Donn, Abraham

, an ingenious mathematician, was born Feb. 6, 1718, at Bideford, in Devonshire, where his father kept a mathematical school, and was reputed one of the best teachers of arithmetic, navigation, and dialing, in his time. It appears from some papers in ms. left by the Rev. Mr. Hervey, author of the “Meditations,” that the family name was Donne and that Christopher, the grandfather, was the first that dropped the final e. The subject of the present article was brought up under the care of the Rev. Mr. Mudge, of Plymouth, and his successor White, M. A. with whom he made a very considerable progress in the Latin and Greek languages. When he left the grammar-school, as far as his health would permit, he assisted his father in his mathematical school; and when he was about fourteen years of age, being at play with some of his schoolmates, he fell from a high pile of deals, which, with his soon after going a-swimming in a profuse sweat, laid the foundation for disorders which continued on him till the time of his death; so that, from the fourteenth year of his age to his twenty-eighth, when he died, he can scarcely be said to have had the blessing of health, even for so short an interval as a month. ^Notwithstanding this severe sickness, he studied the mathematics, and acquired some considerable knowledge in those sciences; for he solved several questions in the Diaries. As to astronomy, it seemed to have been his favourite study; and he left behind him the result of hiss calculations of the eclipses of the Sun and Moon, with the transits of Mercury, for more than ten years to come, with their delineations. He was assistant to Mr. Hervey in his studying the use of the globes and that pious clergyman preached his funeral sermon, July 15, 1746. His works were published by his younger brother, Benjamin Donn, | who about 1756 opened an academy at Kingston, near Taunton, in Somersetshire, where he taught with great success, and where he died in 1798, after publishing some mathematical treatises. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXXIV.