« PreviousContinue »
How many hours in 38 years, 2 months, and 7 days ? In six seconds, 334,488. When at London, “at a meeting of his friends, which was held for the purpose of concerting the best method of promoting the interest of the child by an education suited to his turn of mind, he undertook and succeeded in raising the number 8 to the sixteenth power, and gave the answer correctly in the last result, viz: 281,474,976,710,656. He was then tried as to other numbers, consisting of one figure, all of which he raised as high as the tenth power, with so much facility and dispatch that the person appointed to take down the results was obliged to enjoin him not to be too rapid. With respect to numbers consisting of two figures, he would raise some of them to the sixth, seventh and eighth power, but not always with equal facility; for the larger the products became, the more difficult he found it to proceed. He was asked the square root of 106,929, and before the number could be written down, he immediately answered, 327. He was then requested to name the cube root of 268,336,125, and with equal facility and promptness he replied 645.
Various other questions of a similar nature respecting the roots and powers of very high numbers, were proposed by several of the gentlemen present, to all of which satisfactory answers were given. One of the party requested him to name the factors which produced the number 247,483, which he did by mentioning 941 and 263, which indeed are the only two factors that will produce it. Another of them proposed 171,395, and he named the following factors as the only ones, viz: 5X 3+279, 7X 24485, 59X29905, 83X2065, 34x4897, 295X581, 413X415. He was then asked to give the factors of 36,083, but he immediately replied that it had none; which in fact was the case, as 36,083 is a prime number.”
"It had been asserted and maintained by the French mathematicians that 4294967297 (=232+1) was a prime number; but the celebrated Euler detected the error by discovering that it was equal to 641X6,700,417. The same number was proposed to this child, who found out the factors by the mere operation of his mind.” On another occasion, he was requested to give the square of 999,999; he said he could not do this, but he accomplished it by multiplying 37037 by itself, and that product twice by 27. Ans. 999,998,000,001. He then said he could mul. tiply that by 49, which he did. Ans. 48,999,902,000,019. He again undertook to multiply this number by 49. Ans. 2,400.995,198,002,401. And lastly, he multiplied this great sum by 25, giving as the final product, 60,024,879,950,000,025. Various efforts were made by the friends of the boy to elicit a disclosure of the methods by which he performed his calculations, but for nearly three years he was un. able to satisfy their inquiries. There was, through practice, an increase in his power of computation; when first beginning, he went no further in multiplying than three places of figures; it afterward became a common thing with him to multiply four places by four; in some instances five figures by five have been given.'
The question will naturally arise, by what means or process was this faculty of computation acquired? In the absence of any satisfactory explanation by others, it will be proper to let the subject of this notice give his own testimony on the subject. The following are his words, extracted from different parts of his memoirs. [It will be observed he speaks of himself in the second person.]
"The inquiry has often been made whether the gift was natural or supernatural; his answer is that it is partly both; understanding by this, not the putting forth of Divine energy in the entirely new creation of a faculty hitherto unknown to the mind, but the uncommon extension of a faculty already given, and common to all; extension in a manner beyond the operations of nature, as we see her exhibited, and therefore supernatural; but natural, in as much as every one is, to a certain extent, able to compute by mental process alone.
That such calculations should be made by the power of mind alone, even in a person of mature age, and who had disciplined himself by opportunity and study, would be surprising, because far exceeding the common attainments of mankind: that they should be made by a child six years old, unable to read, and ignorant of the name or properties of one figure traced on paper, without any previous effort to train him to such a task, will not diminish the surprise. The remembrance that this faculty was bestowed and exercised under such circumstances, while it
necessarily prompts the possessor to speak of it as wonderful indeed, at the same time precludes all room for boasting, if he were thus disposed; for it ever has been, and still is, as much a matter of astonishment to him as it can be to any other one; God was its author, its object and aim perhaps are still unknown.
In relation to the faculty of computation which he possessed, he would observe that in every particular, from its first development to the present day, it has been to him a matter of astonishment. He has felt, and still feels, that it was undoubtedly a gift from his Maker, and consequently designed to be productive of some valuable ends. What the specific object was, is unknown. This
may be a suitable place for introducing a few remarks concerning the mind of Zerah in regard to other things than mental calculation. As might be expected from the nature of his early gift, he ever had a taste for figures. To answer questions by the mere operation of mind, though perfectly easy, was not anything in which he ever took satisfaction; for, unless when questioned, his attention was not engrossed by it at all. The study of arithmetic was not particularly easy to him, but it afforded a very pleasing employment, and even now, were he in a situation to feel justified in such a course, he should be gratified to spend his time in pursuits of this nature. The faculty which he possessed, as it increased and strengthened by practice, so by giving up exhibition, began speedily to depreciate. This was not, as some have supposed,
on account of being engaged in study; it is more probable to him that the study of any branch that included the use and practice of figures would have served to keep up the facility and readiness of mind. The study of algebra, while he attended to it, was very pleasant, but when just entering upon the more abstruse rules of the first part, he was taken away from his books and carried to France.”
