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eighteenth one of the name was an eminent Scotch advocate and author. The ancient form of the name was Spotteswod and Spottyswod, with other variations. Abroad the family name became Spotswood, and a considerable position was attained in the States by the Governor of Virginia, a wealthy slaveowner of the earlier half of the eighteenth century, who was a scion of the Scotch family, and was succeeded in the governorship by his son.
William Spottiswoode was educated first at a school at Laleham, kept by Dr. Buckland, Dr. Arnold's brother-in-law, where Matthew Arnold had been a few years
before. Spottiswoode was afterwards at Eton and at Harrow, at which latter school, in Dr. Wordsworth's time, he gained the Lyons scholarship, and proceeded to Balliol College, Oxford, in 1842. At the end of 1845 he took his B.A. degree, having gained a first-class in mathematics. In 1846 and 1847 he won mathematical scholarships.
On quitting Oxford he entered the house of Eyre and Spottiswoode, the well-known Queen's printers, in which his father, Andrew Spottiswoode, youngest brother of the Laird of Spottiswoode, then John Spottiswoode, was a partner. Of this printing business William soon took an active part in the management, and has continued it to the present time. The editor of “Men of the Time" seems to think it necessary to apologise for such a position being taken by Mr. Spottiswoode, as if it were under the pressure of some exceptionally hard fate. For ourselves we fail to see why, in a professedly educational age like the present, there should be any necessity to seek an apology even were a prince of the blood to become a printer.
As printers the firm have ever been distinguished, not only by their honorary connection with Her Majesty, but by the beauty and variety of their types, without which many a student's work would have fared ill. There are but few printing houses which go beyond English type and a fount or two of Greek, while for twenty years at least the firm in question and that of his brother (Spottiswoode and Co.) in New-street-square have had many varied founts of Greek and Hebrew, as well as of inscription Greek, Etruscan, Ethiopic, Sanskrit, Hindustani, Persian, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Tamul, Syriac, Coptic, Irish, Anglo-Saxon, German, Swedish, and last, but not least, of music.
The engagements of business did not prevent William Spottiswoode from pursuing his studies, even of the most abstruse kind. In 1851, when he was twenty-six years old and had been a few years in business, he published a work entitled, “ Elementary Theorems relating to Determinants,” the seventy large quarto pages of which are terrible to look on to the unmathematical vision, But no doubt there are minds to which it is not only of interest but of some suggestive value to prove that “A symmetrical skew determinant of an odd order in general vanishes, and the system has for its inverse an unsymmetrical skew system.”
In addition to mathematics, Spottiswoode entered heartily into the study of philosophy, and of languages, both European and Oriental. But the pursuits of these abstruser studies has not resulted in the withdrawal of his attention from matters practical. He has shown an active interest in educational questions, manifesting especially a liberal feeling with regard to the status of the working classes, and taking ever a warm interest in plans for the amelioration of their condition.
Mr. Spottiswoode is a Master of Arts and Doctor of Laws of Oxford, and an honorary Doctor of Laws of the Universities of Edinburgh and of Dublin. As regards scientific dignities he is a fellow of the Royal Society, to which he has belonged for more than twenty years, and to which he became treasurer in 1871. He is a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences in Paris. He is a fellow of the Astronomical, the Geographical, the Asiatic, and the Ethnological Societies, and also of the Society of Arts, and a contributor to many scientific periodicals, and to the Transactions of the learned societies to which he belongs.
He was Public Examiner in Mathematics at Oxford twenty years ago, namely, in 1857-8; and in the first year of the Civil Service Commission he acted as an examiner, which function he has fulfilled also for the Society of Arts and the Middle Class Schools.
In addition to the mathematical work already named, Mr. Spottiswoode has printed for private circulation “Meditationes Analyticæ," the very title of which shows that with him mathematics is no task work, but an original pursuit upon which his mind delights to dwell. In 1874 he published in the "Nature Series” a volume upon the “Polarisation of Light.” This work has reached a second edition. Although treating of a subject which cannot be entered without special study, Mr. Spottiswoode endeavoured to show that pure study was never unattended by collateral practical uses. Of the Nicol's Prism, he showed how homely use could be made in extinguishing the glare found on oil pictures placed in a bad light. Or a fisherman might use it to see the fish below the surface of the water. In this little work, too, the interesting discovery was discussed, how particles of dust or of water floating in the air scatter the solar rays and diffuse light. Some interesting experiments have lately been made showing how the blank darkness of a cavern, over which even the light of a blazing torch has so little power, is due to the absence from the stilly secluded air of the tiny reflective and refractive particles that soften and distribute the direct pulsations of the vibrant rays we call light.
