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would not be thought to depreciate the talent of such individuals, who possess a primitive faculty more curious, because differing more from others, than that of the mathematician. If any one possessing such a gift should ever happen to combine with it more than usual mathematical power, (a perfectly distinct thing,) excellent results might be expected; but this, we believe, has not hitherto been the


Zerah Colburn was born Sept. 1, 1804, at Cabot, in the state of Vermont. He was the sixth child of a farmer, who discovered his talent when he was less than six years old, by hearing him repeat the multiplication table to himself as he was playing on the floor. Surprised at this he asked his son what 13 times 97 made, and instantly received the answer, 1261. "He now concluded that something unusual had actually taken place; indeed he has often said he should not have been more surprised if some one had risen up out of the earth and stood erect before him.”

This prodigy soon became known, and Mr. Colburn carried his son to Vermont, where he was seen by many persons. Here he was asked, among other things, how many black beans would make five white ones; to which he replied, "Five, if you skin them." His father now resolved to carry him through the principal cities of the Union. What he did at Boston is thus described:

"Questions in multiplication of two or three places of figures were answered with much greater rapidity than they could be solved on paper. Questions involving an application of this rule, as in Reduction, Rule of Three, and Practice, seemed to be perfectly adapted to his mind. The extraction of the roots of exact squares and cubes was done with very little effort; and what has been considered by the mathematicians of Europe an operation for which no rule existed, viz. finding the factors of numbers, was performed by him, and, in course of time, he was able to point out his method of obtaining them. Questions in Addition, Subtraction, and Division, were done with less facility, on account of the more complicated and continued effort of the memory. In regard to the higher branches of arithmetic, he would observe that he had no rules peculiar to himself; but if the common process was pointed out as laid down in the books, he could carry on this process very readily in his head."

At Boston, a proposal was made by several men of influence, to endeavour to raise 5000 dollars by donations and exhibition of the writer. Of this sum the father was to have had half, the remainder was to have been employed in the education of the child, which, with the money, was to have been placed in the hands of trustees. This apparently very reasonable offer was declined, and Mr. Colburn informs us that its rejection threw much blame upon the father, both in America and England. We are not inclined to join in reproaching an uneducated man, who probably imagined that his son's talents ought to prove a mine of gold, without any education at all: but this we must say, that our impression, derived from the whole of this work, has been, that the extreme caution, not to say ignorant jealousy, of Mr. Colburn, senior, seems to have stood in his son's way through life. It may be excused under the circumstances; for no one can suppose that an unlettered farmer could know how to conduct himself in the management of the affairs of a child whose talents had made a European and American reputation before the possessor could read; but the story may be a warning to all the parents of early distinguished children in lower life, not to try to make the fortune of their offspring, but to secure the great point-an education suited to their talents-in whatever way it may most easily be gained. We have known more than one instance in which early promise has been blighted by the suspicion with which uneducated parents have regarded the notice of their superiors in station: let them rest assured that even the introduction of a Newton to society would not be a very extra ordinary attraction to any one actuated by mere selfish motives. The indenture which was proposed to Mr. Colburn stipulates, that, after the 5000 dollars had been raised, the child should not be exhibited at all; and the terms of the stipulation indicate that the proposers were more afraid of the father than the father ought to have been of them.

The rejection of this offer excited the public of Boston against Mr. Colburn, senior, and he accordingly departed with his son for New York and Philadelphia, where they were well received. In an Albany steam-boat a gentleman "taught Zerah the names and powers of the nine units, of which he had previously been ignorant." What can this

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mean? Could he multiply any two figures by any two in
his head, without knowing the names of the units.
At Boston, on their return, Mr. Colburn, senior, endea-
voured to print the proposed agreement in the public papers,
but the editors refused, "alleging as a reason that it would
be an indelible disgrace to the gentlemen concerned." We
really must step out of our way to print the draft, as given
by Mr. Colburn, and we not only wish that every man of
property in England had a similar "indelible disgrace"
upon his character, but should be very glad if we could op-
press every shoot of genius in the three kingdoms in exactly
the same way :-

