Petty, William

, a singular instance of an almost universal genius, and of learning, mechanical ingenuity, and ceconomy, applied to useful purposes, was the eldest son of Anthony Petty, a clothier at Rumsey, in Hampshire, and was born May 16, 1623. It does not appear that his father was a man of much property, as he left this son none | at his death, in 1641, and contributed very little to his maintenance. When young, the boy took extraordinary pleasure in viewing various mechanics at their work, and so readily conceived the natjure of their employment, and the use of their tools, that he was, at the age of twelve, able to iiandle the latter with dexterity not much inferior to that of the most expert workmen in any trade which he had ever seen. What education he had was first at the grammar-school at Rum?ey, where, according to his own account, he acquired, before the age of fifteen, a competent knowledge of the Latin, Greek, and French languages, and became master of the common rules of arithmetic, geometry, dialling, and the astronomical part of navigation. With this uncommon fund of various knowledge he removed, at the above age of fifteen, to the university of Caen in Normandy. This circumstance is mentioned among those particulars of his early life which he has given in his will, although, by a blunder of the transcriber, Oxford is put for Caen in Collir.s’s Peerage. Wood says that, when he went to Caen, “with a little stock of merchandizing which he then improved, he maintained himself there, learning the French tongue, and at eighteen years of age, the arts and mathematics.” Mr. Aubrey’s account is in these not very perspicuous words: “He has told me, there happened to him the most remarkable accident of life (which he did not tell me), and which was the foundation of all the rest of his greatness and acquiring riches. He informed me that about fifteen, in March, he went over to Caen, in Normandy, in a vessel that went hence, with a little stock, and began to play the merchant, and had so good successe that he maintained himselfe, and also educated himselfe: this I guesse was that most remarkable accident that he meant. Here he learned the French tongue, and perfected himself in Latin, and had Greeke enough to serve his turne. At Caen he studyed the arts. At eighteen, he was (I have heard him say) a better mathematician than he is now; but when occasion is, he knows how to recurre to more mathematical knowledge.” These accounts agree in the main points, and we may learn from both that he had at a very early period begun that money-making system which enabled him to realize a vast fortune. He appears to have been of opinion, that “there are few ways in which a man can be more harmlessly employed than in making money.| On his return to his native country, he speaks of being 1 preferred to^the king’s navy, but in what capacity is not known.*


Aubrey says that he was first bound apprentice to a sea-cap’ain, who once “drubbed him with a cord” for not discovering a land-mark which he desired him to go aloft and look far. It was on this occasion, Mr. Petty said, that he first found out that he was near-sighted.

This he attributes to the knowledge he had acquired, and his “having been at the university of Caen.” In the navy, however, before he was twenty years of age, he got together about 60l. and the civil war raging at this time, he determined to set out on his travels, for further improvement in his studies. He had now chosen medicine as a profession, and in the year 1643, visited Leyden, Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Paris, at which last city he studied anatomy, and read Vesalixis with the celebrated Hobbes, who was partial to him. Hobbes was then writing on optics, and Mr. Petty, who had a turn that way, drew his diagrams, &c. for him. While at Paris, he informed Aubrey that “at one time he was driven to a great streight for money, and told him, that he lived a week or two on three pennyworths of walnuts.” Aubrey likewise queries whether he was not some time a prisoner there. His ingenuity and industry, however, appear to have extricated him from his difficulties, for we have his own authority that; he returned home in 1646, a richer man by IQl. than he set out, and yet had maintained his brother Anthony as well as himself.

How this 70l. accumulated will appear by his will. It may suffice here to mention, that in the following year March 6, a patent was granted him by parliament for seventeen years, for a copying machine, as it would now be termed, but which he calls an instrument for double writing. In an advertisement prefixed to his “Advice to Mr. Samuel Hartlib,” he calls it, “an instrument of small bulk and price, easily made, and very durable; whereby any man, even at the first sight and handling, may write two resembling copies of the same thing at once, as serviceably and as fast (allowing two lines upon each page for setting the instruments) as by the ordinary way, of what nature, or in what character, or what matter soever, as, paper, parchment, a book, &c. the said writing ought-to be made upon.” Rushworth also, having mentioned the patent for teaching this art, transcribes nearly our author’s words; and says, “It might be learnt in an hour’s | practice, and that it was of great advantage to lawyers, scriveners, merchants, scholars, registers, clerks, &c. it saving the labour of examination, discovering or preventing falsification, and performing the whole business of writing, as with ease and speed, so with privacy also.” The additional fatigue occasioned to the hand, by the increase of weight above that of a pen, rendered this project useless as to the chief advantage proposed, that of expedition in writing: but it seems to have been applied with some alterations to the business of drawing; the instrument for which is too well known to need any description here.

