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hand at liberty. He is thrown out, very probably thrown down and trampled into the earth.

Very different was the case of the remarkable individual whose history we have now to relate. Endowed in ample measure with many faculties, that which he possessed in the rarest degree of all was the faculty of rising in the world.

Sir William Petty has himself given us an outline of his life on a singular occasion-in the commencement of his will. He there mentions that he was born at Rumsey, or Romsey, in Hampshire, and he afterwards speaks of his father, mother, and grandfather having been all buried in the church there. From other sources we learn that the day he came into the world was Monday the 26th of May, 1623, and that he was the eldest son of Anthony Petty, who, Aubrey the antiquary tells us, "was by profession a clothier, and also did dye his own clothes." In his will, dated 2nd May, 1685, Petty speaks of the memory of all his brothers and sisters, implying that he had had several and that they were by that time all dead. While still a boy his friend Aubrey, who had much of his information from Petty himself, says that he took great delight in watching the operations of smiths, carpenters, joiners, and other artificers, so that by the time he was twelve years old he had stored up no little mechanical knowledge, and had even acquired considerable practical skill and dexterity in various trades and handicrafts. His education was begun at the free-school of his native place; and he states in his will that at the age of fifteen he "had obtained the Latin, Greek, and French tongues, the whole body of common arithmetic, the practical geometry and astronomy conducing to navigation, dialling, &c., with the knowledge of several mathematical trades." In the common printed copies of his, will-for instance in that prefixed to his Tracts, 8vo., Dublin, 1769, and in that given in all the editions of Collins's Peerage, not excepting the latest by Sir Egerton Brydges, he is made to intimate that he then went to the university of Oxon (or Oxford). The true word is not Oxon but Caen. The account given by his friend

Aubrey, in his Lives, is as follows:-"He has told me there happened to him the most remarkable accident of life (which he did not tell me), and which was the foundation of all the rest of his greatness and acquiring riches. He informed me that about fifteen, in March, he went over to Caen, in Normandy, in a vessel that went hence, with a little stock, and began to play the merchant, and had so good success, that he maintained himself, and also educated himself: this I guess was that most remarkable accident that he meant. Here he learned the French tongue, and perfected himself in Latin, and had Greek enough to serve his turn. At Caen he studied the arts. At eighteen he was, I have heard him say, a better mathematician than he is now; but, when occasion is, he knows how to recur to more mathematical knowledge." This was written in 1680. What Anthony Wood tells us, in the Athena Oxoniensis, is to the same effect, and is indeed in all probability abridged from the above statement of Aubrey's. Petty himself goes on to say that his knowledge of mathematics and of practical mechanics, and his having been at the University of Caen, prepared him for the king's navy. Aubrey relates that he was first bound apprentice to a sea-captain, by whom he was once drubbed with a cord for failing to discover a landmark-a steeple upon the coast-which he was sent aloft to look for-a circumstance which for the first time showed him that he was purblind, or shortsighted. While he was still in the navy, Petty tells us himself, he had at the age of twenty years gotten up (or saved) about threescore pounds, with as much mathematics as any of his age was known to have had. He speaks of his mathematics, we see, as if it was so much additional money capital. And indeed, although he may have loved, and probably did love, knowledge for its own sake, he never forgot its value as a means or instrument. And both the arithmetical or calculating character and the acquisitive turn of his mind inclined him to the habit of estimating its value in that respect in figures and by the standard of the pocket. Instead of saying with Lord Bacon that knowledge was power, he would have said,

if he had spoken out, that knowledge was pounds, shillings, and pence-which indeed constitute perhaps in this world the most universally felt and the best understood species of power. He was all for the practical in all things, and generally for the pecuniary as the most comprehensive form of the practical.

