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, an English mathematician, and professor of astronomy at Gresham college, was born in Northamptonshire

, an English mathematician, and professor of astronomy at Gresham college, was born in Northamptonshire or as Aubrey says, at Coventry, where he adds that he was some time usher of the school and was sent to Emanuel college, Cambridge, in 1616. He took the degree of B. A. in 1619, and of master in 1623. He applied early to the mathematics, and attained to great proficiency in that kind of knowledge, of which he gave the first specimen in 1624. He had an elder brother at the same college with himself, which precluded him from a fellowship; in consequence of which, he offered himself a candidate for the professorship of astronomy in Gresham college, Feb. 1636, and was elected the 2 d of March. He quitted it again, it does not appear for what reason, Nov. 25, the same year, and was succeeded therein by Mr. Mungo Murray, professor of philosophy at St. Andrew’s in Scotland. Murray marrying in 1641, his professorship was thereby vacated; and as Foster bad before made way for him, so he in his turn made way for Foster, who was re-elected May 22, the same year. The civil war breaking out soon after, he became one of that society of gentlemen, who had stated meetings for cultivating philosophy, and afterwards were established by charter, under the name of the royal society, in the reign of Charles II. In 1646, Dr. Wallis, another member of that society, received from Foster a mathematical theorem, which he afterwards published in his “Mechanics.” Neither was it only in this branch of science that he excelled, but he was likewise well versed in the ancient languages; as appear! from his revising and correcting the “Lemmata” of Archimedes, which had been translated from an Arabic manuscript into Latin, but not published, by Mr. John Greaves. He made also several curious observations upon eclipses, both of the sun and moon, as well at Gresham college, as in Northamptonshire, at Coventry, and in other places; and was particularly famous for inventing, as well as improving, astronomical and other mathematical instruments. After being long in a declining state of health, he died in July 1652, at his own apartment at Gresham college, and, according to Aubrey, was buried in the church of St. Peter le poor. His works are, 1. “The Description and use of -a small portable Quadrant, for the more easy finding of the hour of azimuth/' 1624, 4to, This treatise, which has been reprinted several times, is divided into two parts, and was originally published at the end of Gunter’s” Description of the Cross Staffe in three hooks,“to which it was intended as an appendix. 2.” The Art of Dialling,“1638, 4to. Reprinted in 1675, with several additions and variations from the author’s own manuscript, as also a supplement by the editor William Leybourne. Our author himself published no more, yet left many other treatises, which, though not finished in the manner he intended, were published by his friends after his death as, 3.” Posthuinu Fosteri containing the description of a Ruler, upon which are inscribed divers scales, &c.“1652, 4to. This was published by Edmund Wingate, esq. 4.” Four Treatises of Dialling,“1654, 4to. 5.” The Sector altered, and other scales added, with the description and use thereof, invented and written by Mr. Foster, and now published by William Leybourne, 1661,“4to. This was an improvement of Gunter’s Sector, and therefore published among his works. 6.” Miscellanies, or Mathematical Lucubrations of Mr. Samuel Foster, published, and many of them translated into English, by the care and industry of John Twysden, C. L. M. D. whereunto he hath annexed some things of his own." The treatises in this collection are of different kinds, some of them written in Latin, some in English.

professor of astronomy at Gresham-college, was the son of Henry Gellibrand,

, professor of astronomy at Gresham-college, was the son of Henry Gellibrand, M. A. and some time fellow of All-Souls-college in Oxford. He was born in the parish of St. Botolph, Aldersgate, in London, in 1597: but his father settling upon a paternal estate at St. Paul’s Cray in Kent , he probably received the rudiments of his education in that neighbourhood. He was sent to Trinity-college, Oxford, in 1615; and took his first degree in arts, in 1619. He then entered into orders, and became curate of Chiddingstone in Kent; but, having conceived a strong inclination for mathematics, by hearing one of sir Henry Saville’s lectures in that science, he grew, by degrees, so deeply enamoured with it, that though he was not without good views in the church, he resolved to forego them altogether. He contented himself with his private patrimony, which was now come into his hands, on the death of his father; and the same year, becoming a student at Oxford, made his beloved mathematics his sole employment. In this leisure, he prosecuted his studies with so much diligence and success, that, before he became M. A. which was in 1623, he had risen to excellence, and was admitted to a familiarity, with the most eminent masters. Among others, Mr. Henry Briggs, then lately appointed Savilian professor of geometry at Oxford by the founder, shewed him particular countenance and favour. This, in a few years, was improved to a degree of intimate friendship, insomuch, that the professor communicated to him all his notions and discoveries, and, upon the death of Mr. Edmund Gunter, recommended him -to the trustees of Gresbaio -college, where he once held the geometric lecture, for the astronomy professorship. He was elected Jan. 22, 1626-7. His friend, Mr. Briggs, dying in 1630, before he had finished his “Trigonometria Britannica,” recommended the completing and publishing of that capital work to our author.

