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CHAPTER II

became enamoured of the favourite study; and it will surprise no one to learn, if his age be kept in mind, that in some branches of it as Trigonometry, Navigation, Surveying, Astronomy, he found some things beyond his comprehension. He was chiefly occupied with these studies during the first half of his collegiate life; and in riper years, he ever very justly considered that half as having been spent to little purpose.

As the Latin and Greek languages were not highly rated, and but slightly studied, the stock of classical knowledge with which he had been previously furnished, was not much increased while he was in college; but that knowledge enabled him to appear, young as he was, to considerable advantage among his fellow-students. Some of them, pretty well grown up, it has been said, when about to prepare their classic exercises, would often pleasantly seat him upon their knees as he was then quite little, -and with all deference, learn of him. The anecdote shows that he was esteemed a remarkably good scholar in the languages.

He finished his academical course, and took the first degree in the arts, in July, 1762,

Having emerged from a state of literary pupilage, he determined to enter at once upon

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CHAPTER II

professional studies: and the profession, which he decidedly preferred to any other, presented, it must be confessed, to a youth of his promise and connexions, very powerful attractions. He chose the law; and in the autumn of the same year soon after his return from college commenced his preparatory reading in the office of Bartholomew Crannel, Esq. of Poughkeepsie, a gentleman of note as an able counsellor and eloquent advocate. He was now, as he supposed, in the broad and ample road to future distinction. "Plans and views," he says in his own brief memoir, "of future eminence engrossed all my wishes, constituted the sum of my present enjoyments, and finished the prospects of succeeding happiness," and there can be little question, that, had he prosecuted the study and engaged in the business of the profession, he would, before many years, have attained unto its highest honours. The talents he possessed, with his dignified and pleasing address, and with the influence, in his favour, of a large circle of respected relatives and friends, doubtless would have soon elevated him to the first place, either at the bar, or upon the bench.

As yet, it does not appear, that he knew any thing of the power of religion. He had preserved an unsullied moral character through a season of






        
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