Though this project therefore was not very profitable in itself, yet by this means he became acquainted with the leading men of those times. He next wrote some very sensible remarks on national education in useful branches of knowledge, in a pamphlet entitled “Advice to Mr. Hartlib for the Advancement of Learning,” and in 1648, went to Oxford, where having no scruples respecting the state of political parties, he taught anatomy to the young scholars, and became deputy to Dr. Clayton professor of anatomy, who had an insurmountable aversion to the sight of a mangled corpse. He also practised physic and chemistry with good success; and rose into such reputation, that the philosophical meetings which preceded the Royal Society, were first held (for the most part) at his lodgings: and by a parliamentary recommendation he obtained a fellowship of Brazen-nose college, in the place of one of the ejected fellows, and was created doctor of physic, March 7, 1649. He was admitted a candidate of the college of physicians, June 25, 1650. The same year, he was chiefly concerned in the recovery of a woman who had been hanged at Oxford, for the supposed murder of her bastard child*.

On Jan. 1, 1651, he was made professor of anatomy;

* This was one Ann* Green, exe- fellow stamped with all his force on her

euted at Oxford, Dec. 14, 1650. The breast and stomach, to put her out of

siory is, that she was hauged by the her pain; but by the assistance of the

neck near half an hour; some of her doctors Petty, Willis, Bathurst, and

friends, in the mean time, thumping Clarke, she was again brought to life,

her on the breast, others hanging with “1 myself,” says Derham, " saw her

all their weight upon her legs, some- many years after that. She had, I

limes lifting her up, and then pulling heard, born divers children." Phyber down again with a sudden jerk, sico-Theol. See also a printed account

thereby the sooner to dispatch her out of it, entitled “News from the Dead,

of her pain. After she was in her cof- &c. edit. 1651, and in Morgan’s Phwfin, being observed to breathe, a lusty nix, 4to. | and, Feb. 7, music professor at Gresham college, by the interest of his friend Dr. Graunt. In 1652, he was appointed physician to the army in Ireland, and he was likewise physician to three lords lieutenants successively, Lambert, Fleetwood, and Henry Cromwell.

Some time after his settlement in Ireland, having observed, that the lands forfeited by the rebellion in 1641, which had been adjudged to the soldiers who suppressed it, were very insufficiently measured, he represented the matter to the persons then in power, who granted him a contract, dated Dec. 11, 1654, to make the admeasurements anew; and these he finished with such exactness, that there was no estate of 60l. per annum, and upwards, which was not distinctly marked in its true value, maps being likewise made by him of the whole. By this contract he gained a Very considerable sum of money. Besides 20s. a day, which he received during the performance, he had also a penny an acre by agreement with the soldiers: and it appears from an order of government, dated at the castle of Dublin, 19th March, 1655, that he had then surveyed 2,008,000 acres of forfeited profitable land. He was likewise one of the commissioners for setting out the lands to the army, after they were surveyed. When Henry Cromwell obtained the lieutenancy of that kingdom in 1655, he made the doctor his secretary, appointed him a clerk of the council there in 1657, and procured him to be elected a burgess for West Looe in Cornwall, in Richard CromweiPs parliament, which met Jan. 27, 1658. March the 25th following, sir Hierom Sankey, or Zanchy, member for Woodstock in Oxfordshire, impeached him for high crimes and misdemeanors, in the execution of his office. This brought him into England, when, appearing in the House of Commons, April 19, he answered to the charge on the 21st; to which his prosecutors replying, the matter was adjourned, but never came to an issue, that parliament being suddenly dissolved the next day. Henry Cromwell had written a letter to secretary Thurloe, dated the llth of that month, in his favour, as follows: “Sir, I have heretofore told you my thoughts of Dr. Petty, and am still of the same opinion: and, if sir Hierom Sankey do not run him down with numbers and noise of adventurers, and such other like concerned persons, I believe the parliament will find him as I have represented. He has curiously deceived me these four years, if he be a knave. I am sure | the juntos of them, who are most busy, are not men of the quietest temper. I do not expect you will have leisure, or see cause, to appear much for him; wherefore this is only to let you understand my present thoughts of him. The activeness of Robert Reynolds and others in this business, shews, that Petty is not the only mark aimed at.

Upon his return to Ireland soon after, some further endeavours being used to bring on a prosecution, Petty published the same year, “A Brief of the Proceedings between sir Hierom Sankey and the author, with the state of the controversy between them,” in three sheets; which was followed by “Reflections upon some Persons and Things in Ireland,” &c. He then came again to England and brought a very warm application in his favour from the lord lieutenant, in these terms: “Sir, the bearer, Dr. Petty, hath been my secretary, and clerk of the council here in Ireland, and is one whom I have known to be an honest and ingenious man. He is like to fall into some trouble from some who envy him. I desire you to be acquainted with him, and to assist him, wherein he shall reasonably desire it. Great endeavours have been used to beget prejudice against him; but when you speak with him, he will appear otherwise.” Notwithstanding this, he was removed from his public employments in June.

It may be here necessary, for the sake of his very curious answer, to mention the charges which his enemies brought against him: These were, 1. “That he the said Dr. Petty had received great bribes. 2. That he had made a trade of buying debentures in vast numbers, against the statute. 3. That he had gotten vast sums of money and scopes of land by fraud. 4. That he had used many foul practices as surveyor and commissioner for setting out lands. 5. That he and his fellow-commissioners had placed some debentures in better places than they could claim, denying right to others. 6. That he and his fellow-commissioners had totally disposed of the army’s security; the debt still remaining chargeable on the state.

The principal object of his answer is to demonstrate that he might, without ever meddling with the surveys of the Irish lands, have acquired as large a fortune otherwise; and his demonstration must be allowed the praise of ingenuity at least: “In the year 1649” (says he), “1 proceeded M. D. after the charges whereof, and my admission into the college of London, I had left about 60l. From that time till | about August 1652, by my practice, fellowship at Gresham, and at Brazen-nose college, and by my anatomy lecture at Oxford, I had made that 60l. to be near 500?. From August 16, 1652, when I went for Ireland, to December 1654 (when I began the survey and other public entanglements) with WOl. advance money, and of 365l.*a year well paid salary, as also with my practice among the chief in the chief city of the nation, I made my said 5001. above 1,600l. Now the interest of this 1600l. for a year in Ireland, could not be less than 200l. which, with 550l. (for another year’s salary and practice, viz. until the lands were set out in October 1655) would have encreased my said stock to 2,3 50l. With 2,000l. whereof I would have bought 8,000l. in debentures, which would have then purchased me about 15,000 acres of land, viz. as much as I am now accused to have. ‘These 15,000 acres could not yield me less than, at 2s. per acre, 1,500l. per ann. especially receiving the rents of May-day preceding. This year’s rent with 550l. for my salary and practice, &c. till December 1656, would have bought me even then (debentures growing dearer) 6,000l. in debentures, whereof the five 7thg then paid would have been about 4,000l. neat, for which I must have had about 8,000 acres more, being as much almost as I conceive is due to me. The rent for 15,000 acres and 8,000 acres, for three years, could not have been less than 7,000l. which, with the same three years’ salary, viz. 1,650l. would have been near 9,000l. estate in money, above the abovementioned 1,500l. per ann. in lands. The which, whether it be more or less than what I now have, I leave to all the world to examine and, judge. This estate I might have got without ever meddling with surveys, much less with the more fatal distribution of lands after they were surveyed, and without meddling with the clerkship of the council, or being, secretary to the lord lieutenant: all which had I been so happy as to have declined, then had I preserved an universal favour and interest with all men, instead of the odium and persecution I now endure.” In this manner, he endeavours to prove how he might have made his fortune. How he did make it will appear hereafter in his will.

In 1659, he had enough of the republican spirit as to become a member of the Rota Club at Miles’ s coffee-house in New Palace-yard, Westminster. The whimsical scheme of this club was, that all officers of state should be chosen | by balloting, and the time limited for holding their places; and that a certain number of members of parliament should be annually changed by rotation. But he returned to Ireland not long after Christmas, and at the Restoration came into England, and was received very graciously by his majesty; and, resigning his professorship at Gresham, was made one of the commissioners of the court of claims. On April 11, 1661, he received the honour of knighthood, and the grant of a new patent, constituting him surveyor-general of Ireland; and was chosen a member of parliament there. Upon the foundation of the Royal Society, he was bne of the first members, and of the first council; and, though he had left off the practice of physic, yet his name appears in the list of the fellows in the new charter of the college of physicians in 1663. About this time he invented a double-bottomed ship, to sail against wind and tide, the model of which he gave to the Royal Society. In 1665, he communicated “A Discourse about the Building of Ships,” containing some curious secrets in that art. This was said to have been taken away by lord Brounker, president of the Royal Society, who kept it in his possession till 1682, and probably till his death, as containing matter too important to be divulged. Sir William’s ship performed one voyage from Dublin to Holyhead, into which narrow harbour she turned in against wind and tide, July 1663; but after that was lost in a violent storm.

