« السابقةمتابعة »
constrained to make his complaint to the public of forse inconveniences under which he had long laboured ; which he did by an advertisement addressed to J. W. to be commupicated to such of his friends as were virtuosi, to inform them of the loss of many of his writings, and that it might serve as an explanatory preface to some of his mutilated and unfinished pieces.
One cannot well conceive any thing that gives a higher or more expressive notion of the worth and excellency of this great man, than this paper, which, had it come from any other person, would have been either regarded as a common and trivial advertisement, or as a very glaring mark of self-conceit and vanity ; but, in reference to Mr. Boyle, it appears fo neceffary to himself, that it could not be omitted ; of such importance to the public, that it cannot be forgot ; and so cau. tiously digefted, as to raise our admiration and efteem for its author.
He began now to find that his health, nota withstanding all his care and caution, began sensibly to decline, and his strength to decay; which put him upon devising every method that was possible for husbanding his time, for the future, for the benefit of the learned world. In doing this, he preferred generals to particulars; and the asistance of the whole republic of letters, to that of any branch, by what ties foever he might be connected therewith.
It was from 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 talks which he thought of still greater importance. It was the more steadily to attend ihefe, that he resigned his post of governor of the corporation for propagating the Gospel in New-England ; nay, he went so far as to figniiy to the world, that he could no longer receive visits as usual ; and all this, that he might have leisure to put his papers in order ; to fupply the blanks he had left in many of his treatises, and to repair the deficiences in others occafioned by the falling upon them of corrofive liquors; that, as he had been useful to the public during the whole course of his life, so the vast collections he left behind him, of the importance of which he was the best judge, might not prove useless after his decease. This was certainly an inftance of learned patriotism, worthy of admiration at least, and, if such a genius hould ever arise again, of imitation, Among the other great works which, by this means, he gained time to finish, there is great reason to believe, thai one was A Collection of Elaborate Processes in Chemistry ; cor cerning which he wrote a letter to a friend which is Itill extant, but the piece itself was never published, nor fome other curious tracts relating to the fame subject, found amongst his papers, which has been considered as an
irreparable loss to such as have a fondness for these kind of studies.
In 1690, he published his Medecina Hydroftatica: 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 fubjoined, A previous Hydrostatical Way of estimating Ores. He informs us, in the postscript of this treatise, that he had prepared materials fufficient for a second volume, which he promised, but it never appeared. He published, however, this year, another moft excellent work, which bore the following title : The Chriftian Virtuoso; Thewing, that, by being addicted to Experimental Philosophy, a man is rather affifted than indisposed to be a good Christian, T'he first Part. To which are subjoined, F. A Discourse about the distinction that represents some things as above reason, but not contrary to reason. II. The first Chapters of a Discourse, entitled, Greatness of Mind promoted by Christianity. In the advertisement prefixed to this work, he mentions A Second Part of the Chriftian Virtuoso; which he had begun, and which is actually published in the Taft edition of his works; that is to say, imperfect, as he left it, with an Appendix to the
He communicated, about this time, to Mr. De la Crose, a very ingenious gentleman, who
published a periodical work, entitled, The History of Learning : An Account of some Observations made in the Congregation of Waters, by lowering Bottles down into the Sea, fix hundred feet deep from the Surface. This experiment was made on the second of January, 1677-8, by a captain of a man of war, a man of very good sense, in the presence of a great many other persons; and was, in the judgment of Mr. Boyle, a thing of too great value to be loft, and therefore he took this method of preserving it.
We are now come to the very last of his works published in his life time, which was in: the spring of the year 1691, and bore this tio dle, Experimenta et Observationes Phyficæ; wherein are briefly treated of several subjects: relating to Natural Philofophy, in an experimental Way. To which is added, A small Collection of Strange Reports. This is called, in the title-page, The First Part; and amongst his papers
there were found the Second and Third Parts ;: but whether compleat, or not I cannot say:
About the entrance of the fummer of the year last mentioned, he began to feel such an alteration in his health, as induced him to think of settling his affairs; and accordingly, on the eighteenth of July, he signed and fealed his last will, to which he afterwards added several.codicils..
In the month of O&tober following, his diftempers encreased; which might, perhaps, be owing to his tender concern for the tedious illness of his dear fifter 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 "twenty-third of December following. She was, in all respects, a most accomplithed and most extraordinary woman; so that her bro.. ther might very justly esteem it the peculiar felicity of his life that he had such a fifter, -and, in her, so useful a friend, and fo agreeable a companion.
He did not survive her above a week, for, on the last day of the year 1691, or, as most -authors account it, on Wednesday, the thirtieth of December, at three quarters past twelve at night, he departed this life, in the fixty-fifth year of his age ; and was buried, on the seventh of January following, at the upper end of the south side of the chancel of St. Martin's in the fields, in Weftminster, near the body o this beloved sister Catherine, viscountess Ranelagh.
His funeral was decent, and as much without pomp as it was possible, considering the number of persons of distinction that attended it, besides his own numerous relations. His funeral-fermon was preached by Dr. Gilbert Burnet, bishop of Sarum; and there are many who think his performance on that occafion the belt he ever published.