« السابقةمتابعة »
annexed. This work of his, as it was justly admired then, so it has been always in great esteem fince, and may be truly said to have been the first work published, that gave ina quisitive men any real light into the subjects which are therein examined.
His majefty king Charles II. had now ans opportunity of thewing his own great judgment in men, from his esteem and affection towards Mr. Boyle, for Dr. John Meredith, Provost of Eaton, dying in August 1665, the king, unasked and unfollicited, appointed Mr. Boyle for his successor. This was certainly, all circumstances, considered, the fittelt employment for him in the kingdom; yet, after mature deliberation, tho? contrary to the advice of his friends, he absolutely declined it, because he thought the duties of the employment might interfere with his ftudies; he was unwilling to quit that course of life, which, by experience, he found fo fuitable to his temper and constitution ; and, above all, he was unwilling to enter into holy orders, which he was perfuaded was necessary to qualify himself for it.
In this year, and in the next, he was pretty much exercised in looking into 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 univera sally expected from Mr. Boyle. The case was this, one Mr. Valentine Greatraks, an Irish gentleman, persuaded himself that he had a
peculiar gift of curing diseases by stroking, in which, tho' 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, who conducted himself with such wifdom and prudence, as to get out of this af. fair without any loss of credit, which, all things confidered, cannot but be esteemed a very high proof of his wisdom.
In 1666 Dr. John Wallis addressed to Mr. Boyle An Hypothesis about the Flax and Reflux of the Sea. The famous physician, Dr. Thomas Sydenham, dedicated to him, in the same year, his Method of curing Fevers, grounded upon his own Obfervations, a little piece, written in Latin, and truly worthy of so great a man. Himself likewise publifhed that year, his Hydrostatical Paradoxes, made out by new Experiments, for the most part physical and easy, which he sent abroad at the request of the Royal Society, those experiments having been made at their desire about two years before. He also published that year another celebrated treatise of his, intitled, The Origin of Forms and Qualities, accord. ing to the Corpuscular Philosophy, illustrated by Experiments; a treatise which did equal honour to the quickness of his wit, the depth of his judgment, and his indefatigable pains in searching after truth.
We must likewise observe, that both in this, and in the former year, he communi
cated to his friend, Mr. Oldenburgh, several curious and excellent short treatises of his, upon a great variety of subjects, and others transmitted to him by his learned friends both at home and abroad, which are printed and preserved in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. It is
very observable, that in the warm controversy raised in relation to that fociety, Mr. Boyle escaped all censure, which is more extraordinary, considering that Mr. Stubbe, who was the great antagonist of the learned historian of that fociety, was one who set no bounds to his rage, and seemed to make it a' point, to raise his resentment in proportion, as there wanted grounds for it. Yet even this choleric and furious writer had fo high an efteem for Mr. Boyle, that at the very time he fell upon the society in a manner fo excofable, he failed not to write frequently to our author, in order to convince him, that how angry foever he might be with that body of men, yet he preserved a just respect for his great learning and abilities, and a true sense of the many favours he had conferred upon him.
About this time our author resolved to settle himself for life in London, and removed for that purpose to the house of his sister, the lady Ranelagh, in. Pall. Mall, to the infinite bene. fit of the learned in general, and particularly to the advantage of the Royal Society, to whom he gave great and continual assistance.
He had likewise his set hours for receiving such as came, either to defire his help, or to communicate to him any new discoveries in science. Befides which, 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 his Continuation of new Experiments, touching the Spring and Weight of the air ; to which is added, A Discourfe of the Atmospheres of Confiftent Bodies; and the same year, he revised, and made many additions to several of his former trads, some of which were now translated into Latin, in order to gratify the curious abroad, with whom Mr. Boyle food in as high reputation, as with all the lovers of learning at home. In the fucceeding year he published a book that occafioned much speculation, as it seemed in contain a vast treasure of new knowledge, that had never been communicate ed to the world before, and this grounded upon actual experiments and arguments juftly drawn from them, instead of that notional and conjectural philosophy, which, in the be. ginning of this century, had been so much in fashion, The title of this treatise was, Of the Cosmical Qualities of Things.
About this time Dr. Peter de Moulin, the fon of the famous French divine of the same name, who had travelled with Mr. Boyle's nephews, dedicated to him his Collection of
Latin Poems, But in the midst of his ftudies, and other useful employments, he was attacked by a severe paralitic diftemper, of which, tho' not without great difficulty, he got the better, by adhering ftri&tly to a proper regimen.
In 1671 he published Confiderations on the Usefulness-of Experimental and Natural Philosophy, the second Part ; as also, A Collec. tion of Tracts upon several useful and important Points of Practical Philosophy, both which works were received as new and valuable gifts to the learned world. In 1672 came abroad his Essay about the Origin and Virtue of Gems, in which, according to his usual custom, he treated an old and beaten fubject in a very new and useful manner ; so that it may be truly faid, that he not only threw an additional light upon a very dark and difficult subject, but also pointed out the only certain method of acquiring a perfect knowledge of the nature and virtues (if any such there be) of all kinds of precious stones, He published also, the same year, another Colle&tion of Tracts, touching the Relation between Flame and Air and feveral other uses ful and curious subjects, 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.