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necessary, and when the general expectation was that the regent would call to his councils those men who had formerly been honoured with his confidence, his royal highness preferred retaining Mr. Perceval and his colleagues in his service.
As a public speaker, Mr. Perceval rose much in reputation and excellence, after he became minister. As the leading man in the house of commons, it was necessary that he should be able to explain and defend all his measures ; and this duty, arduous under all circumstances, was particularly so in his case, as there was scarcely any other member of administration, in that house, competent to the task of relieving or supporting him. He, in a short time, proved that he stood in need of no assistance: he made himself so completely acquainted with every topic that was likely to be regularly discussed, that he was never taken unawares or at a loss. In the statement of his measures he was remarkably methodical and perspicuous. By many persons he was deemed particularly to excel in his replies; in rebutting any severe remark that came unexpectedly upon him, and in turning the fact adduced, or the argument used, against his opponent. Had his life been spared, it is probable he would have risen to the highest degree of reputation for bistorical and constitutional knowledge, and political skill.
The death of this valuable servant of the public was occasioned by the hand of an assassin, one of those men who brood over their own injuries, or supposed injuries, until they become the willing agents of malignity and revenge. This catastrophe happened on Monday, May 11, 1912. About five o'clock in the evening of that day, Mr. Perceval was entering the lobby of the house of commons, when he was shot by a person named John Bellingham, and almost instantly expired. The murderer, when apprehended, acknowledged his guilt, but pleaded that he had claims on administration which had been neglected; and it appeared, on his trial, that he had deliberately prepared to murder some person in administration, without any particular choice; and that when he was possessed by this hellish spirit, Mr. Perceval presented himself. No marks of insanity appeared either previous to or on his trial, nor could he be brought to any proper sense of his crime. He was executed on the Monday following
Both houses of parliament expressed their sense of Mr.
Perceval's public services and private worth by every testimony of respect, and by a liberal grant for the provision of his family, while the public at large were no less impressed with the horror which his cruel death created, and with the loss of such a minister, at a time when the reconciliation of contending political parties appeared hopeless.
PERCIVAL (THOMAS), an eminent physician, was born at Warrington, September 29, 1740. Having lost both his parents in one day, he was placed at the age of four
years under the protection of his uncle, Dr. Thomas Percival, a learned physician, resident at the same place; but of his parental guidance he was also deprived at the age of ten, after which his education was directed with the most kind and judicious attention by his eldest sister. His literary pursuits commenced at a private school in the neighbourhood of Warrington, whence he was removed, at the age of eleven, to the free grammar-school of that town, where he exhibited great promise of talent, and much industry. In 1757 he became one of the first pupils of a dissenting academy then established at Warrington, where he pursued with unabating diligence the classical studies in which he had already made considerable progress, and in particular had attained great facility and elegance in Latin composition. The study of ethics, however, appears to have principally engaged his attention here, as it did afterwards throughout the whole of his life, and formed the basis of all his works, except those on professional subjects. It appears that before Mr. Perceval went to Warrington academy, his family was induced to quit communion with the church of England, and to espouse the tenets of protestant dissent. This was in one respect peculiarly unfortunate for him who had thoughts of entering the university of Oxford ; but now, after studying the thirty-nine articles, he determined against subscription, and consequently relinquished the advantages of academical study at either English university. He therefore went in 1761 to Edinburgh, and commenced his studies in medical science, which he also carried on for a year in London. In 1765 he removed to the university of Leyden, with a view to complete his medical course, and to be admitted to the degree of doctor of physic. Having accordingly defended in the public schools his inaugural disserta? Gent. Mag. 1812,--Collins's Peerage by Sir E. Brydges.
tion “ De Frigore," he was presented with the diploma of M. D. July 6, 1765. On his return, which was through France and Holland, at the close of the same year, he joined his fanıily at Warrington, and soon after married Elizabeth, the daughter and only surviving child of Nathaniel Bassnett, esq. merchant, of London. In 1767 he removed with his family to Manchester, and commenced his professional career with an uncommon degree of success.
The leisure which Dr. Percival had hitherto enjoyed, had given him the opportunity of engaging in various philosophical and experimental inquiries, relating, for the most part, to the science of physic. The “ Essays” which he formed on the result of his investigations, were sometimes presented to the Royal Society, and were afterwards inserted in the volumes of its Transactions; at other times they were communicated to the public through the medium of the most current periodical journals. These miscellaneous pieces were afterwards collected, and published in one volume, under the title of “Essays medical and experimental.” A second volume appeared in 1773, and a third in 1776, and were received by the learned world as the productions of a man of profound knowledge and sound judgment.
