Long, Roger

, an English divine and astronomer, was born about 1680, and was educated at Pembroke hall, Cambridge, of which he was A. B. in 1700, A.M. 1704, and S. T. P. in 1728. In 1733 he was elected master of Pembroke hall, and in 1749 Lowndes’s professor of astronomy. He is chiefly known as an author by a “Treatise on Astronomy,” in two volumes 4to; the first of which was published in 1742, and the second in 1764. He was the inventor of a curious astronomical machine, erected in a room at Pembroke hail, of which he has himself given the following description: “I have, in a room lately built in Pembroke hall, erected a sphere of 18 feet diameter, wherein above thirty persons may sit conveniently; the entrance into it is over the south pole by six steps; the frame of the sphere consists of a number of iron meridians, not complete semi-circles, the northern ends of which are screwed to a large plate of brass, with a hole in the centre of it; through this hole, from a beam in the cieling, comes the north pole, a round iron rod, about three inches long, and supports the upper parts of the sphere to its proper elvation for the latitude of Cambridge; the lower part of the sphere, so much of it as is invisible in England, is cut off; and the lower or southern ends of the meridians, or truncated semi-circles, terminate on, and are screwed down to, a strong circle of oak, of about thirteen feet diameter, which, when the sphere is put into motion, runs upon large rollers of lignum vitae, in the manner that the tops of | some wind-mills are made to turn round. Upon the iron meridians is fixed a zodiac of tin painted blue, whereon the ecliptic and heliocentric orbits of the planets are drawn, and the constellations and stars traced; the great and little Bear and Draco are already painted in their places round the north pole; the rest of the constellations are proposed to follow; the whole is turned with a small winch, with as little labour as it takes to wind up a jack, though the weight of the iron, tin^ and wooden circle, is about a thousand pounds. When it is made use of, a planetarium will be placed in the middle thereof. The whole, with the floor, is well-supported by a frame of large timber.” Thus far Dr. Long, before this curious piece of mechanism was perfected. Since the above was written, the sphere has been completely finished; all the constellations and stars of the northern hemisphere, visible at Cambridge, are painted in their proper places upon plates of iron joined together, which form one concave surface.

Dr. Long died Dec. 16, 1770, aged ninety-one, being at that time master of Pembroke college, and rector of Bradwell juxtaMare, in Essex, leaving 600l. to his college.

Besides his astronomical work,- he published in 1731, under the name of Dicaiophilus Cantabrigiensis, “The Rights of Churches and Colleges defended; in answer to a pamphlet called * An Enquiry into the customary estates and tenant-rights of those who hold lands of church and other foundations, by the term of three lives, &c. by Everard Fleetwood, esq.;‘ with remarks upon some other pieces on the same subject,” 8vo. The author of this pamphlet, to which our author replied, was not Fleetwood, which was an assumed name, but Samuel Burroughs, esq. a master in chancery. Dr. Long published also a “Commencement-Sermon, 1728;” and an answer to Dr. Gally’s pamphlet “On Greek Accents.” We shall subjoin a few traits of him, as delineated in 1769, by Mr. Jones: " He is now in the eighty-eighth year of his age, and, for his years, vegete and active. He was lately (in October) put in nomination for the office of vice-chancellor. He executed that trust before; I think in the year 1737. A very ingenious person, and sometimes very facetious. At the public commencement in the year 1713, Dr. Greene (master of Bene’t college, and afterwards bishop of Ely) being then vice-chancellor, Mr. Long was pitched upon for the tripos-performance; it was witty and humourous, and | has passed through divers editions. Some that remembered the delivery of it told me, that, in addressing ttye vice chancellor (whom the university-wags usually styled Miss Greene), the tripos-orator, being a native of Norfolk, and assuming the Norfolk dialect, instead of saying, Domine vice-cancellarie, did very archly pronounce the words thus, Domina vice-cancellaria; which occasioned a general smile in that great auditory. His friend the late Mr. Bonfoy of Ripton told me this little incident: `That he and Dr. Long walking together in Cambridge, in a dusky evening, and coming to a short post fixed in the pavement, which Mr. B. in the midst of chat and inattention, took to be a boy standing in his way, he said in a hurry, `Get out of my way, boy.‘ `That boy, sir,’ said the doctor very calmly and slily, `is a post-boy, who turns out of his way for nobody.’

I could recollect several other ingenious repartees if there were occasion. One thing is remarkable. He never was a hale and hearty man; always of a tender and delicate constitution, yet took care of it. His common drink, water. He always dines with the fellows in the hall. Of late years, he has left off eating flesh-meats; in the room thereof, puddings, vegetables, &c. Sometimes a glass or two of wine.1


Nichols’s Bowycr. Gept. Mag. LI. p. 530; and L1II. p. 923. Cole’s ms Athena; in Brit. Mus.