"This indenture, of two parts, made and concluded in
Boston, in the county of Suffolk, and commonwealth of
Massachusetts, on this day of
in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ten, between
Abia Colburn, of Cabot, in the county of Caledonia, and
State of Vermont, husbandman, on the first part, and James
Perkins, Daniel Sargent, Josiah Quincy, Isaac P. Davis,
William Sullivan, and William S. Shaw, all of Boston
aforesaid, esquires, on the second part, witnesseth: That
whereas the said Abia Colburn has a child named Zerah
Colburn, who has discovered uncommon powers in arithme-
tical calculations; and it has appeared probable to the said
contractors on the second part, that if the said child should
receive an honourable and liberal education, he would become
useful to himself and valuable to the public; and whereas
the said Abia professes himself to be unable to educate the
said child in a suitable manner; therefore it is agreed that
the said contractors on the second part shall be, and hereby
are appointed trustees to superintend the education of said
child on conditions hereinafter expressed; and that they
will use their influence and exertions to raise a sum of
money not exceeding five thousand dollars, by donations and
honourable exhibitions of the child, at such times and places
within the United States as the said trustees may direct; and
that after the said sum of five thousand dollars shall have been
raised, the said Abia shall at no time exhibit the said child,
or suffer him to be exhibited for the purpose of obtaining
money; but that he shall be placed at Hanover, in the
county of Grafton, and state of New Hampshire, under the
direction of said trustees;-and it is further agreed that the
said Abia Colburn shall attend the said child until he shall
have been placed under the direction of his instructor or
instructors, after the said sum shall have been raised; and
as an indemnity to the said Abia for the loss of his time,
and for his services, and to enable him to remove to Hanover
aforesaid, and dwell near said child, who is to be there placed
for the present, it is further agreed that the said Abia shall
receive, for his sole use and benefit, the sum of twenty-five
hundred dollars, or whatever sum shall be the one half of
the funds to be so raised by donations and exhibitions or
the child, first deducting from the whole amount received,
the expenses necessary for supporting the said Abia and his
child during the time required for raising the sum of five
thousand dollars clear. And it is further agreed that the
said child shall remain at said Hanover, until he shall be
fitted to enter a college; at which time a further arrange-
ment shall be made between said Abia and the said trus-
tees, as to the college to which said child shall be sent. And
it is further agreed that the residue of the sum obtained after
the deduction of all expenses as aforesaid, shall be invested
in the names and under the direction of the trustees afore-
said, and the survivors of them, with full power to associate
a person in the place of either of them, as they may succes-
sively decease; and that the interest of the said fund, and
so much of the principal as may be necessary, shall be ap-
plied to the education of said child, at the discretion of said
trustees; and the surplus, if any remain, shall be paid over
to said child when he shall have attained to the age of
twenty-one years and said trustees shall have the entire
direction of the education of said child; it being understood
that they may place him where they think fit within said
Hanover, for the purpose of educating him until prepared
for admission at some college; provided that the father
shall always have such intercourse with the child as may
be consistent with his education. And it is further agreed
and provided, that if the said trustees should find it imprac-
ticable, after reasonable exertion, to raise the said sum of
five thousand dollars, they may in their discretion stop all
further exhibition of the boy; and, after deducting neces-
sary expenses from the fund obtained, they may divide the
residue equally between the said Abia and themselves, and


proceed immediately to educate said child so far as the sum obtained shall be sufficient, and until the same shall be exhausted. And it is further provided, that in case said hild should decease before he attains to the age of twentyone years, said fund shall then be paid to said Abia; and f not, then to the lawful heirs of said child, to his or their sole use and benefit for ever. And it is further provided, hat if said child should attain to the age of twenty-one years, and yet, in the opinion of said trustees, should prove unworthy of this bounty, then they shall have full power to give said fund to those of said child's brothers and sisters who may be living at that time, in equal shares.

