Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/710

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rest of the family to Edinburgh. During the academic year 1816-'17 William attended classes in logic, chemistry, and mathematics, at the University of Edinburgh. He continued here the diligence which he had manifested at school, and carried off the first prize in mathematics, "with the good-will of all the competitors."

Preferring to enter mercantile business rather than to continue longer at the university, he went to London in 1817, being then nineteen years old, to take a position in the counting-house of his uncle. But he did not give up literary pursuits, for, in a letter written to his brother in Montreal a few months later, he thus describes his avocations: "Part of the day I read Italian and French, write versions in those languages, and generally in the evening translate 'Gil Blas' with Alexander Gillespie, Jr., who, by-the-by, is the greatest companion I have here. Now and then I have a look at Homer and Cicero, and mathematics is not neglected. Indeed, I carry on a correspondence with one of my fellow-collegians, Mr. Cockayne, who resides in the north of England. He sends me propositions, which, after having solved, I return to him with the demonstrations, annexing at the same time propositions to exercise his knowledge of geometry. This, in my opinion, is a rational and useful means of keeping up an acquaintance. Sometimes the flute amuses me, and I hope you have not given up playing on that instrument." In his younger days, as his biographer tells us, Logan was an excellent correspondent. "But, not satisfied with writing often himself, he frequently urges his brothers or sisters to do likewise, and sometimes, by way of encouragement, praises the letters which he receives. . . . In this way, and by regularly causing the letters which he himself received to circulate among other members of the family, he aided in keeping alive that union and interest in family affairs which so often cease when the children grow up and become scattered."

Young Logan had abundant opportunities to gratify his musical tastes while in London, and his years there seem to have passed very pleasantly. He lived in his uncle's family, until the latter gave up his London residence, but he seems to have welcomed this change as giving him a chance to devote more time to business and to lead a quieter life. In 1826 he made a short visit to Paris, and wrote to his brother James some very lively impressions of the faculty for display of the French people.

A few years later, Logan's uncle became interested in mining and smelting operations in Wales, and young Logan was sent down to keep the accounts of the establishment. "But you may be assured," he writes, "I shall spare no pains to make myself master of every branch of the business; and, as it is of a scientific nature, I am pretty sure I shall like it." The study of the minerals with which his business was directly concerned—copper and coal—awakened in him an interest in mineralogy and geology. He studied the question of how