Page images

As his Studies have law chiefly in Languages, explaining Texts of Scripturp, and controversial Divinity; he himself is not unfond of disputing. In particular, be thinks the Followers of Mr. Rutchinsm wrong in almost every thing they advance; and said, " He would go so far, and almost with as "much Pleasure, as he came to see me, to dispute ." with a Hutebinsmian:" And his Journey to me was near sixty Miles; and that, poor Man! on Foot.

, i

Though the Relation who first instructed him, and furnished him with the few Books he had at Tring-Grove, was an Anabaptist; he himself is, and always has been, a most zealous Son of the Church of England; and seems to think, that any thing's being inserted in our Liturgy, or any Points being held by our Church, is a sufficient Argument of itself, for its being true.

Poetry has now and then come in for Part of his Diversion in reading; and in particular, he had a Horace, and the Epistles of Ovid, among his Books very early: But among them all his chief Acquaintance have been Homer, Virgil and Ogilby; and yet as to Homer, he had gone no farther than his Iliad (1758); which he had read over many Times. The first Day after he came to me, he desired to see the Odyjsey; which I put into his Hands, both in the Original, and in Mr. Pope's Translation. He was charmed with them both;

but; but said, " He did not know how it was, but that **• it read finer to him in the latter, than in ** Homer himself" On this he was desirous of reading some more of Mr. Pope: I pointed him to the EJsay an Criticism; this charmed him still more; and he railed it, " The wisest Poem he had ever "read in his whole Life.'* Before our parting, I made him a Present of one or two Poems, and above a hundred weight of Fathers and polemic Divinity. I dare fay he will go over every Line of them; and indeed, he declared that I had now furnished him with reading at his leisure Hours from Work, for these seven Years.

It was but last April that he was with me; so having brought down the little Circumstances of his Life almost to the present Time, 1 have nothing more to add, than the Comparison between him and Magliahechi: Which, to say the Truth, was the principal, and almost only Reason, for my Writing their Lives.





Sign*' MagLiabechi


Mr. H I L L.

NOW as to the two Persons whom I have, chosen to compare together, in the Manner of that great and good Philosopher Plutarch; and who do not yield more in Dignity to the great Lawgivers, and Generals and Heroes, which are usually the Subject of his Enquiries, than I do in Abilities to so celebrated a Writer among the Antients: We may obesrve however, in the first Place, in Commendation of both of them, that they were of low Birth ; and acquired whatever they did acquire, almost without any Assistance from their Parents, and entirely without the common Helps of Education.


) Magliabechi seems to have never been at any School at all; and Hill was at one only for two Months. They were their own School-Masters ; and almost as untaught and unassisted as the Saxon Peasant [e], of whom we have lately had so full an Account in several of our public Papers.

Then again there is something extremely odd in each of them, in the Beginning of their Application to Study. Hill has no sooner got a Latin Book into his Possession, than he endeavours to learn Latin j the very Day he is Master of a Greek Book, he attempts that much more difficult Language; and the bare seeing a few Hebrew Passages quoted, sets him upon a third. But Magliabecki's Beginning is yet stranger: For nothing can be more unaccountable than his Fondnefe of looking so much on printed Paper, before he could tell any one Letter from another; and, as far as I ever heard, without any Attempt, or Thoughts, at first, of distinguishing them.

They are alike too in the Eagerness of their Pursuit, and the Intenseness of their Application, when once they had begun. Hill was happy in lying under his Hedge, and reading all Day: And Mag' liabechi lolled and read, for many Days together, in his Cradle. In the Process of his Studies, Hill was forced often to rob himself of a great Part of the Rest, more particularly wanted for one of his weakly

[o] John Ludwlg, of Cojsedaudc \ a Village, in the Neighbourhood of Dresden,

Consti* Constitution* to carry on his Enquiries; and I have heard him fay, that he came to think three or four Hours Sleep/ very sufficient for a Night, after he had used himself to it for some Years. Magliabechi was not obliged to follow the fame Practice; his Business gave him more Time for it, in the Day; and very little of that did he pass, without his Eyes being fixed on some Book or other.

The Success of Mr. Hill in acquiring the three learned Languages, in the Manner he did, is very extraordinary: But the Extent of Magliabechi''s Acquisitions is absolutely amazing; by the Account* given of him, he had read almost every thing, remembered all he had read, and had each Part ef it at hand to produce whenever he was consulted about it.

I doubt not but that it is the fame with the Faculties of the Mind, as it is with the Limbs of the Body, which ever is exercised much more than the rest. It is a common Observation, and generally holds through the whole Sett, that a Chairman's Legs will be more muscular in Proportion than his Arms; and a Rower's Arms will be more muscular than his Legs: Just in the fame Manner, if one Man was to exercise his Imagination only, [which I fear may have been the Cafe with some of our Poets] that will grow stronger and stronger, but his Judg-< ment will become feeble; if another \gas to exercise only his Judgment, as happens too often among the Mathematicians, the Powers of his


« PreviousContinue »