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"In witness whereof, the parties above-named have set their hands and seals interchangeably this day of in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ten." Unless the Boston editors imagined that all signing and sealing was unworthy of free citizens, or unless, which is rather more likely, Mr. Colburn's wrath overcoloured some civil reason they gave for declining to assist him in exposing himself, we cannot see the sense, or even the sanity, of their


A voyage to England was now determined upon, and the father and son landed at Liverpool in May 1812. They immediately proceeded to London, and the exhibition of the writer commenced at Spring Gardens, where they remained two years, with the exception of six months spent in Scotland and Ireland. What is singular, the writer, in 1833, likes better to tell his republican countrymen how many of lords, bishops, baronets, royal dukes, and princesses, came to see him, than of men of science or literature. The only two of this latter species which he mentions--tell it not in Boston-are both titled, though it be but by accolade. To William Wilberforce he pays the following elegant compli


"Indeed it is a privilege to see a good man, but when goodness is adorned with intellectual superiority, and the beholder feels that he gazes upon one whose well-directed efforts have successfully availed to benefit a suffering race, and enhance the pure glory of his country, it becomes more exalted pleasure to gaze."

On the arithmetical questions which he solved at that time, we give the following extract :


Among other questions, the Duke asked the number of seconds in the time elapsed since the commencement of the Christian Era, 1813 years, 7 months, 27 days. The answer was correctly given: 57,234,384,000. '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.: 5×34279, 7×24485, 59×2905, 83×2065, 35 × 4897, 295 × 581, 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.' [Extracted from a Prospectus printed in London, 1813.]

66 6

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 641 × 6,700,417 The same


number was proposed to this child, who found out the fac tors by the mere operation of his mind. Ibid. 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 multiply that by 49, which he did. Ans. 48,999,902,000,049. 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, 60,024,879,950,060,025. 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 unable 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 afterwards became a common thing with him to multiply four places by four; in some instances five figures by five have been given."

The ideas which individuals, both English and American, formed of his powers, were curious enough. In the latter country one lady asked him who had stolen her spoons, twenty years before, and another thought he would be able to interpret the Revelations. In the former, a visitant was much displeased at his not answering the question-what book he had in his handkerchief. In the meantime his education was neglected. He had but learned to read and write since he left his native farm; he says he found languages easy and pleasant, arithmetic entertaining, geometry plain but dull; a sufficient proof that the reasoning faculty was not more active than is usual.

A work was now projected to contain an account of him; and a barrister now alive, with other well-known individuals, was active in forwarding the subscription. To promote this latter object they went by way of Ireland to Scotland.

On his return to London, the subscription plan being still in progress, Mr. Colburn carried his son to Paris. The writer here mentions incidentally, and without any bearing on the subject, which must be our apology for doing the same, that he, his father, and two of his brothers, had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot. The supernumerary fingers were removed by Dr. (we presume Sir Anthony) Carlisle. We do not however find that he had framed a duodecimal notation for himself, in his own selftaught arithmetic, as, according to a common notion, he might have been expected to have done.

In Paris he produced little effect except among the savans. He was however admitted into the College of Henri Quatre, in which he remained till February 1816, when his father, who had suffered several losses, removed him. His remarks on French manners are frequently striking; but are we to take it as the opinion of his country, that, in the disposal of Napoleon, "the Prince Regent was influenced more by fear of the man whose wars had drained so much English blood, than by a regard to his own glory in the estimation of the world." Whether the French should have their own choice or not, was one question; whether, it having been determined that Napoleon should not reign, it would have been magnanimous to allow him a chance of creating further war in Europe, is another, and a very distinct question. We hope the quiet rationalism of American feeling on matters of foreign conquest would look with contempt on a prince playing at magnanimity for a stake of glory, at no risk to himself, merely to treat the wives and children of his subjects to a Waterloo, for the increase of domestic comfort, or his people to an additional hundred millions of debt, for their better maintenance. All that we complain of is that the destiny of Napoleon is the exception, and not the rule. Mr. Colburn is mistaken in supposing that the personal will of the Prince Regent could much affect the settlement of the question; but he pays him a very high compliment when he attributes to him more fear of a man who had drained English blood than regard to his own glory.

After their return to England the father and son went to Birmingham. On their return to London, being still in embarrassments, Mr. Colburn senior obtained a supply by causing his son to explain his methods of calculation to such gentlemen as would obtain ten subscribers for the projected work. This arrangement brought them in contact with the Earl of --, who shortly after generously offered to pay for Zerah Colburn's education at Westminster School. Here he went, accordingly, in September 1816. On the school he makes the following observations

"The discipline of the school was in aspect decided and strict, though not so in reality. The birch rod was the ne plus ultra of punishment in ordinary cases, beyond which expulsion (seldom resorted to) was enforced.

