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ment, with the expectations of all ranks and parties highly excited in his favour. It was publicly known that the illustrious Earl of Chatham had conceived the highest opinion of the talents and acquirements of his second son. William had been educated and formed under the eye of that eminent statesman, who, oppressed with bodily infirmities, immersed in public business, and loaded with years, with the most earnest anxiety and delight tutored and directed the opening understanding of his favourite son. From his earliest age the youth had given the most undoubted proofs of intellectual vigour. A regular, judicious, and persevering application did justice to his great powers.
After he had acquired a considerable share of classical literature, he applied himself sedulously to mathematical studies. This branch of learning was probably instrumental in forming his masculine understanding to the precision of thought and closeness of argument which distinguish his speeches. He was sent to an University, of which the exercises have a peculiar ten
dency to sharpen, invigorate, methodize, and expand the mind; and soon impressed both the scholars and masters of Cambridge with an idea of the superior figure he was destined to make. Devoting himself to the studies most prevalent at his college, more, as Burke had done at Dublin, for the sake of acquirement than display, he also treasured up in his mind moral and political history and science. Nature had given him uncommon talents. The plan of his education was peculiarly adapted for forming and strengthening his faculties, his own choice afforded him the most useful materials, and his judgment directed his powers and exertions to the most important objects. So qualified and prepared, on leaving the University, he betook himself to the study of the law; and with his powers, previous acquirements, and persevering industry, made very distinguished progress. He early formed one of the most beneficial habits which an understanding can contract—a habit of INDUCTION, or of thoroughly examining particulars before he admitted a
general principle in any new case; and when he did admit a principle, he accus- tomed himself to consider it in its application to the circumstances and situations, and not to receive it implicitly, and without the proper
limits and qualifications. Perhaps, indeed, there is not a more striking difference between the reasonings of the personage before us and his great opponent, than in the extent in which each adopts a general principle. The former squares it to the case, the latter often takes it in a much greater latitude than will apply to the
This difference, however, respects the appositeness of the means to the end. Mr. Pitt not only formed a habit of just and apposite thinking, but of reasoning to the point at issue, and to no other, To this appropriation, the studies to which, from his father's recommendation, and his own choice, Mr. Pitt devoted a considerable part of his time, were peculiarly subservient. He applied himself with great assiduity to mathematics; and while, by geometry, he improved himself in clearness of argument,
and precision of thought, he, by algebraical
* See the Historical Magazine, June 1799.
and knowledge gave to discourse and discussion hours bestowed by many young men on the licentiousness of the stews, or the phrenzy of the gaming-table.
His contemporaries at Cambridge proposed that he should stand candidate for representing the University in Parliament: this he declined, and was returned member for Poole. His first public appearance had been two years before his election. Soon after his father's death, a report had been spread of a negociation having gone on the preceding winter, between Lord Chathamn and Lord Bute, for Chatham coming into Administration. Some said that Lord Bute had applied to Chatham, others that Chatham had applied to Bute. This last supposition, with great reason, Pitt considered as derogatory to his father. A statement, published by the Chatham fainily, and drawn up by Pitt, was considered by Lord Mountstuart as tending to convey an idea that his father had applied to Chatham. In endeavouring to refute that notion, he