The author of the Naval Tactics is one of those men who, by the force of their own genius, have carried great improvements into professions which were not properly their own. The history both of the sciences and of the arts furnishes several remarkable examples of a similar nature. Fermat the rival, sometimes the superior of Descartes, one of the most inventive mathematicians of a most inventive age, was by profession a lawyer, and had only devoted to science the time that could be spared from the duties of a counsellor or a judge: about fifty years earlier, also, his countryman Vieta had made a like digression from the same employment, and hardly with inferior success.
Perrault, who, in the façade of the Louvre, has left behind him so splendid a monument of architectural skill and taste, was a physician, and not only practised, but wrote books on medicine. Dr Herschell too, who has made more astronomical discoveries than any individual of the present age, betook himself to the study of the heavens as a relaxation from professional pursuits.