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to work for himself, or to be an assistant to his father. When April arrived he was to make a brass sector, a theodolite, and some other instruments of the better sort; "and then," he writes, "I think I shall be able to get my bread anywhere, as I am now, able to work as well as most journeymen, though I am not so quick as many."* And when his year's toil was completed, and the "leafy month of June" had again come round, he announced, with some reasonable pride, that he could now make “ a brass sector with a French joint, which is reckoned as nice a piece of framing work as is in the trade."†

But all this early expertness was not acquired for nothing; cost him a constant and hard struggle to reach that step on the upward ladder; and his labours were rendered the more severe by the state of his health, from which he had of late greatly suffered He had not only, as was his wont, led a life of the most regular and unremitting industry, and spared no exertion by which ha might diminish to his father the cost of this part of his education but his endeavours to attain that end were accompanied by rigid self-denial, on which, however in itself exemplary and laud able, it is almost painful to reflect. Lodging, it is believed under the roof of his master, but not receiving from him any of his board, the cost of his food was in all but eight shilling a-week;` lower than that, he writes, he could not reduce it "without pinching his belly." Even of that pittance a great por tion was earned by himself; for he found that he was able to "win" some money on his own account by rising still earlie than he had to go to his master's work. The bread so bough must have tasted sweet indeed to his lips; but at night he wa thankful enough to get to bed "with his body wearied, and hi hand shaking, from ten hours' hard work ;" "we work," he says ❝to nine o'clock every night, except Saturdays." In his letter to his home, while describing the frugality of his way of life, and regretting the charge his living must be to his father, on whom

* Mr. Watt to his father, London, April 20th, 1756.
t Mr. Watt to his father, London, June 19th, 1756.



he fervently prays that the blessing of God may rest, he repeatdly adds that he is striving all he can to improve himself, that he may be the sooner able to assist him, and to ensure his own maintenance.

With such motives to exertion, and such sentiments and habits, it will readily be conceived that he considered his year in London as admitting of no holiday indulgence. So earnestly was he bent on self-improvement in the way of his business, and so entirely were his whole time and strength engaged in the constant exertion which that required, that only on two occasions,the arrival of the King from abroad, and a proclamation of war against France,—does the uniformity of his industry appear to have been diversified, even by the sight of such pageants as every metropolis from time to time affords to the eyes of the poorest of ts inhabitants. Indeed, so far was he from allowing any occupation of his time in even receiving or giving the news of the day, that the only allusion which his letters of that period contain relative to such subjects is the emphatic and summary conclusion, that "as for news, there is no believing anything that is said;"-a maxim which, in other days than his, may still perhaps be deemed not altogether devoid of salutary truth.

An unexpected danger at that time hung over his destiny, which might have cut short, at least for a season, his projects of further improvement in natural science, and postponed sine die his return to Glasgow College, with all its interesting consequences. This sword of Damocles was the chance of being impressed as a seaman for the navy. He writes, in the spring of 1756, that he avoids" a very hot press just now by seldom going out." And on a later day he adds, "they now press anybody they can get, landsmen as well as seamen, except it be in the liberties of the City, where they are obliged to carry them before my Lord Mayor first; and unless one be either a 'prentice or a creditable tradesman, there is scarce any getting off again. And if I was carried before my Lord Mayor, I durst not avow that I wrought

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in the City, it being against their laws for any unfreeman work, even as a journeyman, within the Liberties."*

At the close of his engagement with Mr. Morgan, when he “had no doubt he could have got encouragement from either his master or some other,"-after long contending with the badness of his health, he found himself compelled by "violent rheuma tism," "a gnawing pain in his back," and "weariness all over his body," to seek the benefit which he expected to derive frorm his native air, and the ride homewards. So, in the end of August, 1756, he took leave of London and of Mr. Morgan, (who, dying in 1758, was not destined to witness the future success of his pupil,) and to revive his drooping health and spirits, he returned to his own country and friends;-first, however, making a small investment of about twenty guineas in half a hundred additional tools, with "absolutę necessary" materials for " great many more that he knew he must make himself" togethe with a copy of 'Bion's Construction and Use of Mathematica Instruments,'—a copious and useful treatise on the differen branches of his intended trade. This was the first edition of the translation of M. Bion's work, by Edward Stone, an excellent though self-taught, mathematician, a native of Scotland; it wa a great enlargement of the original, and two editions of it wer subsequently published in folio, bearing the dates of 1758 and 1759, together with a supplement.

* Mr. Watt to his father, London, March 31st, 1756.

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AN occasion soon presented itself for the advantageous employnent of that little stock in trade which we have just described, as well as the newly-acquired skill of its owner. On the 25th of October, 1756, he writes from Glasgow to his father :—“ I would have come down [to Greenock] to-day, but that there are some instruments that are come from Jamaica that Dr. Dick desired that I would help to unpack, which are expected to-day." The instruments here spoken of formed a valuable collection, which had been completed at great cost by the best makers in London, for their late proprietor Mr. Alexander MacFarlane, a merchant, long resident in Jamaica, and a cadet of the ancient feudal house ɔf Macfarlane of that Ilk; who seems, amid his mercantile pursuits, not to have forgotten the motto of his family-Astra castra, Numen lumen ;”—"The stars my camp, the Lord my light;”—and who, dying in 1755, bequeathed the contents of his observatory to the university in which he had received his education. The great astronomer Oltmanns, the companion of Humboldt, in mentioning, among some observations from which various latitudes and longitudes in the West Indies were accurately determined, those which Mr. Macfarlane had made, at Port Royal, near Kingston, Jamaica, (Phil. Trans. for 1723. p. 235, and for 1750,

p. 523), has said: "Macfarlane was provided with excellent Eng lish instruments, and very skilful in the theory and practice of astronomy."* The minute of a University meeting on the 26th of October, bears that "Several of the instruments from Jamaica having suffered by the sea-air, especially those made of iron, Mr. Watt, who is well skilled in what relates to the cleaning anċ preserving of them, being accidentally in town, Mr. Moor and Dr. Dick are appointed to desire him to stay some time in towr to clean them, and put them in the best order for preserving them from being spoiled." On the 2nd of December the same records bear that "a precept was signed to pay James Watt five pounds sterling for cleaning and refitting the instruments lately come from Jamaica ;"—this being, in all probability, the firs money he had earned on his own account since the terminatior of his brief apprenticeship.

His next object was to endeavour to establish himself in the way of his trade in the city of Glasgow; but here he was met by obstacles of the same sort as those which in London had first wellnigh excluded him from the brief instruction which he sought and then might have consigned him, without hope of rescue, to the embrace of the pressgang. Neither being the son of a bur gess, nor having, as yet, married the daughter of one, nor having served a regular apprenticeship to a craft, he was visited, by tradesmen of more arrogant and far more unfounded pretensions than the modest youth whom they persecuted, with a sort of tem poral excommunication; and was forbidden to set up even a humble workshop, himself its solitary tenant, within the limits of the burgh. He now signally found the advantage of that aca demical support which the University uniformly extended to him. By midsummer, 1757, he had received permission to occupy ar apartment and open a shop within the precincts of the College and to use the designation of "Mathematical-instrument-make to the University;" and, though it does not appear that any con * "Recueil d'Observations Astronomiques, Voyage de Humboldt et Bon pland," Quatrième Partie, tome ii., p. 589, ed. 1810.

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