Boyle, Robert

, the most illustrious philosopher of modern times, was the seventh son, and the fourteenth child of Richard earl of Cork, and born at Lismore, in the province of Munster, in Ireland, the 25th of Jan. 1626-7. He was committed to the care of a country nurse, with instructions to bring him up as hardy as if he had been her own son; for his father, he tells us, “had a perfect aversion for the fondness of those parents which made them breed their children so nice and tenderly, that a hot sun or a good shower of rain as much endangers them as if they were made of butter or of sugar.” By this he gained a strong and vigorous constitution, which, however, he afterwards lost, by its being treated too tenderly. He acquaints us with several misfortunes which happened to him in his youth. When he was about three years old, he lost his mother, who was a most accomplished woman, and whom he regrets on that account, because he did not know her. A second misfortune was, that he learned to stutter, by mocking some children of his own age; of which, though no endeavours were spared, he could never perfectly be cured. A third, that in a journey to Dublin, he had like to have been drowned, if one of his father’s gentlemen had not taken him out of a coach, which, in passing a brook raised by some sudden showers, was overturned and carried away with the stream.

While he continued at home, he was taught to write a very fair hand, and to speak French and Latin by one of the earl’s chaplains, and a Frenchman that he kept in the house. In 1635, his father sent him over to England, in order to be educated at Eton school under sir Henry Wotton, who was the earl of Cork’s old friend and acquaintance. Here he soon discovered a force of understanding which promised great things, and a disposition to cultivate and improve it to the utmost. While he remained at Eton, there were several extraordinary accidents that befel him, of which he has given us an account; and three of which were very near proving fatal to him. The first was, the sudden fall of the chamber where he lodged, when himself was in bed; when, besides the hazard he ran of being crushed to pieces, he had certainly been choked with the dust during the time he lay under the rubbish, if he had not had presence of mind enough to have wrapped his head up in the sheet, which gave him an opportunity of breathing without hazard. A little after this, he had been | crushed to pieces by a starting horse that rose up suddenly and threw himself backwards, if he had not happily disengaged his feet from the stirrups, and cast himself from his back before he fell. A third accident proceeded from the carelessness of an apothecary’s servant; who, mistaking the phials, brought him a strong emetic instead of a cooling julep.

He remained at Eton between three and four years; after which, his father carried him to his own seat at Stalbridge, in Dorsetshire, where he remained some time under the care of the rev. William Douch, one of his chaplains, who was the rector of the place. In the autumn of 1638, he attended his father to London, and remained with him at the Savoy, till his brother Mr. Francis Boyle espoused Mrs. Elizabeth Killegrew; and then, towards the end of October, within four days after the marriage, the two brothers, Francis and Robert, were sent abroad upon their travels, under the care of Mr. Marcombes. They embarked at Rye, in Sussex, and from thence proceeded to Dieppe, in Normandy; then they travelled by land to Ilouen, to Paris, and from thence to Lyons; from which city they continued their journey to Geneva, where his governor had a family; and there the two gentlemen pursued their studies quietly, and without interruption. Mr. Boyle, during his stay here, resumed his acquaintance with the mathematics, or at least with the elements of that science, of which he had before gained some knowledge. For he tells us in his own memoirs, that while he was at Eton, and afflicted with an ague, before he was ten years old, by way of diverting his melancholy, they made him read Amadis de Gaul, and other romantic books, which produced such restlessness in him, that he was obliged to apply himself to the extraction of the square and cube roots, and to the more laborious operations of algebra, in order to fix and settle the volatility of his fancy.

While he remained at Geneva, he made some excursions to visit the adjacent country of Savoy, and even proceeded so far as to Grenoble in Dauphine. He took a view also of those wild mountains, where Bruno, the first author of the Carthusian monks, lived in solitude, and where the first and chief of the Carthusian abbies is seated. Mr. Boyle relates, that “the devil, taking advantage of that deep raving melancholy, so sad a place, his own humour, which was naturally grave and serious, and the strange | stories and pictures he found there of Bruno, suggested such strange and hideous distracting doubts of some of the fundamentals of Christianity, that though, he says, his looks did little betray his thoughts, nothing but the forbiddenness of self-dispatch hindered his acting it.” He laboured under this perplexity and melancholy many months: but at length getting out of it, he set about inquiring into the grounds and foundation of the Christian religion; “that so,” says he, “though he believed more than he could comprehend, he might not believe more than he could prove; and owe the steadfastness of his faith to so poor a cause, as the ignorance of what might be objected against it.” He became confirmed in the belief of Christianity, and in a conviction of its truth; yet not so, he says, but, that “the fleeting clouds of doubt and disbelief did never after cease now and then to darken the serenity of his quiet; which made him often say, that injections of this nature were such a disease to his faith, as the tooth-ach is to the body; for though it be not mortal, it is very troublesome.

September 1641, he quitted Geneva, after having spent one-and-twenty months in that city; and, passing through Switzerland, and the country of the Grisons, entered Lombardy. Then, taking his route through Bergamo, Brescia, and Verona, he arrived at Venice; where having made a short stay, he returned to the continent, and spent the winter at Florence. Here he employed his spare hours in reading the modern history in Italian, and the works of the celebrated astronomer Galileo, who died at a village near this city during Mr. Boyle’s residence in it. It was at Florence that he acquired the Italian language; which he understood perfectly, though he never spoke it so fluently as the French. Of this indeed he was such a master, that, as occasion required, he passed for a native of that country in more places than one during his travels.

March 1642, he began his journey from Florence to Rome, which took up but five days. He surveyed the numerous curiosities of that city; among which, he tells us, “he had the fortune to see pope Urban VIII. at chapel, with the cardinals; who, severally appearing mighty princes, in that assembly looked like a company of common friars.” He visited the adjacent villages, which had any thing curious or antique belonging to them; and had probably made a longer stay, had of the heat of the | climate disagreed with his brother. He returned to Florence, from thence to Leghorn, and so by sea to Genoa. Then passing through the county of Nice, he crossed the sea at Antibes, where he incurred some danger for refusing to honour the crucifix: from whence he went to Marseilles by land. He was in that city in May 1642, when he received his father’s letters, which informed him of the rebellion broke out in Ireland, and how difficultly he had procured the 250l. then remitted to them, in order to help them home. But they never received this money; and were obliged to go to Geneva with their governor Marcombes, who supplied them with as much at least as carried them thither. They continued there a considerable time, without either advices or supplies from England: upon which Mr. Marcombes was obliged to take up some jewels on his own credit, which were afterwards disposed of with as little loss as possible; and with the money thus raised, they continued their journey for England, whither they arrived in 1644. On his arrival Mr. Boyle found his father dead; and though the earl had made an ample provision for him, as well by leaving him his manor of Stalbridge in England, as other considerable estates in Ireland, yet it was some time before he could receive any money. However, he procured protections for his estates in both kingdoms from the powers then in being; from whom also he obtained leave to go over to France for a short space, probably to settle accounts with his governor Mr. Marcombes: but he could not be long abroad, since we find him at Cambridge the December following.

