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it was chought advisable, previous to his studying at one of the Scotch universities, to remove him for some time to a dissenting academy at Kendal, under the care of Dr. Rotheram. He was accordingly sent thither at the latter end of the year 1749. In this situation he still continued to indulge his taste. for poetry; it 'was here that he composed the greater part of his imitations of Anacreon, a few of which are inserted * specimens of the proficiency which he had made in an art, tò which in his early youth he was so much devoted, and of the excellence to which in all probability he would have attained, if he had continued to indulge his imagination at the expense of the more serious and profound studies, in which he was afterward engaged.
If we may judge from a catalogue of the books that he took with him to Kendal, among which were two editions of Euclid, s'Gravesande's Institutions, Sherwin's Tables, &c., he must already have entered upon the study of the mathematics. It is how
* See the Appendix.
ever certain, that during his residence here he pursued it with great vigour. His ardour indeed in the prosecution of his studies was' so great, as to occasion considerable uneasiness to his friends, lest his health should fall a sacrifice, and induced them to remonstrate with him upon the necessity of remitting in some measure the severity of his application. The effect of these admonitions was but temporary, for he appears soon after to have brought on a severe fit of illness by his excessive and unremitted attention to his books.
In 1751 he left Kendal*, and removed the
* From the following extract of a letter written at this time to a fellow-student, it is probable. that he experienced no very important benefit from his residence here. “ I will tell you of a piece of practical knowledge I have
lately gained. Our good academical tutor thought it “ not his duty to instruct me in this or in any other s kind of practice, but, as some recompense for the
got from us, filled our brains with a deal of “ fine speculative knowledge, without once showing the “ several useful and entertaining purposes, to which " these particular branches of learning were adapted. “ We have learnt plane trigonometry, and io measure
same year to Edinburgh. Among other recommendatory letters he had one from his uncle to principal Wishart, which was of considerable service to him, as it introduced him to the particular notice of that gentleman, who was pleased to honour him during the whole of his residence there with many personal attentions. He enjoyed also the advantage of pursuing his mathematical studies under the tuition of the celebrated Matthew Stewart. As hitherto probably his reading upon these subjects had been chiefly under his own direction, it was
fortunate « towers and castles upon white paper, without know
ing that a quadrant existed but by name. We have s learnt spherical trigonometry, without the convenience ** of a globe, and with but a faint idea of the situation 6c of the several circles in the various positions of it.
We have read philosophy, without being assured that " there was a planet in the heavens, unless our faith ivere “ much greater than our experience: and lastly we have “ studied astronomy, without the knowledge of one • star in the firmament. But to return from this digres“sion to my subject. Pleased with the view of your “ quadrant, I have made one of copper, about 17 “ inches radius, which is long enough to admit of a
fortunate for him, that in the further prosecution of this science he had the assistance of .so eminent a master, who was remarked for the purity of his taste, as well as the elegance of his demonstrations founded on the clear and perspicuous style of the ancients. In a letter to his uncle he thus describes the different studies in which he was engaged :
Morality, criticism, and some of the higher branches of mathematics, are the “ public classes in which I am engaged. The “ second is taught by the professor of logic,
degree of the quadrant to be divided into 8 parts, " though I have yet divided it only into 4. To prove " the exactness of it, I measured a window ; when my “ observation wanted not 3 inches of the truth in 25 $6 feet. Not content with simply using it for taking “ altitudes, I fixed to it a piece of copper movable on “ the centre, with two sights upon it, and two also on “ one side of the quadrant, by which means I can ap
ply it to surveying, where the angles don't exceed 90 degrees. This use of it is indeed amusing, and yields
an agreeable satisfaction, to be thus enabled to measure « inaccessible heights and distances : yet easy as it is, "knew nothing of it till you first pointed it out to me, &c.” ” C 2
“ who gives lectures likewise on Longinusand “ Aristotle's Poetics; and how just and useful « his remarks are may easily be judged by the “ universal applause they meet with, though a without any ornaments of dress to set them " off. An acquaintance with some of the “ rules of criticism is certainly, if not abso " lutely, necessary, since it tends immediate
ly to form the taste in reading, and guide " the judgment between those two equally
injudicious extremes, of ill-naturedly cen
suring and ridiculously extolling every “ thing we read, &c.".
In another letter to a friend he unbosoms himself completely upon the subject of his present situation and the state of his mind:afrer describing the variety of his occupations, he adds, “ Do not suppose, that I “would image myself to you as a labori“ous student, who naturally feels more de" light in reading a battle of Homer, or a “ crabbed controversy in theology, than
when a boy in striking a quoitor a tennis166 ball. Nature has not been so indulgent