Excerpt from The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, Vol. 23: Exhibiting a View of the Progressive Discoveries and Improvements in the Sciences and the Arts; April-October 1837
In 1783 m 1784, he quitted St Andrews, and proceeded to Edinburgh, with the intention of entering himself as a student of Divinityin the Metropolitan University. He was accom pamed, wehelieve, by another young Mathematician, destined, like Wm chain a distinguished niche in the Temple of Fame - James Ivory; and they lived together for some time. He never had any liking for the Church as a profession; and though he m formally entered at the Divinity Hall, he con. Trived to devote his first session to the sciences, particularly to Chemistry. In hot, he seems early to have relinquished all thooﬂts of thechurch - a resolution perhaps hastened by the death of his patron, the Earl of Kinnoull, which took place soon d'ter his removal to Edinburgh. He continued to study here till theolose of the session of 1787; and, as is customary with students of greater ability and industry than means, de voted partof his time to private tuition. One of the young men whose studies he assisted was nearly related to, and be emne the heir of Dr Adam Smith - a circumstance which he was accustomed to recollect with pleasure, as having made him known to that illustrious Philosopher, who treated him kindly, and occasionally fivoured him with directions as to his own pursuits. His first essay as an author must have been com posed about the time of his leaving this university. It was a Paper On the Resolution of indeterminate Problems, which was read to the Royal Society of Edinburgh by Mr Playfair, in 1788, and afterwards published in its Transactions.
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