March 1646, he retired to his manor at Stalbridge, where he resided for the most part till May 1650. A room is still shown here, in which our author studied, and where he is said to have nlade his earliest experiments in natural philosophy and chemistry. He made excursions, sometimes to London, sometimes to Oxford and in February 1647, he went over to Holland but he made no considerable stay any where. During his retirement at Stalbridge, he applied himself with incredible industry to studies of various kinds, to those of natural philosophy and chemistry in particular, and omitted no opportunity of obtaining the acquaintance of persons distinguished for parts and learning, to whom he was in every respect a ready, useful, generous assistant, and with whom he held a constant correspondence. He was also one of the first members of | that small, but learned body of men, which, when all aca-‘ demical studies were interrupted by the civil wars, secreted themselves about 1645; and held private meetings, first in London, afterwards at Oxford, for the sake of canvassing subjects of natural knowledge, upon that plan of experiment which lord Bacon had delineated. They styled themselves then the Philosophical College; and after the restoration, when they were incorporated and distinguished openly, took the name of the Royal Society. His retired course of life, however, could not hinder his reputation from rising to such a height, as made him be taken notice of by some of the most eminent members of the republic of letters’; so that, in 1651, we find Dr. Nathanael Highmore, a very eminent physician, dedicating to him a book, under the title of “The history of Generation:” examining the several opinions of divers authors, especially that of sir Kenelm Digby, in his Discourse upon Bodies.

In 1652, he went over to Ireland, in order to visit and settle his estates in that kingdom; and returned from thence in August 1653. He was soon after obliged to go over to Ireland again; where he had spent his time very unpleasantly, if it had not been for his intimate friend and acquaintance, sir William Petty, in whose conversation he was extremely happy. In the summer of 1654, he returned to England, and put in execution a design he had formed some time, of residing at Oxford; where he continued for the most part till April 1668, and then he settled at London in the house of his sister lady Ranelagh in Pall Mall. At Oxford he chose to live in the house of Mr. Crosse, an apothecary, rather than in a college; for the sake of his health, and because he had more room to make experiments. Oxford was indeed at that time the only place in England where Mr. Boyle could have lived with much satisfaction; for here he found himself surrounded with a number of learned friends, such as Wiikins, Wallis, Ward, Willis, Wren, &c. suited exactly to his taste, and who h;-d resorted thither for the same reasons that he had done; the philosophical society being novr removed from London to Oxford. It was during his residence here that he invented that admirable engine, the air-pump; which was perfected for him by the very ingenious Mr. Robert lioolce, in 1678 or 1679. By this he made several experiments, and was enabled to discover and demonstrate several qualities of the air, so as to lay a | founelation for a complete theory. He was not, however, satis, fied with this, but laboured incessantly in collecting and digesting, chiefly from his own experiments, the materials requisite for this purpose. He declared against the philosophy of Aristotle, as having in it more of words than things, promising much and performing little; and as giving the inventions of men for indubitable proofs, instead of building upon observation and experiment. He was so zealous for, and so careful about, this true method of learning by experiment, that, though the Cartesian philosophy then made a great noise in the world, yet he would never be persuaded to read the works of Descartes; for fear he should be amused and led away by plausible accounts of things, founded on fancy, and merely hypothetical.

But philosophy and inquiries into nature, though they engaged his attention deeply, did not occupy it entirely j since we find, that he still continued to pursue critical and theological studies. Inthese he had the assistance of some great men, particularly Dr. Edward Pocock, Mr, Thomas Hyde, and Mr. Samuel Clarke, all of great eminence for their skill in the oriental languages. He had also a strict intimacy with Dr. Thomas Barlow, at that time head-keeper of the Bodleian library, and afterwards bishop of Lincoln, a man of various and extensive learning. In 1659, Dr. Wallis, so distinguished for his mathematical and philosophical learning, dedicated to him his excellent treatise on the Cycloid. This year also Mr. Boyle, being acquainted with the unhappy circumstances of the learned Sanderson, afterwards bishop of Lincoln, who had lost all his preferments for his attachment to the royal party, conferred upon him an honorary stipend of 50l. a year. This stipend was given as an encouragement to that excellent master of reasoning, to apply himself to the writing of cases of conscience and accordingly he printed his lectures “de obligatione conscientise,” which he read at Oxford, 1647, and dedicated them to his friend and patron. The dedication bears date Nov. 22, 1659.

Upon the restoration of Charles II. he was treated with great civility and respect by the king, as well as by the two great ministers, Southampton and Clarendon. He was solicited by the latter to enter into orders, for Mr. Boyle’s distinguished learning and unblemished reputation induced lord Clarendon to think that so very | respectable a personage would do great honour to the clergy. Mr. Boyle considered all this with due attention; but reflected, that in his present situation, whatever he wrote upon religion, would have so much the greater weight, as coming from a layman; since he well knew, that the irreligious fortified themselves against all that the clergy could offer, by supposing and saying that it was their trade, and that they were paid for it. He considered likewise that$ in point of fortune and character, he needed no accessions; and indeed he never had any appetite for either. But bishop Burnet, who preached his funeral sermon, and to whom Mr. Boyle communicated memorandums concerning his own life, tells us, that what had the greatest weight in determining his judgment was, “the not feeling within himself any motion or tendency of mirjd which he could safely esteem a call from the Holy Ghost, and so not venturing to take holy orders, lest he should be found to have lied unto it.” He chose therefore to pursue his philosophical studies in such a manner as might be most effectual for the support of religion; and began to communicate to the world the fruits of those studies. The first of them was printed at Oxford, 1660, in 8vo, under the title of 1. “New experiments, physico-mechanical, touching the spring of the Air and its effects, made for the most part in a new pneumatical engine: addressed to his nephew the lord Dungarvan.” This work was attacked by Franciscus Linus and Mr. Hobbes, which occasioned Mr. Boyle to subjoin to a second edition of it, printed at London, 1662, in 4to, “A Defence,” &c. in which he refuted the objections of those philosophers with equal candour, clearness, and civility. A third edition was printed in 1682, 4to. 2. “Seraphic Love; or, some motives and incentives to the Love of God, pathetically discoursed of in a letter to a friend,1660, 8vo. This piece, though it did not appear till now, ’was finished as early as the year 1648. It has run through many editions, and been translated into Latin. The fame of Mr. Boyle’s great learning and abilities extended itself even at this time beyond the bounds of our island, so that the grand duke of Tuscany, a prince distinguished for learning, was extremely desirous of a correspondence with him: of which he was advertised in a letter, dated Oct. 10, 1660, from Mr. Southwell, then resident at Florence. 3. “Certain physiological Essays and other Tracts,1661, 4to. They were printed again | in 1669, 4to, with large additions, especially of “A Discourse about the absolute rest of bodies” and were translated into Latin. 4. “Sceptical Chemist,1662, 8vo, a very curious and excellent work reprinted in 1679, 8vo, with the addition of divers experiments and notes about the producibleness of chemical principles.