In 1666, sir William drew up his treatise, called “Verbum Sapienti,” containing an account of the wealth and expences of England, and the method of raising taxes in the most equal manner; shewing likewise, that England can bear the charge of four millions per annum, when the occasions of the government require it! The same year, 1666, he suffered a considerable loss by the fire of London; having purchased, several years before, the earl of Arunders house and gardens, and erected buildings in the garden, called Token-house, which were for the most part destroyed by that dreadful conflagration. In 1667, he married Elizabeth, daughter to sir Hardresse Waller, knight, and relict of sir Maurice Fenton, bart. and afterwards set up iron works, and a pilchard-fishery, opened lead- mines, and commenced a timber trade in Kerry, which turned to very good account; and with all these employments he found time to consider other subjects of general utility, which he communicated to the Royal Society, He | composed a piece of Latin poetry, and published it at London in 1679, in two folio sheets, under the name of ’ Cassid. Aureus Manutius,“with the title of” Colloquium Davidis cum anima sua.“His patriotism had before led him to use his endeavours to support the expence of the war against the Dutch, and he felt it necessary also to expose the sinister practices of the French, who were at this time endeavouring to raise disturbances in England, increase our divisions, and corrupt the parliament at this time. With this vievr he published, in 1680, a piece called” The Politician Discovered,“&c. and afterwards wrote several essays in political arithmetic; in which, from a view of the natural strength both of England and Ireland, he suggests a method of improving each by industry and frugality, so as to be a match for, or even superior to, either of her neighbours. Upon the first meeting of the Philosophical Society at Dublin, after the plan of that at London, every thing was submitted to his direction; and, when it was formed into a regular society, he was chosen president, Nov. 1684. UpoiKthis occasion he drew up a” Catalogue of mean, vulgar, cheap, and simple Experiments,“proper for the infant state of the society, and presented it to them; as he did also his” Supellex Philosophica," consisting of fortyfive instruments requisite to carry on the design of their institution. But, a few years after, all his pursuits were determined by the effects of a gangrene in his foot, occasioned by the swelling of the gout, which put a period to his life, at his house in Piccadilly, Westminster, Dec. 16, 1687, in his sixty-fifth year. His body was carried to Rumsey, and there interred, near those of his parents. There was laid over his grave only a flat stone on the pavement, with this short inscription, cut by an illiterate workman:

Here Layes

Sir William


His will is altogether, perhaps, the most extraordinary composition of the kind in our language, and is more illustrative of the character of sir William Petty than any information derived from other sources.