ed, communicating their observations to one another; and they sometimes consulted Mr. Samuel Foster, professor of astronomy at Gresham-college in London. Horrox having now

, an English astronomer, and memorable for being the first who had observed the passage of Venus over the sun’s disk, was born at Toxteth in Lancashire, about 1619. From a school in the country, where he acquired grammar-learning, he was sent to Emanuel-college in Cambridge, and there spent some time in academical studies. About 1633, he began with real earnestness to study astronomy: but living at that time with his father at Toxteth, in very moderate circumstances, and being destitute of' books and other assistances for the prosecution of this study, he could not make any considerable progress. He spent some of his first years in studying the writings of Lansbergius, of which he repented and complained afterwards; neglecting in the mean time the more valuable and profitable works of Tycho Brahe, Kepler, and other excellent astronomers. In 16^6, he contracted an acquaintance with Mr. William Crabtree of Broughton near Manchester, and was engaged in the same studies; but living at a considerable distance from each other, they could have little correspondence except by letters. These, however, they frequently exchanged, communicating their observations to one another; and they sometimes consulted Mr. Samuel Foster, professor of astronomy at Gresham-college in London. Horrox having now obtained a companion in his studies, assumed new spirits. Procuring astronomical instruments and books, he applied himself to make observations; and by Crabtree’s advice, laid aside Lansbergius, whose tables he found erroneous, and his hypotheses inconsistent. He was pursuing his studies with great vigour and success, when he was cut off by a sudden death, Jan. 3, 1640-1.

onathan Goddard, Dr. George Ent, Dr. Giisson, Dr. Merret, doctors in physic, Mr. Samuel Foster, then professor of astronomy at Gresham college, Theodore Haak, a German of

In March of this year, 1644, he married Susanna, daughter of John and Rachel Clyde of Northiam, Northamptonshire. In 1645, the weekly meetings, which gave birth to the Royal Society, being proposed, he attended them along with Dr. John Wilkins (afterwards bishop of Chester), Dr. Jonathan Goddard, Dr. George Ent, Dr. Giisson, Dr. Merret, doctors in physic, Mr. Samuel Foster, then professor of astronomy at Gresham college, Theodore Haak, a German of the palatinate, and then resident in London, who is said to have first suggested those meetings, and many others. These meetings were held sometimes at Dr. Goddard’s lodgings in Wood-street, sometimes in Cheapside, and sometimes at Gresham college, or some place near adjoining.

t he had accomplished, he communicated to Mr. Seth Ward, then Savilian professor of astronomy, Rook, professor of astronomy at Gresham college, and Christopher Wren, then

Notwithstanding this opposition to the ruling powers, he was in June following appointed by the parliamentary visitors, Savilian professor of geometry at Oxford, in room of Dr. Peter Turner, who was ejected; and now quitting his church, he went to that university, entered of Exeter college, and was incorporated master of arts. Acceptable as this preferment was, he was not an inattentive observer of the theological disputes of the time; and when Baxter published his “Aphorisms of Justification and the Covenant,” our author published some animadversions on them, which Baxter acknowledged were very judicious and moderate. Before the end of this year, Wallis, in perusing the mathematical works of Torricelli, was particularly struck with what. he found there of Cavalleri’s method of indivisibles, this being the first time he had heard or seen any thing of that method, and conceived hopes of attaining by it some assistance in the problem concerning the quadrature of the circle. He accordingly spent a very considerable time in studying it, but found some insuperable difficulties, which, with what he had accomplished, he communicated to Mr. Seth Ward, then Savilian professor of astronomy, Rook, professor of astronomy at Gresham college, and Christopher Wren, then fellow of All Souls, and several other eminent mathematicians at that time in Oxford, but not meeting with the assistance he wished, he desisted from the farther pursuit. In 1653, he published a grammar of the English tongue, for the use of foreigners in Latin, under this title: “Grammatica Linguse Anglicanae, cum Tractatu de Loquela seu Sonorum Formatione,” in 8vo. In the piece “De Loquela,” &c. he tells us, that “he has philosophically considered the formation of all sounds used in articulate speech, as well of our own as of any other language that he knew; by what organs, and in what position, each sound was formed; with the nice distinctions of each, which in some letters of the same organ are very subtle: so that by such organs, in such position, the breath issuing from the lungs will form such sounds, whether the person do or do not hear himself speak.” This we shall find he afterwards endeavoured to turn to an important practical use. In 1654, he was admitted to the degree of D.D. after performing the regular exercise, which he printed afterwards, and in August of that year, made some observations on the solar eclipse, which happened about that time. About Easter, 1655, the proposition in his “Arithmetica Infinitorum,” containing the quadrature of the circle, being printed, he sent it to Mr. Oughtred; and soon after, in the same year, he published that treatise in 4to, dedicated to the same eminent mathematician. To this he prefixed a treatise on conic sections, which he sdtin a new light, considering them as absolute planes, constituted of an infinite number of parallelograms, without any relation to the cone, and demonstrated their properties from his new method of infinites.