In 1662, a grant of the forfeited impropriations in the kingdom of Ireland was obtained from the king in Mr. Boyle’s name, though without his knowledge; which nevertheless did not hinder him from interesting himself very warmly for procuring the application of those impropriations to the promoting religion and learning. He interposed likewise in favour of the corporation for propagating the gospel in New England; and was very instrumental in obtaining a decree in the court of chancery, for restoring to that corporation an estate which had been injuriously repossessed by one col. Bedingfield, a papist, who had sold it to them for a valuable consideration. His activity in matters of this nature was so much the more honourable, as his inclination led him generally to be private and retjred. But whenever the cause of virtue, learning, or religion, required it, his interest and endeavours were never wanting; and what is very remarkable, were seldom employed but with success. In 1663, the royal society being incorporated by king Charles II. Mr. Boyle was appointed one of the council; and, as he might be justly reckoned among the founders of that learned body, so he continued one of its most useful and industrious members during the whole course of his life.

In June 1663 he published, 5. “Considerations touching the usefulness of experimental Natural Philosophy,” 4to, reprinted the year following. 6. “Experiments and considerations upon Colours; to which was added a letter, containing observations on a diamond that shines in the dark,1663, 8vo, reprinted in the same size in 1670. It was also translated into Latin. This treatise is full of curious and useful remarks on the hitherto unexplained doctrine of light and colours; in which he shews great judgment, accuracy, and penetration, and may be said to have led the way to that mighty genius, the great sir Isaac Newton, who has since set that important point in the clearest and most convincing light. 7. “Considerations upon the style of the Holy Scriptures,1663, 8vo. A Latin translation of it was printed at Oxford, where most | of his writings were published in 1665. It was an extract from a larger work entitled “An Essay on Scripture;” which was afterwards published by sir Peter Pett, a friend of Mr. Boyle.

In 1664 he was elected into the company of the royal mines; and was all this year taken up in the prosecution of various good designs, which probably was the reason why he did not send abroad any treatises either of religion or philosophy. The year following, however, appeared, 8. “Occasional Reflections upon several subjects; whereto is prefixed a discourse about such kind of thoughts,1665, 8vo, reprinted in 1669, 8vo. This piece is addressed to Sophronia, under whose name he concealed that of his beloved sister, the viscountess of Ranelagh. The thoughts themselves are on a vast variety of subjects, written many years before; some indeed upon trivial occasions, but all with great accuracy of language, much wit, more learning, and in a wonderful strain of moral and pious reflection. Yet this exposed him to the only severe censure that ever was passed upon him, and that too from no less a man than the celebrated dean Swift; who, to ridicule these discourses, wrote “A pious meditation upon a Broomstick, in the style of the honourable Mr. Boyle.A certain writer, by way of making reprisals upon Swift for his treatment of Mr. Boyle, which he affirms to be as cruel and unjust as it is trivial and indecent, has observed, that, from this very treatise, which he has thus turned into ridicule, he borrowed the first hint of his Gulliver’s Travels. He grounds his conjecture upon the following passage, to be found in the Occasional Reflections: “You put me in mind of a fancy of your friend Mr. Boyle, who was saying, that he had thoughts of making a short romantic story, where the scene should be laid in some island of the southern ocean, governed by some such rational laws and customs as those of the Utopia or the New Atalantis. And in this country he would introduce an observing native, that, upon his return home from his travels made in Europe, should give an account of our countries and manners under feigned names; and frequently intimate in his relations, or in his answers to questions that should be made him, the reasons of his wondering to fi-nd our customs so extravagant, and differing from those of his own country. For your friend imagined that, by such a way of exposing many of our practices, we should ourselves be brought | unawares to condemn, or perhaps to laugh at them; aikl should at least cease to wonder, to find other nations think them as extravagant as we think the manners of the Dutch and Spaniards, as they are represented in our travellers* books.” The same year Mr. Boyle published an important work, entitled, 9. “INew experiments and observations upon Cold; or, an experimental history of cold begun: with several pieces thereunto annexed,1665, 8vo, reprinted in 1683, 4to.

