I must tell you what my opinion of my own mind and powers is exactly—the result of a most accurate study of myself with a view to my future plans during many months. I believe myself to possess a most singular combination of qualities exactly fitted to make me preeminently a discoverer of the hidden realities of nature.
Firstly: owing to some peculiarity in my nervous system, I have perceptions of some things, which no one else has—or at least very few, if any. This faculty may be designated in me as a singular tact, or some might say an intuitive perception of hidden things—that is of things hidden from eyes, ears, and the ordinary senses…This alone would advantage me little, in the discovery line, but there is, secondly, my immense reasoning faculties. Thirdly: my concentrative faculty, by which I mean the power not only of throwing my whole energy and existence into whatever I choose, but also bringing to bear on any one subject or idea a vast apparatus from all sorts of apparently irrelevant and extraneous sources. I can throw rays from every quarter of the universe into one vast focus.
Now these three powers (I cannot resist the wickedness of calling them my discovering or scientific trinity) are a vast apparatus put into my power by Providence; and it rests with me by a proper course during the next twenty years to make the engine what I please. But haste, or a restless ambition, would quite ruin the whole.”