Heinecken, Christian Henry

, a child greatly celebrated for the wonderfully premature developemerit of his talents, but whose history will require strong faith, was born at Lubeck, Feb. 6, 1721, and died mere June 27, 1725, after having displayed the most amazing proofs of intellectual powers. He could talk at ten months old, and scarcely had completed the first year of his life, when he already knew and recited the principal facts contained in the five books of Moses, with a number of verses on the creation; at thirteen months he knew the history of the Old Testament, and the New at fourteen in his thirtieth month, the history of the nations of antiquity, geography, anatomy, the use of maps, and nearly 8000 Latin words. Before the end of his third year, he was well acquainted with the history of Denmark, and the genealogy of the crowned heads of Europe; in his fourth year he had learned the doctrines of divinity, with their proofs from the Bible; ecclesiastical history; the institutes; 200 hymns, with their tunes; 80 psalms; entire chapters of the Old and New Testament; 1500 verses and sentences from ancient Latin classics; almost the* whole Orbis Pictus of Comenius, whence he had derived all his knowledge of the Latin language arithmetic; the history of the European empires and kingdoms; could point out in the maps whatever place he was asked for, or passed by in his journeys, and recite all the ancient and modern historical anecdotes relating to it. His stupendous memory caught and retained every word he was told; his ever active imagination used whatever he saw or heard, instantly to apply some examples or sentences from the Bible, geography, profane or ecclesiastical history, the “Orbis Pictus,” or from ancient classics. At the court of Denmark he delivered twelve speeches | without once faltering; and underwent public examinations on a variety of subjects, especially the bistory of Denmark. He spoke German, Latin, French, and Low Dutch, and was exceedingly good-natured and well-behaved, but of a most tender and delicate bodily constitution; never ate any solid food, but chiefly subsisted on nurses milk, not being weaned till within a very few months of his death, at which time he was not quite four years old. There is a dissertation on this child, published by M. Martini at Lubeck, in 1730, where the author attempts to assign the natural causes for the astonishing capacity of this great man in embryo, who was just shewn to the world, and snatched away. This was addressed to M. Christ, de Schoeneich, the child’s tutor, who had published an account of him, and is given entire in vol. V. of “The Republic of Letters.” Schoeneich’s account was republished so lately as 1778 or 1779 in German. 1

1 Schoeneich’s account. —Moreri. —Dict. Hist.