His excellent character in all respects had procured him so much esteem and affection with the king, as well as with every body else, that his majesty, unsolicited, nominated him to the provostship of Eton college in August 1665. This was thought the fittest employment for him in the kingdom; yet, after mature deliberation, though contrary to the advice of all his friends, he absolutely declined it, for which he had several reasons. He thought the duties of that employment might interfere with his studies: he was unwilling to quit that course of life, which, by experience, he found so suitable to his temper and constitution: and, above all, he was unwilling to enter into orders: which he was persuaded was necessary to qualify himself for it. In this year and the next, he was much interested in an affair that made a very great noise in the world; and the decision of which, from the high reputation he had gained, was in a manner universally expected from him. The case was this: one Mr. Valentine Greatracks, an Irish gentleman, persuaded himself that he had a peculiar gift of curing diseases by stroking; in which though he certainly succeeded often, yet he sometimes failed; and this occasioned a great controversy, in which most of the parties concerned addressed themselves to Mr. Boyle. Among the rest, the famous Mr. Henry Stubbe wrote a treatise upon this subject, entitled “The miraculous Conformist; or, an account of several marvellous cures, performed by the stroking of the hands of Mr. Valentine Greatracks; with a physical discourse thereupon, in a letter to the honourable Robert Boyle, esq.” Mr. Boyle received this book upon the 8th of March 1666; and wrote a letter to Mr. Stubbe the next morning, which shews how extremely tender Mr. Boyle was of religion; and how jealous of admitting and countenancing any principle or opinions that he thought might have a tendency to hurt or discredit it But what is most incumbent on us to | observe at present is, that this letter is certainly one of the clearest testimonies of Mr. Boyle’s vast abilities and extensive knowledge, that is any where extant. It is a very long- letter, upwards of twenty pages in 8vo very learned and very judicious wonderfully correct in the diction and style, remarkably clear in the method and form, highly exact in the observations and remarks, and abounding in pertinent and curious facts to illustrate his reasoning. Yet it appears from the letter itself, that it was written within the compass of a single morning <i fact we should have imagined next to impossible, if it had not been attested by one whose veracity was never questioned, that is, by Mr. Boyle himself. In 1666, Dr. Wallis addressed to Mr. Boyle his piece upon the Tides; as did the famous physician, Dr. Sydenham, his method of curing fevers, grounded upon his own observations. Mr. Boyle likewise published that year, 10. “Hydrostatical paradoxes made out by new experiments, for the most part physical and easy,” 8vo, which he printed at the request of the royal society, those experiments having been made at their desire about two years before. 11.“The Origin of Forms and Qualities, according to the Corpuscular philosophy, illustrated by considerations and experiments,1666, 4to, and reprinted the year following, in 8vo. This treatise did great honour to Mr. Boyle, whether we consider the quickness of his wit, the depth of his judgment, or his indefatigable pains in searching after truth. We must not forget to observe, that, both in this and the former year, he communicated to his friend Mr. Oldenburg, who w,is secretary to the royal soqiety, several curious and excellent short treatises of his own, upon a great variety of subjects, and others transmitted to him by his learned frienus both at home and abroad, which are printed and preserved in the Philosophical Transactions. Another thing it may not be improper to observe, that, in the warm controversy raised by Mr. Stubbe at this time about the royal society, Mr. Boyle escaped all censure; and though Mr. Stubbe, among others, attacked it in several pamphlets with all the fiiry imaginable, yet he preserved a just icspect for Mr. Boyle’s great learning and abilities, who, on his parr, showed a singular goodness of temper in bearing, as he uid, with so much indecent treatment from a person whom he had highly obliged, because he thought him, with all his faults, capable of being useful to the world. | About this time, namely, 1668, Mr. Boyle resolved to settle himself in London for life; and removed, for that purpose, to the house of his sister, the lady Ranelagh, in Pail Mall. This was to the infinite benefit of the learned in general, and particularly to the advantage of the royal society; to whom he gave great and continual assistance, as the several pieces communicated to them from time to time, and printed in their Transactions, abundantly testify. Those who applied to him, either to desire his help, - or to communicate to him any new discoveries in science, he had his set hours for receiving; otherwise it is easy to conceive, that he would have had very little of his time to himself. But, besides these, he kept a very extensive correspondence with persons of the greatest figure, and most famous for learning, in all parts of Europe.

In 1669 he published, 12. “A continuation of new experiments touching the spring and weight of the Air;” to which is added a discourse of the atmospheres of consistent bodies; and the same year he revised and made many additions to several of his former tracts, some of which, as we have before observed, were now translated into Latin, in order to gratify the curious abroad. 13. <f Tracts about the cosrnical qualities of things cosmical suspicions the temperature of the subterranean regions the bottom of the sea to which is prefixed an introduction to the history of particular qualities," 1670, 8vo. This book occasioned much speculation, as it seemed to contain a vast treasure of new knowledge which had never been communicated to the world before; and this too, grounded upon actual experiments and arguments justly drawn from them, instead of that notional and conjectural philosophy, which in the beginning of the seventeenth century had been so much in fashion.

In the midst of all these studies and labours for the public, he was attacked by a severe paralytic distemper, of which, though not without great difficulty, he got the better, by strictly adhering to a proper regimen; and returning to his pursuits, in 1671, he published, 14. “Considerations on the usefulness of experimental and natural philosophy, the second part,” 4to. And, 15. “A collection of tracts upon several useful and important points of practical philosophy,” 4to; both which works were received as new and valuable gifts to the learned world. 16. “An essay about the origin and virtue of Gems,1672, 8vo. | 17. “A collection of tracts upon the relation between flame and air; and several other useful and curious subjeccs;” besides furnishing, in this and in the former year, a great number of short dissertations upon a vast variety of topics, addressed to the royal society, and inserted in their Transactions. 13. “Essays on the strange subtlety, great elficacy, and determinate nature of Effluvia;” to which were added variety of experiments on other subjects, 1673, 8vo. The same year Anthony le Grand, the famous Cartesian philosopher, printed his “Historia Naturae,” &c. at London, and dedicated it to Mr. Boyle. He does justice to Mr. Boyle’s universal reputation for extensive learning and amazing sagacity in every branch of experimental philosophy; and says of him, what Averroes said of Aristotle, that nature had formed him as an exemplar or pattern of the highest perfection to which humanity can attain. 19. “A collection of tracts upon the saltness of the sea, the moisture of the air, the natural and preternatural state of bodies; to which is prefixed a dialogue concerning cold,1674, 8vo. 20. “The excellency of theology compared with natural philosophy,1673, 8vo. 21. “A collection of tracts, containing suspicions about hidden qualities of the air; with an appendix touching celestial magnets; animadversions upon Mr. Hobbes’s problem about a vacuum; a discourse of the cause of attraction and suction,1674, 8vo. 22. “Some considerations about the reconeileableness of reason and religion. By T. E. a layman. To which is annexed, a discourse about the possibility of the Resurrection by Mr. Boyle,1675, 8vo; both these pieces were of his writing; only he thought fit to mark the former with the final letters of his name. Among other papers that he communicated this year to the royal society, there were two discourses, connected into one, that deserve particular notice. The former was entitled “An experimental discourse of quicksilver growing hot with gold;” the other related to the same subject; and both of them contained discoveries of the utmost importance.*


To be convinced of this, the reader may peruse the following passages of a letter written by Mr. (afterwards sir) Isaac Newton to Mr. Oldenburg, the secretary of the Royal Society, upon the occasion of it. The letter is dated from Cambridge, April 26, 1676, "Yesterday, reading the two last Philosophical Transactions, I had an opportunity to consider Mr. Boyle’s uncommon experiment about the incaU-scence of gold and mercury. I believe the fingers of many will itch to be, at the knowledge of the preparation of such a mercury; and for that end


some will not be wanting to move for the publishing of it, by urging the good it may do to the world. But, in my simple judgment, the noble author, since he has thought lit to reveal himself so far, does prudently in being reserved in the rest. Not that I think that any great excellence in such a mercury, either for medicinal or chemical operations; for it seems to me, that the metalline particles with which that mercury is impregnated, may be grosser than the particles of the mercury, &c. But yet, because the way by which mercury may be so impregnated has been thought fr to be concealed by others that have known it, and therefore may possibly be an inlet to something mere noble, not to be communicated without immense damage to the world, if there should be any verity in the hermetic writers; therefore I question not but that the great wisdom of the noble author will sway him to high silence, till he shall be resolved of what consequence the thing may be, either by his own experience, or the judgment of some other, thoroughly understands what he speaks about; that is, of a true hermetic philosopher, whose judgment, if there be any such, would be more to be regarded in this point, than that of all the world beside to the contrary; there being other things beside the transmutation of metals, if those great pretenders brag not, which none but they understand. Sir, because the author seems desirous of the sense of others in this point, I have been so free as to shoot my bolt; but pray keep this letter private to yourself, Your servant,

Isaac Newton."

