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A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I by De Morgan

The Lamentationes obscurorum virorum


[682]

Was this Whewell, who was at Trinity from 1812 to 1816 and became a fellow in 1817?

[683] Tom Cribb (1781-1848) the champion pugilist. He had worked as a coal porter and hence received his nickname, the Black Diamond.

[684] John Finleyson, or Finlayson, was born in Scotland in 1770 and died in London in 1854. He published a number of pamphlets that made a pretense to being scientific. Among his striking phrases and sentences are the statements that the stars were made "to amuse us in observing them"; that the earth is "not shaped like a garden turnip as the Newtonians make it," and that the stars are "oval-shaped immense masses of frozen water." The first edition of the work here mentioned appeared at London in 1830.

[685] Richard Brothers (1757-1824) was a native of Newfoundland. He went to London when he was about 30, and a little later set forth his claim to being a descendant of David, prince of the Hebrews, and ruler of the world. He was confined as a criminal lunatic in 1795 but was released in 1806.

[686] Charles Grey (1764-1845), second Earl Grey, Viscount Howick, was then Prime Minister. The Reform Bill was introduced and defeated in 1831. The following year, with the Royal guarantees to allow him to create peers, he finally carried the bill in spite of "the number of the beast."

[687] The letters

of obscure men, the _Epistolae obscurorum virorum ad venerabilem virum Magistrum Ortuinum Gratium Dauentriensem_, by Joannes Crotus, Ulrich von Hutten, and others appeared at Venice about 1516.

[688] The lamentations of obscure men, the _Lamentationes obscurorum virorum, non prohibete per sedem Apostolicam. Epistola D. Erasmi Roterodami: quid de obscuris sentiat_, by G. Ortwinus, appeared at Cologne in 1518.

[689] The criticism was timely when De Morgan wrote it. At present it would have but little force with respect to the better class of algebras.

[690] Thomas Ignatius Maria Forster (1789-1860) was more of a man than one would infer from this satire upon his theory. He was a naturalist, astronomer, and physiologist. In 1812 he published his _Researches about Atmospheric Phenomena_, and seven years later (July 3, 1819) he discovered a comet. With Sir Richard Phillips he founded a Meteorological Society, but it was short lived. He declined a fellowship in the Royal Society because he disapproved of certain of its rules, so that he had a recognized standing in his day. The work mentioned by De Morgan is the second edition, the first having appeared at Frankfort on the Main in 1835 under the title, _Recueil des ouvrages et des pensees d'un physicien et metaphysicien_.

[691] Zadkiel, whose real name was Richard James Morrison (1795-1874), was in his early years an officer in the navy. In 1831 he began the publication of the _Herald of Astrology_, which was continued as _Zadkiel's Almanac_. His name became familiar throughout Great Britain as a result.


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