Imatges de pÓgina
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derstanding, in which they far excelled their fellows. These girls were carefully instructed by Azora and Antonia, and beside being taught the fine works of the needle, learned musick, and the elements of the mathematics from the ladies. The eldeft of these girls was but twenty, and the youngest eighteen, and they all surprised me very greatly with their quickness in anfwering very hard arithmetical questions. They could not only add, subtract, multiply, divide, find a fourth proportional, and extract roots of every kind, with exactness and readiness, and apply then upon all common occasions; but, were perfect in fractions vulgar and decimal.

They had even gone as far in algebra as the resolution of simple equations.

Finding them one morning at figures, I asked the youngest of them, what was the number that of it with 4 over, amounted to the same as t' of it with 9 over ? She immediately translated the question from comrnon language into algebra * +4=1* +9, and quickly discovered the unknown quantity, x to be x=60: Then she took it in sinthetically, ß of 60=40+4=44: 1 of 60=35+9= 44. —- (Sinthetically is tracing property from number :- Análetically is tracing number from property.)

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This made me wonder very greatly. I alked another of them, if she bought 20 loaves for 16 pence, all of them two-penny, penny, and farthing ones - how many would she have of each? She answered, 5 two-penny, loaves, 3 penny ones, and 12 farthing loaves; for the equations were x +y + z = 20 and 8 x+4y=z=64. From whence by subtraction, 7x+3y=44, and of consequence, y=44-7*=14–2x+

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I asked a third, how many ways the could pay 201. in pistoles, guineas, and moidores, at 17 s. 215. and 27 s. the pistole, the guinea, and the moidore ? She replied in a very little time, 9 ways, to wit, 11 pistoles, 5 guineas, and 4 moidores—8 pistoles, i guinea, 9 moidores 8 pistoles, 10 guineas, 2 moidores-17 pistoles, 4 guineas, 1 moidore—2 pistoles, 2 guineas, 12 moidores—2 pistoles, 11 guineas, 5 moidores--5 pistoles, 6 guineas, 7 moidores-5, 15, 0- and 14 pistoles, o guineas, 6 moidores. This was a hard operation.

I asked another of these young women, if her lady gave her 297 guineas and, 339 plitoles, to pay

, 6. men,a hundred pounds: a-, piece in guineas and, pistoles only, as was

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agreed, how could she contrive to pay them, and dispatch the thing? I will tell you, Sir, (she answered) very soon. * represents my guineas, and y my pistoles, and 21 * + 179

2000-177 = 2000, of consequence, x . 95+5=17'; &c. and quickly discovered, that the first man should have 92 guineas and 4 pistoles :—the second man, 75 guineas and 25 pistoles :— the third, 58 guineas, 46 pistoles :--the fourth, 41 guineas and 67 pistoles :- the fifth, 24 guineas and 88 pistoles :--and the fixth man, 7 guineas and 109 pistoles. This was admirable. But is there no other way, I said, of paying 100l. in guineas and pistoles, besides the six ways you have mentioned? There is no other way (the fine girl answered). If a seventh man was to be paid tool. in these two kinds of money, he must be paid in one of these six methods. This was true. I was charmed with what I had heard.

While I was thus engaged with the maids, Azora and Antonia came into the room, and finding how I had been employed, they began to talk of problems, theorems, and equations, and foon convinced nie, that 11 was not fuperior to them in this kind of knowledge: though I had studied it for a much longer time, and had taken more

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pains than ever they did. Their fine una derstandings faw at once the things that had made me sweat many an hour, and in less time than I required for an operation, they could answer the most difficult queftions, and do any thing in simple quadratic equations, and in the composition and resolution of ratios. This I thought very wonderful; especially as they had been taught no longer than one year by Mr. Burcot; and that they had acquired the most abftrufe part of their knowledge by their own application.--I note the thing down as one of the strangest and most extraordinary cases that ever came in my way; perhaps, that ever was heard. It is such a specimen of female understanding, as must for ever knock up the positive affertions of fome learned men, who will not allow that women have as strong reasoning heads as

the men.

Quomen.

An obferva- By the way, I observe, extion relative

clusive of these two ladies, that to the understanding of

I have seen many of the sex who were distinguished for

accuracy and comprehensiveness, not only in the science, where known and required qualities are denoted by letters, but in other fine parts of learning. I have little right to pretend to any thing extraordinary

in understanding, as my genius is Now, and such as is common in the lower classes of men of letters; yet, my application has been very great: my whole life has been spent in reading and thinking: and nevertheless, I have met with many women, in my time, who, with very little reading, have been too hard for me on several subjects. In justice, I declare this; and am very

certain from what I have heard numbers of them say, and seen some of them write, that if they had the laboured education the men have, and applied to books with all possible attention for as many years as we do; there would be found among them as great divines as Episcopius, Limborch, Whichcote, Barrow, Tillotson, and Clarke ; and as great mathematicians, as Maclaurin, Saunderfon, and Simpson. The critics may laugh at this assertion; I know they will: and, if they please, they may doubt my veracity as to what I relate of the two ladies, and the ten young women, in Burcot-Hamlet; but what I fay is true, notwithstanding. Facts are things too stubborn to be destroyed by laughing and doubting.

As to the ladies I have mentioned, they both did wonders in specious arithmetic; but Azora was the brightest of the two,

and

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