In 1676, he pub. | lished, 23. “Experiments and notes about the mechanical origin or production of particular qualities, in several discourses on a great variety of subjects, and, among the rest, of Electricity.

He had been many years a director of the East India company, and very useful in tins capacity to that great body, especially in procuring their charier; and the only return he expected for his labour was, the engaging the company to come to some resolution in favour of the propagation of the gospel, by means of their flourishing factories in that part of the world, As a proof of his own inclination to contribute, as far as in him lay, for that purpose, he caused five hundred copies of the gospels and acts of the apostles, in the Malayan tongue, to be printed at Oxford in 1677, 4to, and to be sent abroad, at his own expence. This appears from the dedication, prefixed by his friend Dr. Thomas Hyde, to that translation, which was published under his direction. It was the same spirit and principle, which made him send, about three years before, several copies of Grotius “de Veritate Christianas religionis,” translated into Arabic by Dr. Edward Pocock, into the Levant, as a means of propagating Christianity there. There was printed in 1677, at Geneva, a miscellaneous collection of Mr. Boyle’s works in Latin, without his consent, or even knowledge; of which there is a large account given in the Philosophical Transactions. In 1678, he communicated to Mr. Hooke a short memorial of some

| observations made upon an artificial substance that shines without any preceding illustration; which that gentleman thought tit to publish in his “Lectiones Cutlerianae.” He published the same year, 24. “Historical account of a degradation of gold made by an anti-elixir; a strange chemical narrative,” 4to, reprinted in the same size 1739. This excited great attention both at home and abroad, and is looked upon as one of the most remarkable pieces that ever fell from his pen; since the facts contained in it would have been esteemed incredible, if they had been related by a man of less integrity and piety than Mr. Boyle.

The regard which the great Newton had for Mr. Boyle, appears from a very curious letter, which the former wrote to him, at the latter end of this year, for the sake of laying before him his sentiments upon that ethereal medium, which he afterwards proposed, in his Optics, as the mechanical cause of gravitation. This letter is to be found in the life of our author by Dr. Birch. In 1680, Mr. Boyle published, 25. “The Aerial Noctiluca; or some new phsenomena, and a process of a factitious self-shining substance,” 8vo. 26. “Discourse of things above reason inquiring whether a philosopher should admit there are any such1681, 8vo. 27. “New experiments and observations made Upon the Icy Noctiluca; to which is added a chemical paradox, grounded upon new experiments, making it probable, that chemical principles are transmutable, so that out of one of them others may be produced,1682, 8vo. 28. “A continuation of new experiments physico-mechanical, touching the spring and weight of the Air, and their effects,

1682, 8vo.

It was upon the 30th of November 1680, that the royal society, as a proof of the just sense of his great worth, and of the constant and particular services which through a course of many years he had done them, made choice of him for their president; but he being extremely, and, as he says, peculiarly tender in point of oaths, declined the honour done him, by a letter addressed to his much respected friend Mr. Robert Hooke, professor of mathematics at Gresham college. About this time, Dr. Burnet being empioyed in compiling his admirable History of the Reformation, Mr. Boyle contributed very largely to the ex pence of publishing it; as is acknowledged by the doctor in his preface to the second volume. It was probably about the beginning of the year 1681, that he was engaged in | promoting the preaching and propagating of the gospel among the“Indians; since the letter, which he wrote upon that subject, was in answer to one from Mr. John Elliot of New England, dated Nov. 4, 1680. This letter of Mr. Boyle is preserved by his historian; and it shews, that he had a great di-Hke to persecution on account of opinions in religion. He published in 1633, nothing but a short letter to Dr. Beal, in relation to the making of fresh water out of salt; but in 1684 he printed two very considerable works; 29.” Memoirs for the natural history of human blood, especially the spirit of that liquor,“8vo. 30.” Experiments and considerations about the porosity of bodies," 8vo.

Mr. Boyle’s writings grew now so very numerous, that Dr. Ralph Cudworth, the celebrated author of “The Intellectual System,” wrote to him in most pressing terms, to make an entire collection of his several treatises, and to publish them together in the Latin tongue; and “then,” says he, “what you shall superadd, will be easily collected and added afterwards. And I pray God continue your life and health, that you may still enrich the world with more. The writers of hypotheses in natural philosophy will be confuting one another a long time before the world will ever agree, if ever it do. But your pieces of natural history are unconfutable, and will afford the best grounds to build hypotheses upon. You have much outdone sir Francis Bacon in your natural experiments; and you have not insinuated anything, as he is thought to have done, tending to irreligion, but the contrary.” This letter is dated October 16, 1634.

In 1685, he obliged the world with, 31. “Short memoirs for the natural experimental history of mineral waters, with directions as to the several methods of trying them, including abundance of new and useful remarks, as well as several curious experiments.” 32. “An essay on the great effects of even, languid, and unheeded motion; whereunto is annexed an experimental discourse of some hitherto little regarded causes of the salubrity and insalubrity of the air, and its effects;” reprinted in 1690, 8vo. None of his treatises, it is said, were ever received with greater or more general applause than this. 33. “Of the reconcileableness of specific medicines to the corpuscular philosophy; to which is annexed, a Discourse about the advantages of the use of simple medicines,” 8vo. Besides these philosophical tracts, he gave the world likewise, | same year, an excellent theological one, 34. “Ofthehi^h veneration man’s intellect owes to God, peculiarly for his wijclom and power,” 8vo. This was part of a much larger work, which he mentioned in an advertisement, to prevent any exception from being taken at the abrupt manner of its beginning. At the entrance of the succeeding year, canie abroad his, 35. “Free inquiry into the vulgarly received notion of Nature;” apiece, which was then, and will always be, greatly admired by those who have a true zeal and relish for pure religion and sound philosophy. It was translated into Latin, and reprinted in 12 mo the year after.

In June 1686, his friend Dr. Gilbert Burnet, afterwards bishop of Salisbury, transmitted to him from the Hague the manuscript account of his travels, which he had up in the form of letters, addressed to Mr. Boyle: who, in his answer to the doctor, dated the 14th of that month, expresses his satisfaction in “finding, that all men do not travel, as most do, to observe buildings and gardens, and modes, and other amusements of a superficial and almost insignificant curiosity; for your judicious remarks and reflections, says he, may not a little improve both a statesman, a critic, and a divine, as well as they will make the writer pass for all three.” In 1687, Mr. Boyle published, 36. “The martyrdom of Theodora and Dydimia,” 8vo; a work he had drawn up in his youth. 37. “A disquisition about the final causes of natural things; wherein it is enquired, whether, and, if at all, with what caution, a naturalist should admit them.” With an appendix, about vitiated light, 1688, 8vo.

In the month of May this year, our author, though very unwillingly, was constrained to make his complaint to the public, of some inconveniences under which he had long laboured; and this he did by “an advertisement about the loss of many of his writings addressed to J. W. to be communicated to those of his friends that are virtuosi; which may serve as a kind of a preface to most of his mutilated and unfinished writings.” He complains in this advertisement of the treatment he met with from the plagiaries, both at home and abroad; and though it might have been difficult in any other man to have done so, without incurring the imputation of self-conceit and vanity, yet Mr. Boyle’s manner is such, as only to raise in us an higher esteem and admiration of him. This advertisement is inserted at length in his life. | He now began to find that his health and strength, notwithstanding all his care and caution, gradually declined, as he observes in a letter to M. le Clerc, dated May 30, 1689; which put him upon using every possible method of husbanding his remaining time for the benefit of the learned. In doing this, as a certain writer says, he preferred generals to particulars; and the assistance of the whole republic of letters to that of any branch, by what ties soever he might be connected therewith. It was with this view, that he no longer communicated particular discourses or new discoveries to the royal society; because this could not be done, without withdrawing his thoughts from tasks which he thought of still greater importance. It was the more steadily to attend to these, that he resigned his post of governor of the corporation for propagating the gospel in New England; nay, he went so far as to signifyto the world, that he could no longer receive visits as usual, in an advertisement, which begins in the following manner. “Mr. Boyle finds himself obliged to intimate to those of his friends and acquaintance, that are wont to do him the honour and favour of visiting him, 1. That he has by some unlucky accidents, namely, by his servant’s breaking a bottle of oil of vitriol over a chest which contained his papers, had many of his writings corroded here and there, or otherwise so maimed, that without he himself ’fill up the lacunae out of his memory or invention, they will not be intelligible. 2. That his age and sickliness have for a good while admonished him to put his scattered, and partly defaced, writings into some kind of order, that they may not remain quite useless. And, 3. That his skilful and friendly physician, sir Edmund King, seconded by Mr. Boyle’s best friends, has pressingly advised him against speaking daily with so many persons as are wont to visit him, representing it as what cannot but much waste his spirits,” &c. He ordered likewise a board to be placed over his door, with an inscription signifying when he did and did not receive visits.

Among the other great works, which by this means he gained time to finish, there is reason to believe, that one was a collection of elaborate processes in chemistry; concerning which he wrote a letter to a friend, which is still extant; but the piece itself was never published, though we read in the letter, “that he left it as a kind of hermetic legacy to the studious disciples of that art.” Besides these | papers, committed to the care of one whom he esteemed his friend, he left also very many behind him at the time of his death, relating to chemistry; which, as appears by a Jetter directed to one of his executors, he desired might be inspected by three physicians whom he named, and that gome of the most valuable might be preserved. “Indeed,” says the writer of his life, “it is highly reasonable to suppose, that many important discoveries were contained in them; chemistry being his favourite study, and opening to him perpetually such a new scene of wonders, as easily persuaded him of the possibility of transmuting metals into gold. This persuasion of his is evident from several parts of his writings, and was avowed by himself to the great Dr. Halley, the lateroyal astronomer, who related to me his conversation with him upon that subject. And it was probably in consequence of this opinion, that he took so much pains to procure, as he did in August 1689, an act for the repeal of a statute made in the fifth year of king Henry IV. against the multiplying of gold and silver.

In the mean time Mr. Boyle published some other works before his death; as, 38. “Medicina Hydrostatica or, Hydrostatics applied to the materia medica, shewing how, by the weight that divers bodies used in physic have in water, one may discover whether they be genuine or adulterate. To which is subjoined a previous hydrostatical way of estimating ores,1690, 8vo. He informs us, in the postscript of this treatise, that he had prepared materials for a second volume, which he intended to publish; but it never appeared. 39. “The Christian virtuoso; shewing that, by being addicted to experimental philosophy, a man is rather assisted than indisposed to be a good Christian.” The first part. To which are subjoined, 1. A discourse about the distinction that represents some things as above reason, but not contrary to reason. 2. The first chapters of a discourse, intituled, Greatness of mind promoted by Christianity, 1690, 8vo. In the advertisement prefixed to this work, he mentions a second part of the Christian virtuoso; which, however, he did not live to finish. But the papers he left behind him for that purpose are printed, imperfect as they are, in the edition of his collected works. The last work, which he published himself, was in the spring of 1691; and is intituled, 40. <l Experimenta & observationes physicje; wherein are briefly treated of, several subjects relating to natural philosophy in an experimental way. | To which is added, a small collection of strange reports," 8vo.

About the entrance of the summer, he began to feel such an alteration in his health, as induced him to think of settling his affairs; and accordingly, on the 18th of July, he signed and sealed his last will, to which he afterwards added several codicils. In October his distempers increased; which might perhaps be owing to his tender concern for the tedious illness of his dear sister the lady Ranelagh, with whom he had lived many years in the greatest harmony and friendship, and whose indisposition brought her to the grave on the 23d of December following. He did not survive her above a week; for, on the 30th of December 1691, he departed this life in the 65th year of his age.

He was buried in St. Martin’s church in the Fields, Westminster, on the 7th of January following: and his funeral sermon was preached by his friend Dr. Gilbert Burnet, bishop of Salisbury. The bishop made choice upon this occasion of a text very apposite to his subject, namely, “For God giveth to a man, that is good in his sight, wisdom, knowledge, and joy.” Eccles. xi. 26. After explaining the meaning of the words, he applies the doctrine to the honourable person deceased; of whom, he tells us, he was the better able to give a character, from the many happy hours he had spent in conversation with him, in the course of nine-and-twenty years. He gives a large account of Mr. Boyle’s sincere and unaffected piety, and more especially of his zeal for the Christian religion, without having any narrow notions concerning it, or mistaking, as so many do, a bigoted heat in favour of a particular sect, for that zeal which is the ornament of a true Christian. He mentions, as a proof of this, his noble foundation for lectures in defence of the gospel against infidels of all sorts; the effects of which have been so conspicuous in the many volumes of excellent discourses which have been published hi consequence of that noble and pious foundation .*


The design of these lectures, as expressed by the founder, is, to prove the truth of the Christian religion against infidels, without descending to any controversies among Christians; and to answer new difficulties, scruples, &c. For the support of this lecture, he assigned the rent of his house in Crooked-lane to some learned divine within the bills of mortality, to be elected for a term not exceeding three years, by the late archbishop Tenison, and others. But the fund proving precarious, the salary was ill paid: to remedy which inconvenience, the said archbishop procured a yearly stipend of 50 pounds, for ever, to be paid quarterly; charged on a farm in the


parish of Brill, in the county of Bucks, To this appointment we are indebted for many elaborate defences both of natural and revealed religion. A collection of these sermons from the year 1691 to 1732, was printed in 1739, under the title of “A defence of natural and revealed religion,” in 3 vols. fol.; and those of several of the preach ers have been printed and published in distinct volumes. An abridgement of these lectures in 4 vols. 8vo. was published by the rev. Mr. Gilbert Burnet, vicar of Coggeshall, in Essex, who died in 1746; and a complete list of all the preachers since the foundation to the present time may be seen in Nichols’s Life of Bowyer, vol. VI. p. 453—456.

He | had, says our prelate, designed it in his life-time, though some accidents did, upon great considerations, divert him from settling it; but not from ordering by his last will, that a liberal provision should be made for one who should, in a very few well-digested sermons, every year set forth the truth of the Christian religion in general, without descending to the subdivisions among Christians. He was at the charge of the translation and impression of the New Testament into the Malayan tongue, which he sent over all the East Indies. He gave a noble reward to him that translated Grotius’s incomparable book of the truth of the Christian religion into Arabic: and was at the charge of a whole impression, which he took care should be dispersed in all the countries where that language is understood. He was re* solved to have carried on the impression of the New Testa-, meut in the Turkish language; but the company thought it became them to be the doers of it, and so suffered him only to give a large share towards it. He was at 700l. charge in the edition of the Irish Bible, which he ordered to be distributed in Ireland: and he contributed liberally, both to the impression of the Welsh Bible, and of the Irish Bible for Scotland. He gave, during his life, 300l. to advance the design of propagating the Christian religion in America; and, as soon as he heard that the East India company were entertaining propositions for the like design in the East, he presently sent a hundred pounds for a beginning, as an example; but intended to carry it much farther when it should be set on foot to purpose. When he understood how large a share he had in impropriations, he ordered considerable sums to be given to the incumbents in those parishes, and even to the widows of those who were dead before this distribution of his bounty. He did this twice in his life-time, to the amount of above 600l. and or­.dered another distribution, as far as his estate would bear, by his will. In other respects his charities were so bountiful and extensive, that they amounted, as this prelate tells | us, from hfs own knowledge, to upwards of 1000l. per annum.

But that part of his discourse which concerns us most, is, the copious and eloquent account he has given of this great man’s abilities. “His knowledge,” says he, “was of so vast an extent, that if it were not for the variety of vouchers in their several sorts, I should be afraid to say all I know. He carried the study of the Hebrew very far into the rabbinical writings, and the other oriental tongues, He had read so much of the fathers, that he had formed a clear judgment of all the eminent ones. He had read a vast deal on the scriptures, had gone very nicely through the various controversies in religion, tind was a true master of the whole body of divinity. He read the whole compass of the mathematical sciences; and, though he did not set himself to spring any new game, yet he knew the abstrusest parts of geometry. Geography, in the several parts of it that related to navigation or travelling; history and books of novels, were his diversions. He went very nicely through all the parts of physic; only the tenderness of his nature made him less able to endure the exactness of anatomical dissections, especially of living animals, though he knew these to be most instructing. But for the history of nature, ancient and modern, of the productions of allcountries, of the virtues and improvements of plants, of ores, and minerals, and all the varieties that are in them jn different climates, he was by much, by very much, the readiest and’ the perfectest I ever knew, in the greatest compass, and with the nicest exactness. This put him in the way of making all that vast variety of experiments beyond any man, as far as we know, that ever lived. And in these, as he made a great progress in new discoveries, so he used so nice a strictness, and delivered them with so scrupulous a truth, that all who have examined them have found how safely the world may depend upon them. But his peculiar and favourite study was chemistry, in which he was engaged with none of those ravenous and ambitious designs that drew many into it. His design was only to find out nature, to see into what principles things might be resolved, and of what they were compounded, and to prepare good medicaments for the bodies of men. He spent neither his time nor fortune upon the vain pursuits of high promises and pretensions. He always kept himself within the compass that his estate might well bear and, | as he made chemistry much the better for his dealing in it, so he never made himself either worse or the poorer for it. It was a charity to others, as well as an entertainment to himself; for the produce of it was distributed by his sister and others, into whose hands he put it.” To thiseulogium of the bishop, we will only add that of the celebrated physician, philosopher, and chemist, Dr. Herman Boerhaave; who, after having declared lord Bacon to be the father of experimental philosophy, asserts, that “Mr. Boyle, the ornament of his age and country, succeeded to the genius and enquiries of the great chancellor Verulam. Which,” says he, “of all Mr. Boyle’s writings shall I recommend? All of them. To him we owe the secrets of fire, air, water, animals, vegetables, fossils: so that from his works may be deduced the whole system of natural knowledge.” The reader perhaps recollects, that Mr. Boyle was born the same year in which lord Bacon died. “Sol occubuitj nox nulla secuta est.

