THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
and south, but not the preceding and following." He called it the Front-view, meaning that he tilted the mirror a little at the bottom, and, dispensing with Newton's plane mirror at the object end, secured all the light he could.
At that epoch in the world's history there was a singular upheaval of human thought and effort. In the years between 1760 and 1785 the world may be said to have witnessed more surprising changes than any it experienced since the revival of letters and the discovery of America. James Cook, aided by Joseph Banks and other men like himself, discovered new lands or new worlds of great extent and beauty in the bosom of the ocean; William Herschel, as the famous astronomer Lalande expressed it, "displayed a new heaven to earth," and discovered seventy-five millions of sunny stars. James Watt had solved the problem of converting the unruly giant of Steam into an obedient slave of man—the beginning of endless improvements in the bettering of man's lot. Gibbon had begun his Decline and Fall, Robertson was writing his Histories, and Hume was stirring the whole world of thought by the boldness and novelty of his ideas. Even in the political sphere that period was a seedtime fruitful of changes. The new world had changed hands. The Anglo-Saxon race and language had triumphed; the future of North America at least was assured. So was the future of India to the same hardy stock. Voltaire and his fellow-workers were paving the way for the violent upheaval that soon came in Europe. Everywhere men were sowing the seeds of a harvest of progress and blessing, mixed and disfigured with many a root of
- Phil. Trans. for 1786, p. 499.