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vided attention: wealth was an inferior object; but what glory would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death! Nor were these my only visions. The raising of ghosts or devils was a promise liberally accorded by my favourite authors, the fulfilment of which I most eagerly sought; and if my incantations were always unsuccessful, I attributed the failure rather to my own inexperience and mistake, than to a want of skill or fidelity in my instructors. The natural phaenomena that take place every day before our eyes did not escape my examinations. Distillation, and the wonderful effects of steam, processes of which my favourite authors were utterly ignorant, excited my astonishment; but my utmost wonder was engaged by some experiments on an airpump, which I saw employed by a gentleman whom we were in the habit of visiting. The ignorance of the early philosophers on these and several other points served to decrease their credit with me: but I could not entirely throw them aside, before some other system should occupy their place in my mind. ^ When I was about fifteen years old, we had retired to our house near Belrive, when we witnessed a most violent

and terrible thunder-storm. It advanced

from behind the mountains of Jura; and

the thunder burst at once with frightful

loudness from various quarters of the heavens. I remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress with cu

riosity and delight. As I stood at the

door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak, which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump. When we visited it the next morning, we found the tree shattered in a singular manner. It was not splintered by the shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribbands of wood. I never beheld any thing so utterly destroyed. The catastrophe of this tree excited my extreme astonishment; and I eagerly inquired of my father the nature and origin of thunder and lightning. He replied, “Electricity;” describing. at the same time the various effects of that power. He constructed a small electrical machine, and exhibited a few experiments; he made also a kite, with a wire and string, which drew down. that fluid from the clouds. This last stroke completed the over- Pliny and Buffon with delight, authors, in my estimation, of nearly equal interest and utility. My occupations at this age were principally the mathematics, and most of the branches of study appertaining to that science... I was busily employed in learning languages; Latin was already familiar to me, and I began to read some of the easiest Greek authors without the help of a lexicon. I also perfectly understood English and German. This is the list of my accomplishments at the age of seventeen ; and you may conceive that my hours. were fully employed in acquiring and maintaining a knowledge of this various literature. Another task also devolved upon me, when I became the instructor of my brothers. Ernest was six years youngerthan myself, and was my principal pu

throw of Cornelius Agrippa, Albertus
Magnus, and Paracelsus, who had so
long reigned the lords of my imagina-
tion. But by some fatality I did not
feel inclined to commence the study of
any modern system ; and this disincli-
nation was influenced by the following
circumstance. -
My father expressed a wish that I
should attend a course of lectures upon
natural philosophy, to which I cheer-
fully consented. Some accident pre-
vented my attending these lectures
until the course was nearly finished.
The lecture, being therefore one of the
last, was entirely incomprehensible to
me. The professor discoursed with

the greatest fluency of potassium and

boron, of sulphates and oxyds, terms

to which I could affix no idea; and I

became disgusted with the science of

natural philosophy, although I still read *...

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