"From the above-named circumstances, it need not be a matter of surprise, that eight years should be required to obtain a knowledge of Latin and Greek; while the same term spent in the French Seminary, at less than one third of the annual expense, would send the student forth with a general and excellent education."

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"Mr. appealed to the antiquity of the custom, that for more than a hundred years it had prevailed there and in the other public seminaries of the kingdom; a custom which many fathers had attempted to evade in favour of their children without success. Mr. Colburn, he said, had better remove his son, if the practices and usages of the school were disagreeable to him. To this a prompt reply was given : if you have power to expel my son for not fagging, you may; I shall not take him away, neither shall he be a fag.'


It appeared from Mr. --'s conversation and deportment that he deemed it most for the interest of the school to persevere in a course that would not disaffect, in the persons of their sons, the rich and titled patrons of the establishment, by taking away their waiters. As Mr. Colburn obtained nothing satisfactory from him, he left his son with a promise to return on Tuesday morning and see how matters proceeded, charging him at the same time to do nothing for any of his seniors in the interim. The next day it was rumoured round that some trouble was gathering; the scholars made up their minds to repel the attempted innovation on their privileges. By some means Zerah managed to evade his masters during the day, but in the evening, under the same roof where Mr. was engaged in his study, a number of the largest boys got him into their midst, and ordered him to work; the job required was to clean a pair of shoes, (if he remembers aright;) he refused, stating as one reason the command of his father; they threatened; still he remained obstinate: finally, they proceeded from words to blows, and laid on without mercy, until he complied with their requirement.

We extract an account of successful resistance to the abominable practice of fagging. It ought to make the advocates of this remnant of Moloch blush to read the following account, and to remember that it is circulated in a foreign country. When a man defends, against one of his own countrymen, what the latter considers as an atrocity in their common social system, he is well aware that the assailant, however much he may disapprove, must in some degree have had his abhorrence softened by continual contact with the thing attacked. With a foreigner the case is different; and the calm face of reasoning opposition is preceded by the stare of surprise and the smile of contempt. We are well aware that the viler features of the practice in question have been softened by the fear of public opinion; and we willingly add, that, under the present head master of Westminster School, we are sure that the custom does as little harm as such a custom can do. But there is that in it which must always be working to the demoralization both of the master and his fag; and we do not wonder that Zerah Colburn should have been reminded of slavery while writing the following passage, and should have taken occasion to address his countrymen on their system of fagging. "The custom of fagging has already been alluded to. After Zerah had spent the first three weeks in becoming domesticated to the establishment, he was informed that he must commence his menial occupations, and a boy in the upper school pitched upon him to be his waiter. In addition to what has been said relative to washing dishes, clean---s view of the subject was similar to that of the usher: he ing boots and shoes, &c., it may be proper to state more fully that the boarding houses provided breakfast, dinner, and a late supper at eight in the evening. The gentlemen of the upper school generally provided themselves with a supply of dishes for setting their tea table at five o'clock, and it was to furnish this meal that a part of the fag's labour was required. "It so happened one Friday night, the first or second week that he commenced his services, that having been dismissed by his regular master, another called on him to do some work. He did it in such a manner that his master, the son of a baronet, Sir, was very much displeased, and as a righteous castigation, took his left hand, twisted round the arm as far as he could, and then with clenched fist proceeded to beat his shoulder black and blue. He was a full grown lad, eighteen years old, and in addition to his size, it was a decree among the students that any member of the under school lifting his hand against one of the upper school, should receive wrath without mixture,' the award of their combined and summary vengeance. This was too much like the treatment of the poor and degraded African, whose wrongs are day and night crying unto God for deliverance, and who, should he dare to lift his hand to guard his person from the lawless arm of the white man's tyranny, must die. And this is justice! this is liberty! If there be in all the magazines of Divine wrath a bolt more heavy, a storm of impending retribution more terrible than the rest, may we not expect it will yet fall in all its fury to punish us as a nation for this abomination of our brethren.

