Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chevalier Yelin

‘January 24 [1826].—…Went to the funeral of Chevalier Yelin, the literary foreigner mentioned on 22d. How many and how various are the ways of affliction! Here is this poor man dying at a distance from home, his proud heart broken, his wife and family anxiously expecting letters, and doomed only to learn they have lost a husband and father for ever. He lies buried on the Calton Hill, near learned and scientific dust—the graves of David Hume and John Playfair being side by side…’
 In Lockhart’s note to Scott’s Journal, he points out that Chevalier Yelin was told by his wife that he could not leave Edinburgh without meeting the great bard (Scott).  He hoped to meet Scott at a meeting of the Royal Society, days earlier, during which he was to deliver a paper.  The meeting with Scott never occurred.  Scott was not there that night, and Yelin died before reaching the Royal Society event.  The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal published the following on Chevalier Yelin:
 ‘M. Le Chevalier Yelin, a learned Bavarian, discovered some time ago, that needles of steel become magnetic when placed in a glass tube surrounded by a magnetic spiral, and when electrical sparks or the charge of a Leyden battery were transmitted along the spiral…’ 

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