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WILLIAM PITT.

THE younger Pitt was the second son of Lord Chatham, and was seven years of age when his father in 1766 was admitted to the peerage. The boy's earliest peculiarity was an absorbing ambition to become his father's successor as the first orator of the day. His health, however, was so delicate as to cause the gravest apprehensions. Stanhope tells us that before he was fourteen “half of his time was lost through ill health," and that his early life at Cambridge was "one long disease." There is still extant a remarkable letter that reveals better than any thing else the fond hopes of the father and the physical discouragement as well as the mental aspirations of the son. Chatham wrote: “Though I indulge with inexpressible delight the thought of your returning health, I cannot help being a little in pain lest you should make

more haste than good speed to be well. How happy the task, my noble, amiable boy, to caution you only against pursuing too much all those liberal and praiseworthy things, to which less happy natures are perpetually to be spurred and driven. I will not tease you with too long a lecture in favor of inaction and a competent stupidity, your two best tutors and companions at present. You have time to spare; consider, there is but the Encyclopædia, and when you have mastered that, what will remain ?" The intimations of precocity here given were fully justified by the extraordinary progress made by the boy notwithstanding his bodily ailments.

He entered the University of Cambridge at Хі

fourteen, and such was his scholarship at that time that his tutor wrote: “It is no uncommon thing for him to read into English six or eight pages of Thucydides which he had not previously seen, without more than two or three mistakes, and sometimes without even one."

At the university, where he remained nearly seven years, his course of study was carried on

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strictly in accordance with his father's directions
and was somewhat peculiar. His most ardent
devotion was given to the classics; and his
method was that to which his father always
attributed the extraordinary copiousness and
richness of his own language. After looking
over a passage so as to become familiar with
the author's thought, he strove to render it
rapidly into elegant and idiomatic English, with
a view to reproducing it with perfect exact-
ness and in the most felicitous form. This
method he followed for years till, according to
the testimony of his tutor, Dr. Prettyman, when
he had reached the age of twenty, “there was
scarcely a Greek or Latin writer of any eminence
the whole of whose works Mr. Pitt had not read
to him in this thorough and discriminating man-
ner.” This was the laborious way in which he
acquired that extraordinary and perhaps un-
rivalled gift of pouring out for hour after hour
an unbroken stream of thought without ever
hesitating for a word or recalling a phrase or
sinking into looseness or inaccuracy of expres-

sion. The finest passages even of the obscurer poets he copied with care and stored away in his memory; and thus he was also qualified for that aptness of quotation for which his oratory was always remarkable.

With his classical studies Pitt united an un

usual aptitude and fondness for the mathemat. Xics and for logic. To both of these he gave

daily attention, and before he left the university, according to the authority above quoted, he was master in mathematics of every thing usually known by young men who obtain the highest academical honors. In logic, Aristotle was his master, and he early acquired the habit of applying the principles and methods of that great logician to a critical examination of all the works he studied and the debates he witnessed. It was probably this course of study which gave him his unrivalled power in reply. While still at Cambridge it was a favorite employment to compare the great speeches of antiquity in point of logical accuracy, and to point out the manner in which the reasoning

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