"The next day Zerah went home to his father, related what had happened, and showed his wounds and bruises. His father was very much surprised and displeased, and being a man of very independent feelings soon made up his mind that matters should not go on in this manner. Accordingly when his son went back on Sunday evening, he accompanied him, and called upon Mr., the usher who was stationed in charge of the boarding-house where he boarded. On learning the circumstances of the case, Mr. manifested a good deal of regret at the abuse that Zerah had received; when Mr. Colburn made known his dissatisfaction at the custom of fagging, from which all this had proceeded, and his resolution to have his son a fag no longer, Mr. expressed his opinion that he could not be liberated from this service. Mr. Colburn told him very frankly that he did not place his son there to be a servant, but to study.

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"The next morning by sunrise, his father arrived and made inquiries as to his situation: Zerah told him what had happened, and his father called on Mr., but was treated with perfect contempt. He then started to go over to see Dr. -, the head master; on his way the boys from the windows hooted and yelled at the "Yankee." Dr. stated his inability to abrogate the custom, but if Mr. Colburn desired it, he was ready to expel for the abuse of his son. Mr. Colburn said he did not wish to have the young man expelled, but that he should be taught to behave himself more like a scholar. Said he, when I placed my son under your care, I did it in confidence that as a father you would watch over, govern, and protect him; he also told the Doctor that if the officers of the school did not do their duty, he should take the protection of his son into his own hands and defend him by the law of Nature. Finding him resolute in his purpose, Doctor and Mr. a consultation, the event of which was, that in the forenoon, as Mr. Colburn was walking towards the boarding-house, Mr. sent out his servant with a note; remembering his supercilious conduct, Mr. Colburn threw it away unopened. Mr. then came out himself, made such concessions as were accepted, and finally assured him that his son should not be compelled to fag any more. Satisfied with this arrangement, Mr. Colburn gladly left his son and returned home."


During his stay at school, Zerah Colburn spent the vacations with the chaplain of his benefactor, and after two years, his lordship informed Mr. Colburn that it was his intention to place the boy entirely under the care of that reverend gentleman. To this (though the Earl of offered him 50%. a year for his own subsistence) Mr. Colburn would not accede and thus the completion of the son's education was again frustrated by the ignorance or obstinacy of his father.

Zerah Colburn was now fifteen years old, and only half educated: but he had some liking for the stage, and it was accordingly settled that he should try that line of life. He first appeared at Margate in the character of Norval, with tolerable success, but no remuneration: he then travelled through Ireland and Scotland on the same terms. Finally, in 1821, he engaged himself as assistant to a school at Highgate, and after three months, set up a school for himself. This did not much amend his affairs; and his father's health began to sink under poverty and privations. He now obtained, in 1824, employment from Dr. Young, as a calculator for the Nautical Almanac. In February 1824, his father died, and he himself, wishing to return to his own country, obtained a subscription for that purpose. His former benefactor, the Earl of --, --, again befriended him: furnished him with 25. over and above a subscription of


107., and allowed him to draw for the same sum on his arrival in America. He also wrote him two letters after his departure, and again assisted him. These letters, most honourable to their writer, Mr. Colburn has had the bad taste to publish.

His further career, until he commenced his present calling, contains nothing to interest the English reader. We pass on to the supplement, in which he gives some details of his methods of calculation.

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exceeds it: so will 13 x 59. It will be found that 467 is a
prime number; therefore 3× 467 are the only two factors of
"Take another number,-17,563; 03×21, with the con-
tinual prefix of hundreds and thousands will bring you to
5821 x3=17,463; the addition of another hundred will in-
crease it too much. 07 × 09-63: by the addition of hun-
dreds, &c., you increase 09 to 2509, which multiplied by 7
gives the proposed sum. Is 2509 a prime number? consult
the table for 09; after the previous examinations you come
to 13, which multiplied by 93, gives 1209; increase it 13 x
193=2509; therefore 13x7=91, which multiplied by 163,
will give another pair of factors. Is 193 a prime num-
ber? it will be found such; therefore 7×2509, and 91 x
193, are the only factors. It may be borne in mind, as an
universal rule, that when a simple number will not prove
itself a factor, any other number compounded of that simple
one will not; for instance, 21 is formed by 3×7; if 3 or 7
does not divide the number sought, neither will 21. And
also in high numbers, after the right hand figures have been
increased by the addition of hundreds and thousands, the
left hand figures may be increased in the same manner.
is necessarily a slow process, though a sure one. Again, it
is not necessary to continue the operation by trying num-
bers that are above the nearest square root to the sum pro-