As to the person of this great man, we are told that he was tall, but slender; and his countenance pale and emaciated. His constitution was so tender and delicate, that he had divers sorts of cloaks to put on when he went abroad, according to the temperature of the air; and in this he governed himself by his thermometer. He escaped indeed the small-pox during his life; but for almost forty years he laboured under such a feebleness of body, and such lowness of strength and spirits, that it was astonishing how he could read, meditate, make experiments, and write as he did. He had likewise a weakness in his eyes, which made him very tender of them, and extremely apprehensive of such distempers as might affect them. He imagined also, that if sickness should confine him to his bed, it might raise the pains of the stone to a degree which might be above his strength to support; so that he feared lest his last minutes should be too hard for him. This was the ground of all the caution and apprehension with which he was observed to live: but as to life itself, he had that just indifference for it, which became a philosopher and a Christian. However, his sight began to grow dim, not above four hours before he died; and, when death came upon him, it was with so little pain, that the flame appeared to go out merely for want of oil to maintain it. The reader may wonder that Mr. Boyle was never made a peer; especially when it is remembered, that his four elder | brothers were all peers. A peerage was, however, often offered him, and as often refused by him. It is easy to imagine, that he might have had any thing he should express an inclination for. He was always a favourite at court: and king Charles II. James II. and king William, were so highly pleased with his conversation, that they often used to discourse with him in the most familiar manner. Not that Mr. Boyle was at any time a courtier; he spake freely of the government, even in times which he disliked, and upon occasions when he was ohliged to condemn it; but then he always did it, as indeed he did every thing of that nature, with an exactness of respect.

Mr. Boyle was never married: but Mr. Evelyn was assured, that he once courted the beautiful and ingenious daughter of Gary, earl of Monmouth; and that to this passion was owing his Seraphick Love. In the memorandum of Mr. Boyle’s life, set down by bishop Burnet, it is remarked, that he abstained from marriage, at first out of policy, afterwards more philosophically; and we find, by a letter of Dr. John Wallis to him, dated at Oxford, July 17, 1669, that he had an overture made him with respect to the lady Mary Hastings, sister to the earl of Hunting, don. But it does not appear from any of his papers, that he had ever entertained the least thoughts of that kind; nay, there is a letter of his, written when he was young to the lady Barrymore his niece, who had informed him of a report that he was actually married, which almost shews that he never did. The letter is written with great politeness, and in the true spirit of gallantry; and is a clear proof, that though Mr. Boyle did not choose to marry, yet it was no misanthropic cynical humour which restrained him from it. It is impossible to entertain the reader better, than by presenting him with that part of it which concerns the point in question. " It is high time for me to hasten the payment of the thanks I owe your ladyship for the joy you are pleased to wish me, and of which that wish possibly gives me more than the occasion of it would. You have certainly reason, madam, to suspend your belief of a marriage, celebrated by no priest but fame, and made unknown to the supposed bridegroom. I may possibly ere long give you a fit of the spleen upon this theme; but at present it were incongruous to blend such pure raillery, as I ever prate of matrimony and amours with, among things I am so serious in, as those this scribble presents you. I' | shall therefore only tell you, that the little gentleman and I are still at the old defiance. You have carried away too many of the perfections of your sex, to leave enough in this country for the reducing so stubborn a heart as mine; whose conquest were a task of so much difficulty, and is so little worth it, that the latter property is always likely to deter any, that hath beauty and merit enough to overcome the former. But though this untamed heart be thus insensible to the thing itself called love, it is yet very accessible to things very near of kin to that passion; and esteem, friendship, respect, and even admiration, are things that their proper objects fail not proportionably to exact of me, and consequently are qualities, which, in their highest degrees, are really and constantly paid my lady Barrymore by her most obliged humble servant, and affectionate uncle,

Robert Boyle.

Mr. Boyle’s posthumous works are as follow: 1. “The general history of the Air designed and begun,1692, 4to. Concerning the nature and value of this work, we have the testimonies of two of the most ingenious and able men of that age, Mr. Locke and Mr. Molineux. Mr. Locke, in a letter to Mr. Molineux, dated December 26, 1692, observes, that, though this treatise was left imperfect, “yet I think,” says he, “the very design of it will please you; and it is cast into a method, that any one who pleases may Add to it under any of the several titles, as his reason and observation shall furnish him with matter of fact. If such men as you are, curious and knowing, would join to what Mr. Boyle had collected and prepared, what comes in their way, we might hope in some time to have a considerable history of the air, than which I scarce know any part Of natural philosophy would yield more variety and use. But it is a subject too large for the attempts of any one man, and will require the assistance of many hands, to make it an history very short of complete.” To which Mr. Molineux answered: “I am extremely obliged to you for Mr. Boyle’s book of the air, which lately came to my hands. It is a vast design, and not to be finished but by the united labours of many heads, and indefatigably prosecuted for many years; so that I despair of seeing any thing complete therein. However, if many will lend the same helping hands that you have done, I should be in hopes; and certainly there is not a chapter in all natural philosophy of greater use to mankind than what is here proposed.| 2. “General heads for the natural history of a conntryy great or sinall; drawn out for the use of travellers and navigators. To which are added, other directions ior navigators, &c. with particular observations on the most noted countries in the world. By another hand.1692, 12mo. These general heads were first printed in the Philosophical Transactions, being drawn up by Mr. Boyle, at the request of the royal society. The other directions added in this edition were drawn up by various persons at divers times, by order of the royal society, and printed in different numbers of the Philosophical Transactions; but, being in pursuance of the plan sketched out by Mr. Boyle, were very properly annexed to the preceding ones. 3. A paper of the honourable Robert Boyle’s, deposited with the secretaries of the royal society, October 14, 1680, and opened since his death; being an account of his making the phosphorus, Sept. 30, 1680; printed in the Philosophical Transactions. 4. An account of a way of examining waters, as to freshness or saltness.To be subjoined as an appendix to a lately printed letter about sweetened water, Oct. 30, 1683; printed in the Philosophical Transactions. 5. “A free discourse against customary swearing, and a dissuasive from cursing,1695, 8vo. 6. “Medicinal experiments: or, a collection of choice remedies, chiefly simple, and easily prepared, useful in families, and fit for the service of the country people. The third and last volume, published from the author’s original manuscript; whereunto are added several useful notes, explicatory of the same,1698, 12mo. The first edition of this book was printed in 1688, under the title of Receipts sent to a friend in America: in 1692, it was reprinted with the Addition of a second part, and a new preface: and in 1698, as we now observe, was added the third and last volume. They have been all several times reprinted since in a single volume, and justly accounted the best collection of the kind.

These posthumous works, joined to those before mentioned, together with many pieces in the Philosophical Transactions, which we had not room to be particular about, were all printed in one collection, at London, in 5 volumes folio, and 6 volumes 4to. Dr. Shaw also published in 3 volumes 4to, the same works “abridged, methodized, and disposed under the general heads of Physics, Statics, Pneumatics, Natural History, Chymistry, and | Medicine” to which he has prefixed a short catalogue of the philosophical writings, according to the order of time when they were first published, Sec. 1

1 Birch’s Life. Biog. Brit.