Page images
PDF
EPUB

paid her a visit, and entered into a familiar conversation with her, Anna secretly took a likeness of her majesty, which was so exceedingly striking as to excite the admiration and astonishment of all who beheld it.

The first thing published by this extraordinary woman was a Latin poem on the institution of the university of Utrecht, in 1636; but afterwards the famous professor of divinity, Spanheim, of Leyden, prevailed with her to print several learned performances in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, and French. This surprising monument of female genius was published in 1648, under the title of the "Smaller Works of Anna Maria Schurman."

This learned lady died at Weiwert, a village in Holland, in, 1678, after having recommended her soul to the

Almighty with sentiments of fervent devotion and resignation.

SIR WILLIAM PETTY.

NOTHING can be more pleasing and instructive than to observe the progress of great talents, virtue, and industry, from obscurity to distinction and wealth.

Riches and honours are real bless

ings, when possessed by those who have acquired them by merit, or who know how properly to estimate and use them. Neither is an ancient and noble lineage to be undervalued, since it may be properly considered as a stimulus to worthy deeds, and a restraint from mean actions.

But it is more glorious to be the

founder of a family, and to leave behind, for the imitation of posterity, a name distinguished for active virtue. and well-applied ingenuity.

These remarks are supported and elucidated in the life of the celebrated Sir William Petty, the direct ancestor of the Marquis of Lansdowne; and who, by his indefatigable industry, acquired the princely fortune at present possessed by that noble family.

He was the eldest son of a clothier at Rumsey, in Hampshire, and was born in that town in 1623. While he was very young he took great delight in conversing with artificers, such as smiths, carpenters, and joiners, and imitating their several occupations, which he performed with great dexterity and ingenuity at twelve years of age. At that time he went to the grammar school

of his native town, and before he had attained his fifteenth year, he was well acquainted with the Latin, Greek, and French languages, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, navigation, dialling, and other branches of mathematics and mechanics.

After this he went to the university of Caen in Normandy, where he maintained himself by engaging in a little merchandising, and thus was enabled to perfect his studies in the French language and the sciences: a remarkable and laudable instance of industry and love of learning.

On his return to England he entered into the royal navy, where he saved: about sixty pounds, which was a considerable sum in those days. With this money he went, for his further im

rovement, into the Netherlands, and

from thence to Paris, where he studied anatomy. During his residence abroad he still continued his application to trade, which, indeed, was necessary, considering the smallness of his fortune.

"It

At the age of twenty-four he obtained a patent from parliament for teaching the art of double writing, of which he gives the following description in a letter to a friend :-" It is an instrument of small bulk and price, easily made, and very durable, whereby any man, even at the first sight and handling, may write two resembling copies of the same thing at once, as serviceably and as fast (allowing two lines upon each page on setting the instruments) as by the ordinary way; of what nature, or in what character, or what matter soever, as paper, parch

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »