Page:Passages from the Life of a Philosopher.djvu/70

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54
SQUARE NUMBERS.

arithmetical studies, he must take for granted that they are of some use. The very Table about which he has been reasoning poesesses a special name—it is called a Table of Triangular Numbers. Almost every general collection of Tables hitherto published contains portions of it of more or less extent.

Above a century ago, a volume in small quarto, containing the first 20,000 triangular numbers, was published at the Hague by E. De Joncourt, A.M., and Professor of Philosophy.[1] I cannot resist quoting the author's enthusiastic expression of the happiness he enjoyed in composing his celebrated work:

"The Trigonals here to be found, and nowhere else, are exactly elaborate. Let the candid reader make the best of these numbers, and feel (if possible) in perusing my work the pleasure I had in composing it."

"That sweet joy may arise from such contemplations cannot be denied. Numbers and lines have many charms, unseen by vulgar eyes, and only discovered to the unwearied and respectful sons of Art. In features the serpentine line (who starts not at the name) produces beauty and love; and in numbers, high powers, and humble roots, give soft delight.

"Lo! the raptured arithmetician! Easily satisfied, he asks no Brussels lace, nor a coach and six. To calculate, contents his liveliest desires, and obedient numbers are within his reach."

I hope my young friend is acquainted with the fact—that the product of any number multiplied by itself is called the square of that number. Thus 36 is the product of 6 multiplied by 6, and 36 is called the square of 6. I would now recommend him to examine the series of square numbers

1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, &c.,

  1. 'On the Nature and Notable Use of the most Simple Trigonal Numbers.' By E. De Joncourt, at the Hague. 1762.