In 1857 William Spottiswoode published “A Tarantasse Journey through Eastern Russia," which had been made in the autumn of 1856. A fresh unbiassed spirit shone through this work, which had no political aim, but represented the interest felt by “a traveller to whom every square mile of this earth's surface is interesting, and the more so in proportion as it is less known.” Mr. Spottiswoode received a vivid impression of the immense natural resources of the country, and another impression which may be given in his own words, as that wbich must be experienced by the traveller : “Nor, lastly, can the low intellectual development of the people—their apparent inability to adopt improvements or new ideas, the peculiarity of their religious notions—fail to remind him that, on entering Russia, he has already passed the limits of European life, and arrived at a region where western civilisation merely overlays Oriental barbarism, like one of their own fur cloaks thrown hastily over the limbs of a benumbed traveller, who, though still motionless and inactive, may some day be roused to a life as energetic as that exhibited by the rest of the western world.” An interesting reference is made in this work to the migration, about a century from the present time, of half a million Kalmucks from Russia into China, preferring apparently the mild religion of Buddha to the sanguinary Christianity of the eastern branch of the Church.
Spottiswoode's imaginary conversation in a Buddhist temple which he visited in a Kalmuck village is peculiarly vigorous and lifelike, and shows that his study of Oriental religion has been both thorough and sympathetic. The westerner opens the conversation :
" • Who made the world ?' "No one.'
How, then, do you account for its creation ? ' “It was not created at all; but came into existence of itself by natural causes.'
“What are your views concerning the first man and woman; for there must have been a first pair from whom all men have descended ?'
“There was no such thing as a first man and woman ; we have all sprung from those who, having previously ended their lives, have transmigrated into this world in the first age.'
“How did sin enter into the world ?' “ • By avarice, covetousness, anger, and the corrupted temper of man.' “Is the devil, or any other powerful spirit, the cause of sin?' “'By no means.' "How is sin punished ?'
• By its own consequences.' “Does not the Supreme Being interfere so as sometimes to arrest a sinner, and sometimes to bring judgment upon him?'
“No. A useless life brings another life after it, that the useless liver may live again more usefully; an impure life, that the impure liver may be purified.'
“Do you not then believe that from this life men go to their final destination of reward or punishment ?'
“No. You Christians send your souls still impure from the contaminations of life into the presence of the All-Pure, and think to have them purified in a moment; whereas nothing in the world, not even a stewpan, is cleaned but by a gradual process.'”
The title of the work in which this brisk discussion appears may require a word of explanation: “ Tarantasse " is the huge four-wheeled vehicle without springs, then the chief means of conveyance in Russia, a sort of barbarous compound of a barge and a barouche.
Mr. George Andrew Spottiswoode also is a traveller, and communicated to Galton's “ Vacation Tourists in 1860” a sketch of “A Tour in Civil and Military Croatia and part of Hungary,” which he made in company with his brother William.
Mr. Spottiswoode married on the 27th Nov. 1861 the eldest daughter of the late William Urquhart Arbuthnot, Esq., a very distinguished member of the Council of India. He resides at Combe Bank, Sevenoaks, in which pleasant part of Kent — perhaps the most beautiful country within a little over half an hour's rail from town-he has a fine property. In London he has a house in Grosvenor Place.
Mr. Spottiswoode possesses in his laboratory some very fine and even unique instruments. Among these may be mentioned an immense induction coil; the largest ever made. Some idea of its size and powers may be formed from the fact that the secondary wire is no less than 280 miles in length. It would, in fact, if extended, reach from his residence in Kent to York. The electric spark, or flash of lightning, which it is capable of yielding, is upwards of forty inches in length. The instrument has been described at length in the Philosophical Magazine for January, 1877. Besides this, his collection of instruments for the polarisation of light are no less remarkable for their size, power, and perfection. Their effects have been shown on several occasions at the Royal Institution.
The time which he is enabled to bestow upon scientific pursuits is wholly dependent upon the claims of business, but, by dint of early rising, he generally succeeds in securing a little time each day for his favourite studies. But this small margin of leisure is not infrequently encroached upon by correspondence of one kind or another.
It may in part be due to the absence of the professional element in Mr. Spottiswoode's scientific studies, that in his mode of regarding his pursuit he reminds us of the old philosophers rather than the modern scientists. Formerly the object of science, inadequately as in the old days it was pursued compared with the advantages offered by modern mechanical appliances, was the expansion of the human mind and the enlargement of human knowledge. At the present day there is a visible