His merit, however, in his proper line was as great as that of any man who has ever been the architect of his own fortunes. There is no trace of his having ever received any assistance from his father, who was probably in poor circumstances, and who at his death in 1644 left him, Aubrey assures us, little or nothing. Nor does any other relation appear to have helped him after he got through his boyhood. "With this provision," he proceeds in his own narrative, that is to say, with his sixty pounds sterling and his mathematics—“ anno 1643, when the civil wars between the king and parliament grew hot, I went into the Netherlands and France for three years, and, having vigorously followed my studies, especially that of medicine, at Utrecht, Leyden, and Amsterdam, and Paris, I returned to Romsey, where I was born, bringing back with me my brother Anthony, whom I had bred, with about ten pounds more than I had carried out of England." At Paris, Aubrey and Wood tell us he made the acquaintance of his distinguished countryman Hobbes, who had also fled from the civil storm at home, having, with his more experienced prescience, and perhaps greater timidity or caution of temper, been a little before Petty in effecting his retreat

for he did not wait till the war grew hot, but made off with himself soon after the Long Parliament commenced its sittings in November, 1642. Petty and Hobbes, whose quick intellectual sympathy immediately discerned the remarkable capacity of his young friend, and who loved his company, read together the Anatomy of Vesalius; and Petty also drew the schemes or diagrams required by Hobbes for a tract he was writing on Optics. How he maintained himself (and, as it would appear, his brother also) at this time is not known. Ward's conjecture, in his Lives of the Professors of

Gresham College, which has been copied in the Biographia Britannica and other later accounts, that he employed himself in some sort of traffic, rests on no sufficient evidence or authority. He told Aubrey that during this residence in Paris he was at one time driven to so great a strait for money, that he lived a week on two pennyworth of walnuts-" or three," says the conscientious antiquary, "I have forgotten which, but I should think the former." "Query," adds Aubrey, "whether he was not some time a prisoner there?"

By his own account, as quoted above, he would appear to have returned to England about the end of the year 1645. The next notice we have of him, and the first fact in what may be called his public history, is, that on the 6th of March, 1647, a patent was granted him by the parliament for seventeen years to teach what is called his art of double writing. The instrument by which this was performed was of the nature of what would now be called a copying machine, and its uses are expounded in the following terms in a tract which Petty published the next year, 1648, entitled Advice to Mr. Samuel Hartlib for the Advancement of some particular parts of Learning:-"There is invented 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 for setting the instrument) as by the ordinary way; of what nature or in what character or what matter soever, as paper, parchment, a book, &c. the said writing, &c. ought to be made upon. The use hereof will be very great to lawyers and scriveners, for making of indentures and all kind of counterparts; to merchants, intelligencers, registers, secretaries, clerks, &c.; for copying of letters, accounts, invoices, entering of warrants, and other records; to scholars, for transcribing of rare manuscripts, and preserving originals from falsification and other injuries of time. It lessens the labour of examination, serveth to discover forgeries and surreptitious copies, and to the transacting of all businesses of writing,


as with ease and speed, so with privacy also." contrivance appears to have been a mechanical combination by which two connected pens were moved at the same time and by the same action of the hand. But it proved a failure; for in practice the greater weight and cumbersomeness of the double pen were found to be more than a compensation for its multiplying powers.

It probably, however, had the effect of bringing the inventor into notice; and he would be made further known in other quarters, we may suppose, by his tract on the Advancement of Learning, published the following year. This was a quarto pamphlet of about thirty pages; and Hartlib, to whom it was addressed, was the same person to whom Milton had also addressed his letter or tractate entitled "Of Education," published four years before. Petty's discourse, indeed, as well as Milton's, was mainly an exposition of an educational plan or system; Aubrey calls it his Advice concerning the Education of Youth.'

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We will select some of his proposals from an abstract of the work given in the Biographia Britannica, as at least curiously illustrating the character of his mind, whatever may be thought of their real expediency or practicability. The subjects to which he principally directs his attention are Mathematics, Physics, and the History of Art and Nature. He proposes, in the first place, that there should be appointed able readers of all books on these subjects; that every book should be read by two several persons apart; and that out of all the books one great book should be made, containing everything valuable in them properly arranged and furnished with convenient indexes. The first of his special proposals for the education of youth is, that there be instituted Ergastula Literaria, or literary workhouses, where children may be taught to do something towards their living, as well as to read and write. This is exactly the idea of our modern Schools of Industry. He would have all the children in the kingdom trained according to this kind of education from the age of seven years, no fees being demanded from those whose parents



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