He had already assisted Nathaniel Bowditch in his translation of the Mecanique celeste, and now produced a series of mathematical textbooks characterized by the brevity and terseness which made his teaching unattractive to inapt pupils.
Some of the best productions of the school were their epigrams. Of these we have several specimens, and the art of composing them seems to have been assiduously cultivated, as might naturally be expected from the court life of the poets, and their constant endeavours after terseness and neatness of expression.
One of these, Freedom of Mind, is remarkable for freshness of thought and terseness of expression.
The homely terseness of his style, his abounding humour - rough, cheery and playful, but irresistible in its simplicity, and occasionally displaying sudden and dangerous barbs of satire - his avoidance of dogmatic subtleties, his noble advocacy of practical righteousness, his bold and open denunciation of the oppression practised by the powerful, his scathing diatribes against ecclesiastical hypocrisy, the transparent honesty of his fervent zeal, tempered by sagacious moderation - these are the qualities which not only rendered his influence so paramount in his lifetime, but have transmitted his memory to posterity as perhaps that of the one among his contemporaries most worthy of our interest and admiration.
Impressed by the belief that verbosity was the bane of science, he carried terseness to an extreme which frequently created obscurity, and this in no branch of zoology more than in that which relates to birds.