Upon looking at these methods, considered as explanations, we cannot help feeling the force of the remark made by Zerah Colburn himself to a Boston lady, who urged him God put it into my head, to tell her how he reckoned. and I cannot put it into yours." The processes described are such as any one could imitate, if he had only a most enormous memory, and facility of combining numbers. We can only account for the phenomenon by supposing the numerical faculties so much larger than usual, that he could feel his way to a proportionate extent; so that he would get and retain the same instantaneous conviction that 13 times 13 makes 169, which others have that 3 times 3 makes 9. The principal feats which he performed were rapid multiplication, extraction of the square and cube roots, With regard to the and finding the factors of numbers. first, his process was precisely the common one, beginning from the left hand instead of the right. The details of mul-posed." tiplication of four figures by three take a page, and embrace a much larger number of figures than would be wanted in the common method. There is nothing in it which would lead us to suppose that it could be done by any one in a shorter time than usual.

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In the extraction of the square and cube roots, he also draws largely upon his particular faculty. It is necessary in the first place that the number should be a perfect square or cube. Suppose 541696 is the square proposed. He knew immediately (and this must have been by memory) that no square ends with 96, except its root end either with 14, 64, 36, or 86. He knew also, that a square of six figures beginning with 54, has a root beginning with 7, as every boy knows who works the rule for extracting the square root. But how does he choose between 714, 764, 736, and 786. Such discernment," he says, "the writer cannot impart." Probably, he rapidly passed over the first part of the multiplication of each of the preceding numbers by itself until he found which would begin with 511. In this power of discernment lay the greater part of the distinction between him and others; any boy with a good memory might in a week put himself on the same level as to all but the selection. The same principles and remarks apply to the extraction of the cube root, which is, however, much easier. In the rule for the discovery of the factors it is presupposed that he knows immediately every combination of two numbers multiplied by two numbers, the last two places of which product are two given numbers. For instance, before he can undertake to ascertain the factors of 1401, if any, he must be cognizant of the fact that any of the succeeding couples multiplied together have 01 for the last two figures of the product.

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and a table of similar length must be at the fingers' ends for every two figures, the last of which is either 1, 3, 7, or 9.This being supposed, we give the following extract.

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Supposing the factors of 1401 are required; refer to the table headed 01; 01 is of course a common factor to all numbers: take 03; as 67 multiplied by 3 gives 01, increase it by prefixing hundreds, and multiplying, thus: 3×167= 501; 3x267-801; 3x367=1101; 3× 467=1401. Now if 467 be a prime number, these two are all the factors that will produce 1401. Consult the table for 67-will 3×89 make 467? No. Will 3 x 189? No. 7 x 81 exceeds it; 9 will not divide a number which is not divisible by 3. 11x97

Mr. Colburn does not say whether he yet retains any portion of this surprising faculty; but we have very good authority for stating that before he left England, it was in a great measure gone. This we can easily believe when we consider that he had to contend with privations for several years, during which his mind was occupied with other things.

In taking our leave of this book, we cannot help expressing our regret that its author was not in more judicious hands at the time when his faculty was in a fit state for development.


The Life and Poems of Crabbe, in 8 vols., small 8vo., published monthly, 5s. per volume. Murray.

THIS thoroughly English and truly great poet, for the larger portion of his long and useful life, had lived so much in retirement, and had so carefully abstained from drawing any attention to his homely but interesting history, that very few of the incidents that had marked his career were known to the public. It was understood, indeed, in some circles, that Crabbe was a man of humble birth, who, after a hard struggle, and solely by the force of his genius and moral worth, had raised himself to the highest consideration as a poet, and to a situation in the church, which, though far indeed from being among the highest, was such as allowed competence and comfort. In the beginning of the year 1832, the poet, who was a connecting link between two very interesting eras in the literature of this country, died full of years and honours; and now his eldest son, who, to judge from the volume before us, is a person of good sense and taste, produces an honest, unadorned history of his father's life, the early vicissitudes of which are deeply interesting, and full of instruction and example for all young men who may be placed in similar difficulties.