This singular composition bears date May 2, 1685, and runs thus: “In the name of God, Amen. I, sir William. Petty, knt. born at Rumsey, in Hantshire, do, revoking all other and former wills, make this my last will and | testament, premising the ensuing preface to the same, whereby to express my condition, design, intentions, and desires, concerning the persons and things contained in, and relating to, my said will, for the better expounding any thing which may hereafter seem doubtful therein, and also for justifying, on behalf of my children, the manner and means of getting and acquiring the estate, which I hereby bequeath unto them; exhorting them to improve the same by no worse negociations. In the first place I declare and affirm, that at the full age of fifteen years I had obtained the Latin, Greek, and French tongues, the whole body of common Arithmetic, the practical Geometry and Astronomy conducing to Navigation, Dialling, &c. with the knowledge of several mathematical trades, all which, and having been at the university of Caen, preferred me to the king’s navy; where, at the age of twenty years, I had gotten up about threescore pounds, with as much mathematics as any of my age was known to have had. With this provision, anno 1643, when the civil wars between the king and parliament grew hot, I went into the Netherlands and France for three years, and having vigorously followed my studies, especially that of medicine, at Utrecht, Leyden, Amsterdam, and Paris, I returned to Rumsey, where I was born, bringing back with me my brother Anthony, whom I had bred, with about 10l. more than I had carried out of England. With this 70l. and my endeavours, in less than four years more, I obtained my degree of M. D. in Oxford, and forthwith thereupon to be admitted into the College of Physicians, London, and into several clubs of the Virtuous (Virtuosi); after all which expence defrayed, I had left 28l. and in the next two years being made Fellow of Brazen -Nose, and Anatomy Professor in Oxford, and also Reader at Gresham-college, I advanced my said stock to about 400l. and with 100l. more advanced and given me to go for Ireland, unto full 500l. Upon the 10th of September, 1652, I landed, at Waterford in Ireland, Physician to the army who had suppressed the rebellion begun in the year 1641, and to the general of the same, and the head quarters, at the rate of 20^. per diem, at which I continued till June 1659, gaining, by my practice, about 400l. a year above the said salary. About Sept. 1654, I perceiving that the admeasurement of the lands, furfrited by the aforementioned rebellion, and intended to regulate the satisfaction of the soldiers who | hadsuppressed the same, was most insufficiently and absurdly managed; I obtained a contract, dated llth December, 1654, for making the said admeasurement, and, by God’s blessing, so performed the same, as that I gained about 9,000l. thereby, which, with the 500l. abovementioned, and my salary of 20s. per diem, the benefit of my practice, together with 600l. given me for directing an after survey of the adventurer’s lands, and 800l. more for two years’ salary as clerk of the council, raised me an estate of about 13,000l. in ready and real money, at a time when, without art, interest, or authority, men bought as much lands for ten shillings in real money, as in this year, 1685, yields 10s. per annum rent, above his majesty’s quit-rents. Now I bestowed part of the said 13,000l. in soldier’s debentures, part in purchasing the earl of Arundel’s house and garden in Lothbury, London, and part I kept in cash to answer emergencies. Hereupon I. purchased lands inIreland, with soldiers’ debentures *, bought at the above market-rates, a great part whereof I lost by the Court of Innocents, anno 1663; and built the said garden, called Tokenhouse Yard, in Lothbury, which was for the most part destroyed by the dreadful fire, anno 1666. Afterwards, anno 1667, I married Elizabeth, the relict of sir Maurice Fenton, bart. I set up iron-works and pilchard-fishing in Kerry, and opened the lead -mines and timber-trade in Kerry: by all which, and some advantageous bargains, and with living under my income, I have, at the making this my will, the real and personal estate following: viz. a large house and four tenements in Rumsey, with four acres of meadow upon the causeway, and four acres of arable in the fields, called Marks and Woollsworths, in all about 30A per ann.; houses in Token-house Yard, near Lothbury, London, with a lease in Piccadilly, and the Seven Stars and Blazing Star in Birching-lane, London, worth about 500l. per annum, besides mortgages upon certain houses in Hoglane, near Shoreditch, in London, and in Erith, in Kent, worth about 20l. per annum. I have three fourth parts of the ship Charles, whereof Derych Paine is master, which I value at 80l. per annum, as also the copper-plates for the maps of Ireland with the king’s privilege, which I rate at lOOl. per annum, in all 730l. per annum. I have in

* These were, by act, 1649, or- pay the soldier creditor, or his assigns, dained to be in the. nature of bonds or the sum due upon auditing the account kails, to oharge the Commonwealth to of his arrears.
| Ireland, without the county of Kerry, in lands, remainders, and reversions, about 3,100l. per annum. I have of neat profits, out of the lands and woods of Kerry, above 1,100l. per annum, besides iron-works, fishing, and leadmines, and marble-quarries, worth 600l. per annum; in all 4,800l. I have, as my wife’s jointure, during her life, about 850l. per annum; and for fourteen years after her death about 2001. per ann. I have, by 3,300l. money at interest, 20l. per annum; in all about 6,700l. per annum. The personal estate is as follows, viz. in chest, 6,600l.; in the hands of Adam Loftus, 1,296l.; of Mr. John Cogs, goldsmith, of London, 1,2 5 1l.; in silver, plate, and jewels, about 3,000l.; in furniture, goods, pictures, coach-horses, books, and watches, 1,1 So/.; per estimate in all 12,000l. I value my three chests of original map and field -books, the copies of the Downe-survey, with the Barony-maps*, and chest of distribution-books, with two chests of loose papers relating to the survey, the two great barony-books, and the book of the History of the Survey, altogether at 2,000l. I have due out of Kerry, for arrears of my rent and iron, before 24th June, 1685, the sum of 1,912l. for the next half year’s rent out of my lands in Ireland, my wife’s jointure, and England, on or before 24th June next, 2,000l. Moreover, by arrears due 30th April, 1685, out of all my estate, by estimate, and interest of money, 1,800l. By other good debts, due upon bonds and bills at this time, per estimate, 900l. By debts which I call bad 4000l. worth perhaps 800l. By debts which I call doubtful, 50,0007. worth, perhaps, 25,000l. In all, 34,4 12l. and the total of the whole personal estate, 46,412l.: so as my present income for the year 1685 may be 6,700l. the profits of the personal estate may be 4,64 \l. and the demonstrable improvement of my Irish estate may be 3,659l. per ann. to make in all I5,000l. per ann. in and by all manner of effects, abating for bad debts about 28,000l.; whereupon I say in gross, that my real estate or income may be 6,600l. per ann. my personal estate about 45,000l. my bad and desperate debts 30,000l. and the improvements may be 4,000 /. per ann. in all 15,000l. per ann. ut supra. Now my opinion and desire is (if I could effect it, and if I were clear from the law, custom, and other impediments) to add to my wife’s jointure three fourths of what it now
*The plates of these barony-maps, Anne’s wars by a French privateer, in number two hundred and fifty-two, and are said to be now in the king of were taken on board a ship in queen France’s library.Gough’s Topog.
| is computed at, viz. 637l. per ann. to make the whole 1,487l. per ann. which addition of 637l. and 850l. being deducted out of the aforementioned 6,600l. leaves 5,113l. for my two sons whereof I would my eldest son should have two-thirds, or 3,408l. and the younger 1,705l. and that, after their mother’s death, the aforesaid addition of 637l. should be added in like proportion, making for the eldest 3,S32l. and for the youngest 1,916l. and I would that the improvement of the estate should be equally divided between my two sons; and that the personal estate (taking out 10,000l. for my only daughter) that the rest should be equally divided between my wife and three children; by which method my wife would have 1,587l. per ann. and 9,000l. in personal effects; my daughter would have 10,000l. of the Crame, and 9,000l. more, with less certainty: my eldest son would have 3,800l. per ann. and half the expected improvement, with 9,000l. in hopeful effects, over and above his wife’s portion: and my youngest son would have the same within 1,900l. per ann. I would advise my wife, in this case, to spend her whole l,587l. per ann. that is to say, on her own entertainment, charity, and munificence, without care of increasing her children’s fortunes: and I would she would give away one-third of the above mentioned 9,000l. at her death, even from her children, upon any worthy object, and dispose of the other two-thirds to such of her children and grand-children as pleased her best, without regard to any other rule or proportion. In case of either of my three children’s death under age, I advise as follows; viz. If my eldest, Charles, die without issue, I would that Henry should have three-fourths of what he leaves; and my daughter Anne the rest. If Henry die, I would that what he leaves may be equally divided between Charles and Anne: and if Anne die, that her share be equally divided between Charles and Henry. Memorandum, That I think fit to rate the 30,000l. desperate debts at 1,1 Ooj. only, and to give it my daughter, to make her abovementioned 10,000l. and 9,000l. to be full 20,000l. which is much short of what I have given her younger brother; and the elder brother may have 3,800 per ann. and 9,000l. in money, worth 900l. more, 2,0001. by improvements, and 1,300l. by marriage, to make up the whole to 8,000l. per ann. which is very well for the eldest son, as 20,000l. for the daughter.” He then leaves his wife executrix and guardian during her widowhood, | and, in case of her marriage, her brother James Waller, and Thomas Dame: recommending to them two, and his children, to use the same servants and instruments for management of the estate, as were in his life- time, at certain salaries to continue during their lives, or until his youngest child should be twenty-one years, which would be the 22d of October, 1696, after which his children might put the management of their respective concerns into what hands they pleased. He then proceeds:

I would not have my funeral charge to exceed 300l. over and above which sum I allow and give 150l. to set up a monument in the church of Rumsey, near where my grandfather, father, and mother, were buried, in memory of them, and of all my brothers and sisters. I give also 5l. for a stone to be set up in Lothbury church, London, in memory of my brother Anthony, there buried about 18th October, 1649. I give also 50l. for a small monument to be set up in St. Bride’s church, Dublin, in memory of my son John, and my near kinsman, John Petty, supposing my wife will add thereunto for her excellent son, Sir William Fenton, bart. who was buried there 18th March, 1670-71; and if I myself be buried in any of the said three places, I would have Joo/. only added to the above-named sums, or that the said 100l. shall be bestowed on a monumentfor me in any other place where I shall die. As for legacies for the poor, I am at a stand as for beggars by trade and election, I give them nothing; as for impotents by the hand of God, the public ought to maintain them; as for those who have been bred to no calling nor estate, they should be put upon their kindred; as for those who can get no work, the magistrate should cause them to be employed, which may be well done in Ireland, where is fifteen acres of improvable land for every head; prisoners for crimes, by the King; for debts, by their prosecutors; as for those who compassionate the sufferings of any object, let them relieve themselves by relieving such sufferers, that is, give them alms pro re nata, and for God’s sake relieve those several species above-mentioned, where the above-mentioned obligors fail in their duties: wherefore I am contented that I have assistc I all my poor relations, and put many into a way of getting their own bread, and have laboured in public works, and by inventions have sought out real objects of charity; and do hereby conjure all who partake of my estate, from time | to time to do the same at their peril. Nevertheless, to answer custom, and to take the surer side, 1 give 20l. to the most wanting of the parish wherein I die. As for the education of my children, I would that my daughter might marry in Ireland, desiring that such a sum as I have left her, might not be carried out of Ireland. I wish that my eldest son may get a gentleman’s estate in England, which, by what I have gotten already, intend to purchase, and by what I presume he may have with a wife, may amount to between 2000l. and 3000l. per ann. and buy some office he may get there, together with an ordinary superlucration may reasonably be expected; so as I may design my youngest son’s trade and employment to be the prudent management of our Irish estate for himself and his elder brother, which I suppose his said brother must consider him for. As for myself, I being now about three-score and two years old, I intend to attend the improvement of my lands in Ireland, and to get in the many debts owing unto me; and to promote the trade of iron, lead, marble, fish, and timber, whereof my estate is capable: and as for studies and experiment, I think now to confine the same to the anatomy of the people and political arithmetic as also to the improvements of ships, land- carriages, guns, and pumps, as of most use to mankind, not blaming the studies of other men. As for religion, I die in the profession of that faith, and in the practice of such worship, as I find established by the law of my country, not being able to believe what I myself please, nor to worship God better than by doing as I would be done unto, and observing the laws of my country, and expressing my love and honour to Almighty God by such signs and tokens as are understood to be such by the people with whom I live, God knowing my heart, even without any at all; and thus begging the Divine Majesty to make me what he would have me to be, both as to faith and good works, I willingly resign my soul into his hands, relying only on his infinite mercy, and the merits of my Saviour, for my happiness after this life, where I expect to know and see God more clearly than by the study of the Scriptures and of his works I have been hitherto able to do. Grant me, O Lord, an easy passage to thyself, that, as I have lived in thy fear, I may be known to die in thy favour. Amen.

His family, at his death, consisted of his widow and three children, Charles, Henry, and Anne; of whom Charles | was created baron of Shelbourne, in the county of Waterford, in Ireland, by king William III.; but dying without issue, was succeeded by his younger brother Henry, who was created viscount Dunkeron, in the county of Kerry in that kingdom, and earl of Shelbourne, Feb. 11, 1718. He married the lady Arabella Boyle, sister to Charles earl of Cork, who brought him several children. He was member of parliament for Great Marlow in Buckinghamshire, a fellow of the royal society; and died April 17, 1751. Anne was married to Thomas Fitz-Morris, baron of Kerry and Lixnaw, and died in Ireland, anno 1737. The descent to the present marquis of Lansdown may be seen in the peerage.

Before concluding this article, we may glean a few memoranda of his personal history from^Yubrey, who appears to have lived in intimacy with him.

"I remember there was a great difference between him and sir (Hierom Sankey), one of Oliver’s knights, about 1660. They printed one against the other. * The knight had been a soldier, and challenged sir William to fight with him. Sir William is extremely short-sighted, and being the cballengee it belonged to him to nominate place and weapon. He nominates for the. place a dark cellar, and the weapon to be a great carpenter’s axe. This turned the knight’s challenge into ridicule, and it came to nought Sir William can be an excellent droll, if he has a mind to it, and will preach extempore incomparably, either in the presbyterian way, independent, capucin friar, or Jesuit.

"He had his patent for earle of Kilmore and baron of 166 which he stifles during his life to avoyd envy,

but his sonne will have the benefitt of the precedency f. He is a person of an admirable inventive head, and practicall parts. He hath told me that he hath read but little, that is to say, not since 25 <etat. and is of Mr. Hobbes his mind, that had he read much, as some men have, he had not known so much as he does, nor should have made such discoveries and improvements.

"I remember one St. Andrew’s day (which is the day of


The knight was wont to preach at Dublin.” Aubrey.

I expected that his sonne would have broken out a lord or earle, but it seemes that he had enemies at the court at Dublin, which out of envy obstructed the passing of his patent.” Aubrey, who is probably here speaking of a period before the restoration.

| the general meeting of the royal society for annual elections) I sayd, ‘ Methought ’twas not so well that we should pitch upon the patron of Scotland’s day, we should rather have taken St. George or St. Isidora (a philosopher canonized).‘ ` No,’ said sir William, ` I would rather that it had been on St. Thomas’s day, for he would not believe till he had seen and putt his fingers into the holes, according to the motto Nullius in verba.‘

He told me that he never gott by legacies in his life but only 10l. which was not payd. He hath told me, that whereas some men have accidentally come into the way of preferment by lying at an inne, and there contracting an acquaintance, on the roade; or as some others have donne: he never had any such like opportunity, but hewed out his fortune himselfe.

The variety of pursuits in which sir William Petty was engaged, shews him to have had a genius capable of any thing to which he chose to apply it; and it is very extraordinary, that a man of so active and busy a spirit could find time to write so many things, as it appears he did by the following catalogue 1. “Advice to Mr. S. Hartlib,” &c. 1648, 4to. 2. “A brief of Proceedings between sir Hierom Sankey and the author,” &c. 1659, fol. 3. “Reflections upon some Persons and Things in Ireland,” &c. 1660, 8vo. 4.’ “A Treatise of Taxes and Contribution,” &c. 1662, 1667, 1685, 4to, all without the author’s name. This last was republished in 1690, with two other anonymous pieces, “The Privileges and Practice of Parliaments,” and “The Politician discovered” with a new tide-page, where they are all said to be written by sir William, which, as to the first, is a mistake. 5. “Apparatus to the hjstory of the common practice of Dyeing,” printed in Sprat’s History of the R. S. 1667. 6. “A Discourse concerning the use of Duplicate Proportion, together with a new hypothesis of springing or elastic Motions,1674, i 2mo. See an account of it in “Phil. Trans.” No. cix. and a censure of it in Dr. Barlow’s “Genuine Remains,” p. 151. 1693, -8vo. 7.“Colloquium Davidis cum aniina sua,” &c. 1679, fol. 8. “.The Politician discovered,” &c. 1681, 4to. 9. “An Essay in Political Arithmetic,” &c. 1682, 8vo. 10. “Observations upon the Dublin Bills of Mortality in 1681,” &c. 1683, 8vo. II. “An account of some Experiments relating to Land-carriage,” Phil. Trans. No. clxi. 12. “Some Queries, whereby to examine Mineral Waters,” ibid. No. | clxvi. 13. “A Catalogue of mean, vulgar, cheap, and simple Experiments,” &c. ibid. No. clxvii. 14. “Maps of Ireland, being an actual Survey of the whole kingdom,” &c. 1685, folio. This contained thirty-six accurate maps viz. a general map the province of Leinster, consisting of eleven counties, each in a distinct map that of Munster of six Ulster nine; and Connaught five. Another edition was afterwards made from the same plates. Sir William’s surveys, says Mr. Gough, as far as they go are tolerably exact as to distances and situations, but neither the latitudes nor roads are expressed, nor is the sea-coast exactly laid down; his design being only to take an account of the forfeited lands; many other tracts are left blank, and from such a survey his maps are formed. 15. “An Essay concerning the Multiplication of Mankind,1686, 8vo. N. B. The Essay is not printed here, but only the substance of it. 16. “A further assertion, concerning the Magnitude of London, vindicating it from the objections of the French,” Phil. Trans, clxxxv. 17, “Two Essays in Political Arithmetic,” c. 1687, 8vo. An extract of these is in Phil. Trans. No. clxxxiii. 18. “Five Essays in Political Arithmetic,” &c. 1687, 8vo, printed in French and English on opposite pages. 19. “Observations upon London and Rome,1687, 8vo, three leaves. His posthumous pieces are, 1. “Political Arithmetic,” &c. 1690, 8vo, and 1755, with his Life prefixed; and a Letter of his never before printed. 2. “The Political Anatomy of Ireland,” to which is added, “Verbum Sapienti,1691, 1719. In the title-page of the second edition this treatise is called “Sir William Petty’s Political Survey of Ireland.” This latter was criticized in “A Letter from a gentleman,” &cr. 1692, 4to. 3. “A treatise of Naval Philosophy, in three parts,” &c. printed at the end of “An account of several new Inventions, &c. in a discourse by way of letter to the earl of Marlborougb,” &c. 1691, 12mo. Wood suspects this may be the same with the discourse about the building of ships, mentioned above to be many years in the hands of lord Brounker. 4. “What a complete Treatise of Navigation should contain,” Phil. Trans. No. cxcviii. This was drawn up in 1685. Besides these, the following are printed in Birch’s History of the H. S. 1. “A discourse of making Cloth and Sheep’s Wool.” This contains the history of the clothing trade, as No. 5. above, does that of dyeing; and he purposed to have done the like in other trades; in which | design some other members of the society engaged also at that time. 2. “Supellex Philosophica.1


Biog. Brit. —Ath. Ox. vol II. Ward’s Gresham Professors. Aubrey Mss. in “Letters by Eminent Persons,1813, 3 vols 8vo. There are many of sir W. Petty’s Mss. in the British Museum; and among others, a sort of confession of his faith corresponding with the concluding passage in his will.