Norden, Frederick Lewis

, an eminent geographer and traveller, was born at Gluckstadt in Holstein, Oct. 22, 1708. His father was a lieutenant-colonel of artillery, and himself was bred to arms. Being intended for the sea-service, he entered, in 1722, into the corps of cadets; a royal establishment, in which young men were instructed in the arts and sciences necessary to form good sea-officers. Here he is said to have made a great progress in the mathematics, ship-building, and drawing, especially in the last. He copied the works of the greatest masters in the art, to form his taste, and acquire their manner; but he took a particular pleasure in drawing from nature. The | first person who noticed this rising genius, was M. de Lerche, knight of the order of the elephant, and grand master of the ceremonies. This gentleman put into his hands a collection of charts and topographical plans, belonging to the king, to be retouched and amended, in which Norden shewed great skill and care; but, considering his present employment as foreign to his profession, de Lerche, in 1732, presented him to the king, and procured him, not only leave, but a pension to enable him to travel: the king likewise made him, at the same time, second lieutenant. It was particularly recommended to him, to study the construction of ships, especially such gallies and rowing vessels as are used in the Mediterranean. Accordingly he set out for Holland, where he soon became acquainted with the admirers of antiquities and the polite arts, and with several distinguished artists, particularly De Reyter, who took great pleasure in teaching him to engrave. From Holland he went to Marseilles, and thence to Leghorn; staying in each place so long as to inform himself in every thing relating to the design of his voyage. At this last port he got models made of the different kinds of rowing vessels, which are still to be seen at the chamber of models at the Old Holm. In Italy, where he spent near three years in enlarging his knowledge, his great talents drew the attention of persons of distinction, and procured him an opportunity of seeing the cabinets of the curious, and of making his advantage of the great works of painting and sculpture, especially at Rome and Florence. At Florence he was made a member of the drawing academy, and while in this city he received an order from the king to go into Egypt.

Christian VI. was desirous of having a circumstantial account of a country so distant and so famous from an intelligent man, and one whose fidelity could not be questioned; and no one was thought more proper than Norden. He was then in the flower of his age, of great abilities, of a good taste, and of a courage that no danger or fatigue could dishearten; a skilful observer, a great designer, and a good mathematician: to all which qualities may be added an enthusiastic desire of examining, upon the spot, the wonders of Egypt, even prior to the order of his master. How he acquitted himself in this business appears amply from his “Travels in Egypt and Nubia.” In these countries he stayed about a year and, at his return, when the | count of Danneskiold-Samsoe, who was at the head of the marine, presented him to his majesty, the king was much pleased with the masterly designs he had made of the objects in his travels, and desired he would draw up an account of his voyage, for the instruction of the curious and learned. At this time he was made captain-lieutenant, and soon after captain of the royal navy, and one of the commissioners for building ships.

When the war broke out between England and Spain, count Danneskiold-Samsoe proposed to the king, that several of his officers of his majesty’s navy should go as volunteers into the service of the powers at war; and chose Norden in particular, to accompany his own nephew, count Ulric Adolphus, then a captain of a man of war, in such expeditions as should be undertaken by the English. On their arrival in London, Norden, whose fame had preceded him, was received with distinguished favour; several of the most considerable men at court, and even the prince of Wales, hearing of the designs he made in Egypt, were curious to see them, and shewed him great kindness. The following summer, he accompanied the count on an expedition under sir John Norris; and, in 1740, he again went on-board the fleet destined to America, under the command of sir Chaloner Ogle, with a design to reinforce admiral Vernon. After this, Norden spent about one year in London in great esteem, and was admitted a member of the Royal Society. On this occasion he gave the public an idea of some ruins and colossal statues, entitled, tf Drawings of some Ruins and Colossal Statues, at Thebes of Egypt; with an account of the same, in a Letter to the Royal Society,“1741. This essay, with the plates belonging to it, heightened the desire which men of curiosity had before conceived of seeing that work entire, of which this made only a small part. About this time he found his health declining; and proposed to the count to take a tour to France, and to visit the coasts and ports of that kingdom, in hopes a change of climate might have been a means of recovering his health: but he died at Paris in 1742, much regretted as a person who had done honour to his country, and from whom the world had great expectations. His” Travels" were translated from the Danish into French by Des Roches de Parthenais, and published at Copenhagen in 1755, 2 vois. fol. This was followed by an English translation, both in fol. and 8vo, | by Dr. Peter Templeman. This edition was decorated with the original plates, which are extremely numerous, and were procured by Mr. Lockyer Davis. 1


Life prefixed to his Travels. Brunei mentions another French edition, 1795, 3 vols. 4to, with notes by M. Langles, aud probably a life, but we have not seen it.