The truth in shortest about matters of importance shall be taken for good style." With great love of power, which he was conscious of exerting with ease to himself and for the good of the public, he had little personal vanity, and not the smallest ambition of authorship. Many volumes might be collected out of the vast accumulation of his writings now mouldering and forgotten in archives.
"The sky was overcast with volumes of smoke, which wrapped every distant object in a veil, impenetrable alike to the eyes and telescopes of the officers.
Among his papers are preserved long and detailed notes laboriously taken from such works as Tull's Horse-Hoeing Husbandry, Duhamel's A Practical Treatise of Husbandry, The Farmer's Compleat Guide, Home's The Gentleman Farmer, and volumes of Young's Annals of Agriculture.
Another moment, and a mighty crash sounded on their ears, while the tower fell to the earth, amidst volumes of wreathing smoke and showers of dust, which were borne, by the concussion to the spot on which they took their last gaze of the proudest fortress on which the Moors of Granada had beheld, from their own walls, the standard of Arragon and Castile.
The stately quartos issued from the presses of the leading academies of Europe are, in most cases, to be counted by hundreds. The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society already number about two hundred volumes, and the time when the Memoirs of the French Academy of Sciences shall reach the thousand mark does not belong to the very remote future.
Very dark in the winter, with drawn curtains, many rows of leather-bound volumes, oak-panelled walls and ceiling. So large, too, that the lighted spot before the fire where he sat was just an oasis.
For the third volume, though its earlier pages contain some good touches, drifts away into mere dull, uncleanly equivoque in its concluding chapters; and the fifth and sixth volumes may, at any rate, quite safely challenge favourable comparison with the fourth the poorest, I venture to think, of the whole series.
And what other punishment for them than imprisonment is there or can there be? Argument upon this matter evidently bids fair to drag in pretty nearly everything else sociology, political economy, religion, politics, law, medicine, psychology, the whole conduct of our life and history of our opinions. But I must content myself here with a few words, and leave volumes to others.
Now this is no fault, Gentlemen, of the books or the lectures of the Mechanics’ Institute. They could not do more than they do, from their very nature. They do their part, but their part is not enough. A man may hear a thousand lectures, and read a thousand volumes, and be at the end of the process very much where he was, as regards knowledge.
III. Recueil d'Observations Astronomiques, et de Mésures exécutées dans le Nouveau Continent: two volumes quarto.