Col. Martin Scott was born in Bennington, about the year 1800, and was educated at West Point. "In his youth he was famous among the sharp-shooters of the Green Mountains, never shooting game in the body, but, at whatever hight or distance, always striking the head. He would drive a nail into a board part way with a hammer, and then, taking the farthest distance at which his eye could distinctly see it, drive it home with his unerring bullet. He had seen much hard service, and always conducted himself with great skill, caution, and intrepidity, and was respected and beloved for his integrity of character, and for his great kindness and benevolence of heart.” When at the battle of Molino del Rey, the men of his regiment were being mowed down by the Mexican batteries with terrible slaughter, and at a moment when they had no opportunity to make any return, most of them sought shelter behind a projecting bank; but Scott stood upright. Obserying his peril, and its uselessness in the circumstances in which he was placed, his men besought him to take cover. “No!” said he, in disdainful tones, “Martin Scott never skulks!" a moment more he fell dead, pierced by a ball gh the forehead, and thus perished, said a comrade in arms, “the best soldier of the fifth regiment."
MASSACHUSETTS, the oldest of the New England States, and the first in population and resources, was first permanently settled by
Europeans at Plymouth, on the 220 of December, 1620. The word Massachusetts signifies, it is said, in the Indian language, Blue Hills. In 1614, Capt. John Smith, so famous in the history of Virginia, sailed to this part of the country then called North Virginia. Touching first at the mouth of the Kennebec, he passed thence in an open boat to the southern boundary of Massachusetts Bay. On his return to England, Prince Charles was so much pleased with Smith's descrip
tion of the country, that he declared ARMS OF MASSACHUSETTS.
it should be called New England. MOTTO.-"By the sword he seeks peace under Liberty."
By the representations of Smith, attention was excited: the Plymouth Company began to form vast plans of colonization, and after several years of application obtained a new charter for settling the country. The original Plymouth Company was superseded by the Council of Plymouth, to which was conveyed in absolute property all the territory lying between the 40th and 48th degrees of north latitude, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This charter was the basis of all the grants afterward made of the country of New England.
In 1602, a number of religious people in the north of England, called Puritans (so named from their efforts to preserve purity in divine worship), were so persecuted on account of their religious sentiments, that they were compelled to take measures to find refuge in a foreign land. As early as 1608, they emigrated to Holland, and settled first at Amsterdam, and afterward at Leyden, where during eleven years they continued to live in great harmony under the charge of their pastor, John Robinson, a man of eminent piety and learning.
As early as 1617, Mr. Robinson's people meditated a removal to America. Their reasons for this were to preserve the morals of their youth, and to establish a church which they believed to be constituted
after the model of the primitive church of Christ; and also to gratify a desire to propagate the gospel in the regions of the new world.
In 1620, having obtained a grant from the London or Virginia Company, a company left Leyden, amid the tears of their brethren and friends. They embarked on board of the Mayflower at Plymouth for Hudson River. After a long voyage, the first land they discovered was Cape Cod. This was beyond the limits of the London Company, but it was now too late to put again to sea. They therefore determined to land at the first place suitable for a settlement.
On the 21st of November, they anchored in Cape Cod Harbor; but before landing having devoutly given thanks to the Almighty for their safe arrival, they formed themselves into a body politic by a solemn contract, to which they all subscribed. They ordained that a governor and assistants should be annually chosen, but that the sovereign power should remain in the whole body of freemen. Mr. John Carver was unanimously chosen their governor for the first year. Before the end of November, Peregrine White, the son of William and Susanna White, was born, being the first child of European parents born in New England.
Government having been established, the next object was to find a convenient place for settlement. Parties were sent out to make discoveries. Capt. Myles Standish, with a party of sixteen armed men, in their explorations found baskets of corn in different heaps of sand, some of which they took with them. This fortunate discovery furnished them with seed for planting, and probably saved the infant colony from famine. On the 6th of December, the shallop was sent out with several of the principal men, Carver, Bradford, Winslow, Standish, and others, with eight or ten seamen, to sail round the bay in search of a place for settlement. On the 21st of December (corresponding with the 11th of old style), the harbor of Plymouth was sounded, and being found fit for shipping, a party landed, who ascertained that the soil had been cultivated by the Indians; they therefore concluded to make it the place of their settlement. The 22d of December has since been considered as the day on which the “ Pilgrim Fathers” landed on the rock of Plymouth.
