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Old Testament which are less familiar to most persons; and he never failed to point out the place or near it.-And so in profane history. The writer has frequently taken up Grey's Memoria Technica, and made experiments upon his Brother's memory, by enquiring after such persons and things as seemed the most remote from common reading, and the event always appeared the more surprising, because Mr. Milner satisfied all enquiries of this kind, without the least assistance from any MEMORIA TECHNICA, by connecting together numerous facts in chronological order, and by tracing in that way the object he had in view, till he had settled in his own mind the time of its existence, within one, two, or perhaps three years. By showing, in the way just mentioned, the absolute impossiblity of a point in dispute, he has often been known to correct the positive and precise assertions of learned men in chronological matters, who had either too much relied on their artificial helps, or perhaps had mistaken the meaning of some memorial mark of great consequence.
Mr. Moore, unfortunately, was very deficient in this faculty, almost indispensably necessary for a Schoolmaster. It was his practice constantly, when he was explaining the Latin or Greek authors, to apply to Milner's memory in cases of History and Mythology. He used to say, “ Milner is more easily consulted than the dictionaries or the pantheon, and he is quite as much to be relied on.” It is more than probable, that at about the
of thirteen, there were very few of his years equally skilled in Latin and Greek; and perhaps none, who were to be compared with him in the accurate and extensive knowledge of Ancient History. His love
of the study of History showed itself as soon as ever he could read. His passion for it increased, and continued strong for many years; and it was his favourite amusement and relaxation to the last.-It is no wonder, then, that uncommon excellence should be the effect of such a taste, combined with so retentive a memory.
It was at this age that he began to step out of his obscurity. The learned lad, as he was called, was marked and gazed at as he passed through the villages to his school; and many zealous and flattering prognostications were uttered of his future greatness, by his poor, ignorant neighbours. But his Schoolmaster at the same time secured to him, among the richer people of the town, a better-founded and a more useful reputation. He grew so fond of his feeble, weakly pupil, that he trumpeted his praises every where, introduced his verses into the news-papers, and the author himself often into many of the best families. He told so many and almost incredible stories of his memory, that the Rev. Mr. Murgatroyd, a very respectable Clergyman, at that time minister of St. John's Church in Leeds, expressed some suspicion of exaggeration. Mr. Moore was a man of the strictest veracity, but of a warm temper. He instantly offered to give satisfactory proof of his assertions. “ Milner,” said he, “ shall go to Church next Sunday, and without taking a single note at the tịme, shall write down your sermon afterward. Will you permit us to compare what he writes with what you preach ?” Mr. Murgatroyd, the mildest and best-tempered man in the world, accepted the proposal with pleasure; and has very often been heard to express his astonishment at the event of this trial of memory. “ The lad,” said he,“ has not omitted a single thought or sentiment in the whole sermon: and frequently he has got the very words for a long way together.”– This fact was soon blazed abroad; and it established the reputation of Milner beyond controversy, at the same time that it increased both the attachment and the pride of the Schoolmaster, who could boast of so extraordinary a pupil.
Mr. Moore, for some years past, had entertained secret hopes of being able, in due time, to send him to the University, though he had wisely kept these hopes to himself, through the fear of being ultimately disappointed. But the premature and sudden death of Milner's father seemed to blast every expectation of this sort.
Milner's father had been unsuccessful in business; and his circumstances had suffered exceedingly from accidents during the Rebellion of 1745 ; insomuch that he had very little to spare* from the necessary demands of his family; yet as he had given strong proofs of uncommon industry, self-denial and perseverance, Mr. Moore had not doubted but that he might rely on such a father to defray a considerable part of his son's expences at the University. However, the ardor of friends, when thoroughly in earnest, is not to be easily damped by untoward events. Often it is rather roused by them into greater activity and exertion. It was so in this instance. Mr. Moore, who had been hesitating, whether he should venture to send his favourite Scholar to the University, on account of the great expences of that sort of education, and the inability of the father, now saw no difficulty in undertaking the case of the fatherless boy. Mountains instantly became mole-hills; and the event, which had threatened to ruin Mr. Moure's project effectually, was made the occasion of
* He used to tell the following anecdote with a good deal of humour. “Once, on a Saturday evening, I surprised my wife, by sending home a Greek book for my son Joseph, instead of a joint of meat for the succeeding Sunday's dinner. It was too true,” added he, that I could not send home both.”
carrying it into execution with facility.—Milner was already well known in Leeds, and had begun to teach grown-up children of both sexes, in some opulent families, the Grammar, and the art of composition in the English language. This laudable employment procured him a good deal of ready money, while several parents, to whom he had given much satisfaction by his industry and his skill in teaching, sympathized exceedingly with the youth who had just lost his father, and with him, to all appearance, his prospect of a University-education.
At this favourable moment, when the disposition to serve young Milner, in any way that should be deemed practicable, was pretty general ; when the purses of the wealthy were ready to be opened in his favour; the Tutor of Catharine Hall, Cambridge, an old acquaintance of Mr. Moore, wrote to him to the following effect : “ The office of Chapel-clerk with us will soon be vacant; and if
any clever lad, who is not very rich, and whom you would wish to assist, send him to us.”—Mr. Moore instantly communicated this proposal to several of the liberal Gentlemen above alluded to, who all cheerfully concurred in it.
Let the reader now view Milner at the University, eighteen years of age, but in appearance a child; so much had his growth been checked by ill health.
But from this period to the age of twenty-two, the native vigour of his constitution showed itself, and he continued to grow taller and stronger.
It cannot be considered, in the slightest degree, as a mark of disrespect to the present society of Catharine Hall at Cambridge, to observe, that at the distant period of which we are now speaking, a student of their College could have exceedingly little help in his Academical studies from the governing part of the society. The Master was old and absolutely superannuated. The Tutor was also old and ineffective: He was a sensible man; but had been little conversant in the Mathematical and Philosophical studies, which were then growing most rapidly into fashion. It was, indeed, the pràctice to engage private Tutors; and the price was then only twenty pounds per annum; but Milner had no superfluities. To these circumstances let it be added that Milner was, perhaps, as raw and ignorant a lad, in worldly matters, as ever came to the University. He had hardly a single acquaintance there; and had probably never been a mile from his own cottage before. The writer has had a good deal of experience of the nature of an Academical degree at Cambridge, and of the requisite qualifications; and when he reflects upon these circumstances connected together, he feels the greatest surprise that Milner should have obtained so high a situation as he did in the Mathematical and Philosophical list of honours; and the more so, as most certainly he had no peculiar relish for those studies.
He was the third SENIOR OPTIME.
The Chancellor of the University gives annually two Gold Medals to the best proficients in classical