, **a** remarkable instance of the strength of natural powers usefully

**a**, **a** **remarkable** **instance** **of** **the**
**strength** **of** **natural** **powers** **usefully** **directed**, and assiduously employed, was born in 1720 at Boulton, a few miles
from Appleby in Westmoreland. By the death of his
father, he became an orphan, without friends, or education even of the humblest kind, and hired himself to a farmer in the neighbourhood, with whom he remained some
years, and then removed to superintend a farm at Kendal.
Here, when in his eighteenth year, being informed that
his father had been possessed of some landed property, he
spent his savings in making inquiry, and at last found that
it had been mortgaged beyond its value. He therefore
continued his occupation, and soon after was enabled to
rent and manage a little farm of his own, at a place called
Hollios in Cartmell Fell, where he began to apply himself
to study, without perhaps knowing the meaning of the
word. A short time previous to this, he had admired the
operation of figures, but laboured under every disadvantage for want of education. His first effort therefore wad
to learn to read English and having accomplished that to
a certain degree, he purchased a treatise on arithmetic.
This he carefully perused, and although he could not
write, soon went through common arithmetic, vulgar and
decimal fractions, the extraction of the square and cube
roots, &c. by his memory only, and became so expert, that
he could tell, without setting down a figure, the product
of any two numbers multiplied together, although the multiplier and the multiplicand, each of them, consisted of
nine places of figures; and he could answer, in the same
manner, questions in division, in decimal fractions, or in
the extraction of the square or cube roots, where such a
multiplicity of figures is often required in the operation.