The whole company who landed consisted of 101 souls, and they were divided into 19 families. Each family built their own house or hut; they all, however, united in building a store-house 20 feet square for common
The buildings of the settlement progressed slowly, many difficulties occurred, many of the men became sick with colds and consumption, and want and exposure rapidly reduced their number. The sick often suffered for lack of care and attention, and at one time only seven, men were capable of rendering any assistance. Before April, 46 of their number had died.
“On the 16th of March, an Indian came into Plymouth alone, and surprised the inhabitants, by calling out in broken English, 'Welcome, Englishmen! 'Welcome, Englishmen! He was the first of the natives who visited them; his name was Samoset, and was a Sagamore who had come from Monhiggon (a place now in the limits of Maine) where he had learned something of the English tongue from the captains of the fishing vessels who resorted thither. He informed the Plymouth people that the place where they were seated was called by the Indians Patuxet;
that all the inhabitants died of an extraordinary plague about four years since; and that there was neither man, woman nor child remaining. No natives, therefore, were dispossessed of their land to make room for the English, excepting by the providence of God, before their arrival.
Samoset was treated with hospitality by the settlers, and was disposed to preserve an intercourse with them; and on his third visit brought Squanto, one of the natives who had been basely carried off by Capt. Hunt, in 1614, and afterward lived in England. These Indians informed the English that Massasoit, the greatest king of the neighboring tribes, was near, with a train of 60 men. The meeting between him and the English, was conducted with considerable formality and parade. They entered into a friendly treaty, wherein they agreed to avoid injuries on both sides, to punish offenders, to restore stolen goods, to assist each other in all justifiable wars, to promote peace among their neighbors, etc. Massasoit and his successors, for 50 years, inviolably observed this treaty. The prudent and upright conduct of the Plymouth settlers toward their neighbors, the Indians, secured their friendship and alliance. On the 13th of September, 1621, no less than nine sachems declared allegiance to King James, and Massasoit, with many sachems under him, subscribed a writing acknowledging the king of England as their sovereign.
The first marriage in the colony was solemnized on May 12, 1621, between Mr. Edward Winslow and Mrs. Susanna White. The first duel in New England was fought on the 18th of June, between two servants, both of whom were wounded. For this disgraceful offense, they were formally tried before the whole company, and sentenced to have “their heads and feet tied together, and so to be 24 hours without meat or drink.” Such, however, was the painfulness of their situation, and their piteous entreaties to be released, that, upon promise of better behavior in future, they were soon released by the governor. The colonists planted 20 acres with corn, of which they had a good crop. They were instructed in the manner of planting by Squanto; but were unsuccessful in their first trial with English grain, by reason, as is supposed, of the lateness of the season, and bad quality of the seed. Gov. Carver was taken sick on the 5th of April, while engaged in planting corn, and died in a few days. His death was greatly lamented, as he was a man of great piety, humility, and benevolence. He possessed a considerable estate, the greater part of which he expended for the good of the colony. Soon after his death, Mr. William Bradford was chosen governor, and by renewed elections continued in office for several years.
In 1627, an association of Puritans residing at Dorchester and its vicinity, in England, was formed for the purpose of establishing another colony in New England. In 1628, they obtained, from the Plymouth Company, a grant of the territory which now constitutes a part of the state of Massachusetts, and sent over under the direction of John Endicott, a small number of people to begin a plantation. These landed at Naum keag, now called Salem. The next year they obtained a charter from the crown by which the usual powers of a corporation were conferred upon the grantees, by the name of the “governor and company of Massachusetts Bay,” in New England. At a general court in London, in 1629, the officers prescribed by the charter were elected, and several ordinances were adopted for the government of the colony: 300 people were sent over, of whom 100 dissatisfied with the situation of Salem, removed to Charlestown.
It having been wisely resolved, by the company in England, that the government of the colony should be located in Massachusetts, it gave
such encouragement to emigration, that in 1630 more than 1,500 persons came over and founded Boston, and several towns in its vicinity. “Of these persons, all were respectable, and many from illustrious and noble families.” Having been accustomed to a life of ease and enjoyment, their sufferings, for the first year, were great, and proved fatal to many; among others, to the lady Arabella, who, to use the words of an early historian, *came from a paradise