The author of this memoir frankly says he has in vain endeavoured to trace Crabbe's descent beyond his grandfather. The name was properly Crab; nor was the poet at all satisfied with those who had attempted to disguise the familiar monosyllable by adding the be. The grandfather, who must represent the root of the poet's genealogical tree, was a humble burgess of Aldborough, who, in his latter days, became collector of the customs for that poor remote port. The collector's son began life in a situation not more elevated, and probably less lucrative; he taught the parish school of Orford, which, it appears, was at that time held in the porch of the church. He afterwards moved to a little place near Loddon, in Norfolk, where he was parish-clerk as well as parish schoolmaster. Quitting this place he returned to his native borough of Aldborough, where, after filling the offices of warehouse-keeper and deputy-collector, he finally rose to be collector of the salt-duties, or, as it was called, "salt-master."

George, the poet, was the salt-master's eldest son, and was

born at Aldborough on the Christmas eve of 1754, in a gloomy miserable little tenement on the sea-shore, such as we find, in our days, occupied only by poor fishermen. From the vignette of the "birth place of Crabbe," given in the present volume, we should judge that it was little, if at all superior to the humble cottage in which, at another extremity of the kingdom, another great poet, Burns, first opened his eyes to the light. There are many other, and more important parallels, to be drawn between George Crabbe and Robert Burns, although, in the great result of life, these gifted men differed widely. Crabbe, owing not less, be it said, to a better education, to more fortunate circumstances attending his first introduction to the world, to a loftier and more generous spirit, and better tastes and habits of life in those who first patronized him, than to his own fortitude, perseverance, self-command, and prudence, secured a fair portion of this world's blessings, and died peaceful and happy at a good old age, whilst a premature grave closed over the disappointments, the misconduct, and the sorrows of Burns. It will be a process abounding with moral instruction, particularly to the young reader, if he will follow up the comparison between these two poets, and mark the means by which the one succeeded, and the other failed in his worldly


On the beach of the stormy German ocean, at the wretched village of Aldborough-the desolate scenery, and wild, half amphibious inmates of which made an impression that was never erased, and served as the peculiar mould in which most of his poetry was cast-George Crabbe grew up in the midst of poverty and hardships, sharing the very limited means of his father the salt-master with a considerable number of brothers and sisters. He was taught to read by the usual "old dame," with whom he became a great favourite, as he was gentle and docile, and showed an extraordinary love for books at a very early age. He devoured whatever came into his hands; but the literature in those days most accessible to young people was mainly composed of stories and ballads about ghosts, witches, fairies, robbers, and pirates, or, as he beautifully described them many a long year after:


- doleful ballads, songs
Of lovers' sufferings, and of ladies' wrongs;
Of peevish ghosts who came at dark midnight,
For breach of promise guilty men to fright;
Love, marriage, murder, were the themes with these,
All that on idle, ardent spirits seize;
Robbers at land, and pirates on the main,
Enchanters foil'd, spells broken, giants slain;
Legends of love, with tales of halls and bowers,
Choice of rare songs, and garlands of choice flowers,
And all the hungry mind without a choice devours.*"

But Crabbe's father, who was a man of some acquire

ments, and versed in the mathematics withal, was accustomed to read aloud passages from Milton, Young, and other of our serious poets; and this, no doubt, tended to the elevation of his son's taste. The salt-master was

fond of nautical occupations, and particularly of fishing, which was probably an important resource as regarded the provision for his increasing family; but he soon saw that he could make nothing in this way of George, who throughout life was rather remarkably deficient in manual dexterity. Seeing, however, at the same time that he was of a bookish turn, he sent him to a boys' school at Bungay, on the borders of Norfolk, with the hope that he might acquire learning enough to become a parish schoolmaster, or a custom-house officer. At this school poor George, who became in after life the welcome inmate of the mansions of the great, was very near being smothered in a "large dog-kennel," in which, it appears, it was the practice of that establishment to confine naughty boys, without (as happened on this occasion, at least) paying proper attention to space and pure air. When he was about twelve years old, he was removed to a better school at Stowmarket, which was kept by a skilful mathematician. According to his son and biographer, here the poet, "inheriting his father's talent and predilection for mathematical science, made considerable progress in such pursuits. The salt-master used often to send difficult questions to Mr. Haddon (the schoolmaster), and, to his great delight, the solution came not unfrequently from his son; and, although Haddon was neither a Porson nor *The Patron,' one of the most touching and admirable of his tales. It was not published until 1812.

