A sure Mode of discovering the Bent of a young Man's Genius.
I ABODE at home the remain|der of the winter. It was determined that I should pursue one of the learned professions. My father, with parental pride and partiality, conceiving my aver|sion to labour, my inattention to farming business, and the tricks I had played him, the preceding season, as the sure indica|tions of genius. He now told the story of the putrified heifer, with triumph; as he had read, in the news papers, that play|ing with paper kites was the foundation of Doctor Franklin's fame; that John Locke, who dissected the human mind, Page 79 and discovered the circulation of the soul had, in the full exercise of his understand|ing, played at duck and drake, on the Thames, with his gold watch, while he gravely returned the pebble stone, which he held in his other hand, into his fob; and, that the learned Sir Isaac Newton made soap bladders with the funk of a to|bacco pipe, and was, ever after, so enam|oured with his sooty funk, as to make use of the delicate finger of a young lady, he courted, as a pipe stopper.
I was allowed the choice of my profes|sion, to discover the bent of my genius. By the advice of a friend, my father put into my hands, what he was told were some of the prime books, in the several sciences. In divinity, I read ten funer|al, five election, three ordination, and seventeen farewell sermons, Bunyan's Ho|ly War, the Life of Colonel Gardner, and the Religious Courtship. In law, the Statutes of New Hampshire and Page 80 Burn's Justice abridged. In physic, Buchan's Family Physician, Culpepper's Midwifery, and Turner's Surgery. The agreeable manner in which this last au|thor relates his own wonderful cures, the lives of his patients, and his remarkable dexterity, in extracting a pound of can|dles, from the arm of a wounded soldier; the spirited horse, the neat little saddle bags, and tipped bridle, of our own doctor, determined me in favour of physic. My father did not oppose my choice. He only dryly observed, that he did not know what pretensions our family had to prac|tise physic, as he could not learn that we had ever been remarkable for killing any but Indians.