Aram, Eugene

, memorable for his erudition, and for superior abilities disgraced by an enormous crime, was born at Ramsgill, in Netherdale, Yorkshire, and received but a mean education, as it appears that all his mental acquirements, which were prodigious, were the result of indefatigable diligence and application, assisted by uncommon talents. His father was a gardener at Newby, whom he attended in that occupation, and where his propensity to Jiterature first discovered itself. Mathematics now engaged his attention, and he soon understood quadratic equations, and their geometrical constructions. Prompted by an irresistible thirst of knowledge, he determined to make himself master of the learned languages. He got and repeated all Lilly’s grammar by heart. He next undertook Camden’s Greek grammar, which he also repeated in the same manner. Thus instructed, he entered upon the Latin classics, and at first pored over five lines for a whole day; never, in all the painful course of his reading, leaving any | passage till he thought he perfectly comprehended it, Having accurately perused all the Latin classics, both historians and poets, he went through the Greek Testament, and then applied to Hesiod, Homer, Theocritus, Herodotus, Thucydides, and all the Greek tragedians. In the midst of these literary pursuits, he went, in 1734, on the invitation of William Norton, esq. to Knaresborough, where he became much esteemed; and here, with indefatigable Diligence, he acquired the knowledge of the Hebrew.tongue. In April 1744 he came again to London, and taught both Latin and writing, at Mr. Painblanc’s, in Piccadilly, above two years. He next went, in the capacity of writingmaster, to a boarding-school at Hayes, in Middlesex, kept by the Rev. Anthony Hinton. He at length succeeded to several other places in the south of England, making use of every opportunity for improvement. He was afterwards employed in transcribing the acts of parliament to be registered in Chancery, and about the beginning of December 1757, went down to the free-school at Lynn. From his leaving Knaresborough to this period, which was a long interval, he had attained the knowledge of history and antiquities, and also of heraldry and botany. Few plants", either domestic or exotic, were unknown to him. Amidst all this, he ventured upon the Chaldee and Arabic, but had not time to obtain any great knowledge of the latter. He found the Chaldee easy enough, on account of its connection with the Hebrew. He then investigated the Celtic, as far as possible, in all its dialects; began collections, and made comparisons between that, the English, the Latin, the Greek, and even the Hebrew. He had made notes, and compared above three thousand words together, and found such a surprising affinity, that he was determined to proceed through the whole of all these languages, and form a comparative lexicon. He was also far from being a contemptible poet.

With this immense stock of learning, acquired without the assistance of a master, and the most extraordinary talents, which might have made him shine in any station of life, it is to be lamented that he was guilty of an action inconsistent with every principle of humanity; for, in 1758, he was taken up at Lynn, in Norfolk, for the murder of Daniel Clark, a shoe-maker of Knaresborough, who hau been missing upwards of 13 years, and removed to York castle, where being brought to his trial, on the third of | August 1759, he read a most admirable defence, in which he displayed equal modesty, good sense, and learning; but was found guilty, and the next morning confessed the justness of his sentence, acknowledging to a clergyman, that his motive for committing the murder was his suspecting Clark of having unlawful commerce with his Wife. When he was called from bed to have his irons taken off, he refused to rise, alleging that he was very weak. On examination it was found that he had attempted to take away his own life, by cutting his arm in two places with a razor. Though weak, he was conducted to the gallows of York, and there executed, and hung in chains in Knaresborough forest. 1


Biog. Britannica.