obtained a grant of apartments in the royal palace of Vincennes ; and whilit his astronomical apparatus was erecting there, Some account of the life of the late he began printing his catalogue of excellent and eminent Stephen the southern stars *, and the third Hales, D.D.F.R. S. chiefly volume of his Ephemeridest. from materials communicated by

The state of his health, formerly P. Collinson, F. R. S. confirmed by his labours, was towards the end of the winter of


Tephen Hales, D. D. was born 1763 greatly reduced. His blood on the 7th of September, 1677. grew inflamed, he had pains of the His father was Thomas Hales, head, obstructions of the kidnies, Esq; the eldest son of Sir Robert

* Mr. Maraldi finished the edition, and gave it the title of Crelum Australe Stelliforum.

+ This last volume was printed off before the author's death, but not published. M. Bailly made an addition to it, with this title: Catalogue de 515 Etoiles Zodiacales, observées en 1760 et 1761, par M. l'abbé de la Caille, et reduites au-commencement de l'année 1763, par M. Bailly, de l'Academie des Sciences,


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