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