Extensive as Dr. Percival's practice was, he found leisure to continue those publications on which his fame is founded, and by which he was soon known throughout Europe. Among these we may mention “ Observations and Experiments on the Poison of Lead," 1774; “A Father's Instructions, consisting of tales, fables, and reflections, designed to promote the love of virtue, a taste for knowledge, and an early acquaintance with the works of nature,” 1775. Two years after he added another volume, completing the work, which is executed in a manner excellently adapted to its object. “On the Use of Flowers of Zinc in epileptic cases" (Medical Commentaries, vol. II.) “ Miscellaneous practical Observations,” (ibid. V.) “ Account of the Earthquake at Manchester,' (ibid.) “The Disadvantages of early Inoculation.” “ Experiments and Observations on Water." “ Moral and literary Dissertations," 1784, 8vo. “On the Roman Colonies and Stations in Cheshire and Lancashire,” (Phil. Travs. XLVII. 216.) “ Account of a double Child," (ibid. 360.) « Experiments on the Peruvian Bark, (ibid. LVII. 221.) “ Experiments and Observations on the Waters of Buxton and Manches
ter," (ibid. LXII. 455.) “On the Population of Manchester and other adjacent places,” (ibid. LXIV. 54; LXV. 322, and Supplement, LXVI. 160.) “ New and cheap way of preparing Potash,” (ibid. LXX. 545.)
The “ Manchester Memoirs” were also frequently honoured by Dr. Percival's communications. The society, indeed, by which they were published, derived its origin from the stated weekly meetings for conversation, which Dr. Percival held at his own house; the resort of the literary characters, the principal inhabitants, and of occasional strangers. As these meetings became more numerous, it was in time found convenient to transfer them to a tavern, and to constitute a few rules for the better direction of their proceedings. The members thus insensibly formed themselves into a club, which was supported with so much success, as at length, in 1781, to assume the title of “The Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester."
Dr. Percival was appointed joint president with James Massey, esq. and his literary contributions were frequent and valuable. When acting as president, his powers both of comprehension and discourse were sometimes called forth to considerable exercise; and perhaps on no occasion were his.talents more fully exerted, than when he at once guided and systematized the topics of animated discussion. Another scheme which he patronized was for the establishment of public lectures on mathematics, the fine arts, and commerce, somewhat in the manner of the institutions lately attempted in London ; but that of Manchester, after two winters of unfavourable trial, was at length reluctantly abandoned, and those of the metropolis have not yet much to boast on the score of encouragement or utility. Dr. Percival experienced two other disappointments, in his endeavours to support the dissenting academy at Warrington, and to establish one at Manchester in its room, neither of which schemes was found practicable.
Dr. Percival died of an acute disease on August 30, 1804, in the sixty-fourth year of bis age, universally respected and regretted. His works were collected and published in 1807, 4 vols. 8vo, by one of his sons, with a very interesting biographical memoir, from which we have borrowed the preceding particulars. For what follows of Dr. Perceval's character, we are principally indebted to Dr. Magee, of Trinity college, Dublin.
“ The character of Dr. Percival was in every way calculated to secure for him that eminence in his profession, and that general respect, esteem, and attachment, which he every where obtained.
A quick penetration, a discriminating judgment, a patient attention, a comprehensive knowledge, and, above all, a solemn sense of responsibility, were the endowments which so conspicuously fitted bim at once to discharge the duties, and to extend the boundaries, of the healing art; and his external accomplishments and manners were alike happily adapted to the offices of his profession. In social discussion, he possessed powers of a very uncommon stamp, combining the accuracy of science, and the strictest precision of method, with the graces of a copious and unstudied elocution; and to these was superadded the polish of a refined urbanity, the joint result of innate benevolence, and of early and habitual intercourse with the most improved classes of society. In few words, he was an author without vanity, a philosopher without pride, a scholar without pedantry, and a Christian without guile. Affable in his manners, courteous in his conversation, dignified in his deportment, cheerful in his temper, warm in his affections, steady in his friendships, mild in his resentments, and unshaken in his principles; the grand object of his life was usefulness, and the grand spring of all his actions was religion.
“ As a literary character, Dr. Percival held a distinguished rank. His earlier publications were devoted to medical, chemical, and philosophical inquiries, which he pursued extensively, combining the cautious but assiduous employment of experiment, with scientific observation, and much literary research. His Essays Medical and Experimental,' obtained for the author a considerable reputation in the philosophical world, and have gone through many editions. The subjects which occupied his pen, in later years, were of a nature most congenial to his feelings; and in the several volumes of 'A Father's Instructions to his Children,' and of Moral Dissertations,' which appeared at different periods, through a space of twentyfive years, and which were originally conceived with the design of exciting in the hearts of his children a desire of knowledge and a love of virtue, there is to be found as much of pure style, genuine feeling, refined taste, apt illustration, and pious reflection, as can easily be discovered, in the same compass, in any didactic composition. His last work, which he expressly dedicated as a 'pa