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a Parr, his young pupil laid, under his care, the foundations of a fair classical education also. Some girls used to come to the school in the evenings to learn writing; and the tradition is, that Mr. Crabbe's first essay in verse was a stanza of doggrel, cautioning one of these little damsels against being too much elevated about a new set of blue ribands to her straw bonnet."-Life, p. 17.

Before George was removed from the care of Mr. Haddon, his father changed his mind as to the calling he should follow, and determined he should be brought up to be a surgeon. Whether we consider Crabbe's physical deficiencies,-his utter want of those indispensable requisites in a surgeon firm nerve and steady, dexterous hand,-or the inability of his father to allow him the pecuniary means of pursuing the proper courses of chirurgical instruction, this was a most unfortunate choice of a profession. To this choice, indeed, was mainly owing a series of privations and sufferings not often endured and triumphed over.

Some time elapsed after his leaving school before a country practitioner's advertisement, headed "Apprentice wanted," met the salt-master's eye. During this interval, Crabbe laboured in his father's warehouse, piling up butter and cheese, and performing other common drudgeries. Nor was his situation much bettered, when in 1768, in the fourteenth year of his age, he was received into the house of the advertising surgeon at an obscure village near Bury St. Edmunds. On his first arrival, his master's daughters exclaiming, "La! here's our new 'prentice," hailed him with a violent fit of laughter. Crabbe never forgot these and similar mortifications.

This worthy practitioner had two strings to his bow, being as much a farmer as a surgeon; and Crabbe was often employed in the common labours of the farm, and made the bed-fellow and companion of the plough-boy. Another of his occupations was to carry on foot the medicines his master concocted. After nearly three years of this kind of life he was removed to Woodbridge, a market-town seventeen miles from Aldborough, where he concluded his apprenticeship with one Mr. Page. He here met, for the first time in his life, with some well-informed young men, who formed a rural club at which they discussed the subjects they were severally studying. One of these friends casually introduced Crabbe to Miss Sarah Elmy, who was then living in the neighbourhood with an uncle, a yeoman of some substance. This introduction not only decided his matrimonial lot, but had the most beneficial effect on the poet in his days of adversity and struggle. Indeed, the ardent attachment he conceived for this amiable and well-educated young woman long furnished the only hope that cheered him on his gloomy way. He was at this time eighteen years old, and already a poet of some Magazine celebrity, having figured in print among the Damons and Delias of the day. He became a candidate for a prize on the subject of Hope, which was offered by the publishers of a Lady's Magazine, and as he said himself in after life, "he had the misfortune to gain it." This important event decided his turn for poetry, and of course he planned epics and tragedies," and began to think of succeeding in the highest line of composition." Woodbridge he filled a drawer with verses, and found means to get published at Ipswich a poem of some length and merit, entitled "Inebriety." In this piece he showed a fondness, which he never relinquished, for the style of Pope, and not a little vehemence of satire. Here also he felt the first growth of his lasting passion for the study of botany; and, under the precept and example of his Sarah, he improved his handwriting, which had hitherto been very bad. To comply with her taste he tried music; but he had a poor ear, and he threw aside his flute in despair, before he had mastered Grammachree,' and Over the water to


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When his apprenticeship was completed he returned to his native place, hoping that his father might afford to give him the means of "walking the hospitals" and finishing his professional education in London. But this was out of the homely labours of the warehouse on the Quay. A more salt-master's power, and Crabbe was obliged to return to the fortunate companion, who had established himself as a smart young surgeon, once found him in the dress of a common warehouseman, piling up butter-casks, and had the brutality to insult him in consequence of the meanness of his occupation. Even in his old age the poet used to relate this incident with the deepest feeling. According to his own confession, he went sullenly to his work, and had frequent

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