Imatges de pÓgina
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Dr. Thomas Young, the subject of the following Memoir, was born at Milverton, in Somersetshire, on the 13th of June, 1773. He was the eldest of ten children of Thomas and Sarah Young; his mother (whose maiden name was Davis) was the niece of Dr. Richard Brocklesby, a physician of great eminence in London. His parents were both members of the Society of Friends, occupying a respectable station in the middle ranks of life. They were strict observers of the principles of their sect, in which their children were very carefully educated; and their eldest son appears to have adopted in his earlier years, all the characteristic observances and ) tenets of this society, though he afterwards abandoned it. Some of those principles which recognize the immediate influence of a supreme intelligence as a guide in the ordinary conduct of life, are not a little calculated, when not properly regulated, to encourage feelings of self-confidence and pride in the achievement of intellectual as well as moral triumphs; and it was to the operation of these early impressions that Dr. Young was accustomed in after life, to attribute, in no slight



degree, the formation of those habits of perseverance in labouring to conquer every difficulty, however formidable it might appear to be, by which he was so remarkably distinguished, and which enabled him, even from his boyhood, to work out his own education with little comparative assistance or direction from others.

The details of this education—which made him at an early period of life an accurate classical scholar; perfectly familiar with the principal European languages; well acquainted with mathematics, and with almost every department of natural philosophy and natural history; profoundly versed in medical and anatomical knowledge, and in possession of more than ordinary personal and ornamental accomplishments—must necessarily possess no common interest and value; not merely as explaining the formation of his own intellectual habits and character, but as illustrating the progress of the human mind in one of the most remarkable examples of its development; and it may be considered fortunate, that the materials for a very minute history of his early studies and occupations exist, in his very ample journals, in his letters to his relatives and others, and in the notes which he has left behind him, upon most of the books which he read for the first twenty years or more of his life..

Amongst these are two thick volumes, entitled Studia Quotidiana, containing an account—in many cases with copious extracts-of every book which he read from the year 1789 to the summer of 1794 ; with notices of his botanical and entomological observations, the greatest part of which is written in Latin. There are also, in three smaller volumes, ample notes of all the medical and anatomical lectures which he attended in London in 1793 and 1794: to. these may be added minute and very carefully written journals of his studies at Edinburgh and at Göttingen, and of his journeys in Scotland and Germany in 1795, 1796, and 1797: and also a nearly imbroken series of letters to his uncle Dr. Brocklesby during the greatest part of this period.

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