Page:A memoir of Lewis David von Schweinitz.djvu/16

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LEWIS D. VON SCHWEINITZ.

assiduously devoted. Being the eldest son of his parents, and, at that period, of delicate constitution, it is reasonable to suppose that maternal influences had much to do in the developement of his faculties. It was, moreover, on the side of his mother that he was related to Watteville and Zinzendorf; hence, we may readily suppose that from this source he derived the partiality for addressing to his friends short speeches and little sermons with which he is said occasionally to have amused the circle around his paternal fireside.

We are aware that, in general, anticipations founded on an exhibition of precocious talents are apt to be signally disappointed; but when the display is that of an intellectual tendency, rather than a mere capacity for some one attainment, and when the spirit for mental labour is found capable of being directed into different channels at the instance of others, and does not consist of a blind instinct compelling the possessor to follow some narrow path of intellectual effort, the augury may, we apprehend, be received with less doubt and uncertainty. Such was the case with Schweinitz. His mind was vigorous and his temperament enthusiastic. The first direction of these qualities was given by his relatives as they dwelt on the unwearied and successful exertions of his ancestors among the fraternity, in promoting whose interests he was taught to feel that it would be most honourable to excel; the second was subsequently given by his teachers, when, by the casual exhibition and explanation of some specimens in natural history, they struck a vein of talent, part of