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mitted him to the care of a country nurse, with instructions to bring him up as hardy as if he had been her own fon; which the pursued, and thereby gave him a strong and via gorous conftitution, that he afterwards lost by being treated with too great tenderness,
When he was about three years old, he had. the misfortune to lose his mother; for which he thews great regret, in some memoirs that he has left us of the more early part of his life, esteeming it a fingular unhappiness never to. have seen one of his parents so as to remem-ber her; and the more fo, from the character: he heard of her in her own family, and from. all who knew her.
Another accident happened to him while at nurse, which gave him no small trouble as long as he lived, and that was, his learning to stutter, by mocking some children: of his own age, and of which, tho' no endeavours were spared, he could never be perut . fectly cured.
His father fent for him home when he was towards seven years old; and, not long after, in a journey to Dublin, he ran a very great risk of losing his life, if one of his father's gentlemen had not taken him out of a coach, that, in paffing a brook, raised by some sud. den showers, was carried away by the stream and beat to pieces.
While at home, he was taught to write a very fair hand, and to speak French and Lating by one of the earl's chaplains, and a Frenchman that he kept in the house,
In the year 1635, when he was turned of eight years old, his father thought fit to send: him to England, in order to his education at Eaton, under Sir Henry. Wotton, the earl of Cork's old acquaintance and friend. With this view, in company with Mr. Francis Boyle, his elder brother, afterwards lord Shannon, he fet out for Youghall, and from thence, not without great danger of being taken by some of the Turkish pirates that then infested: the Irish coast, he crossed the feas to England, and landed happily at Bristol.
On his arrival at Eaton, he was put under the care of Mr. Harrison, then master of the fchool; of whose attention for, and kindness towards, him, he makes very honourable mention in his Memoirs; and observes, That it was chiefly by the prudent methods he pursued, that he came to have that taste and relish for learning, for which, even in the earlier part of his life, he grew fo remarkable.. While he remained at Eaton, there were several extraordinary accidents that befel him, of which he has given us an account, and which one would scarce think it possible he should have remembered so distinály, considering they happened before he was nine years old, if the letters that he wrote about that time were not still preserved; which sufficiently demonstrates how capable he was of colle&ting and preferv. ing what ever appeared to him worthy of no. tice, even in the time of his childhood, fo
that we may well believe what he relates of his own care in this respect, from the teftimo. nies that still remain of his having a wit so much fuperior to his years.
He remained at Eaton, in the whole, be. tween three and four years; and then his father carried him to his own seat, at Stalbridge in Dorsetthire ; where he remained, for some time, under the care of Mr. William Douch, then parson of the place, and one of the earl of Cork's chaplains.
In the autumn of the year 1638 he attended his father to London, and remained with him, at the Savoy, till bis brother, Mr. Francis Boyle, espoused Mrs. Elizabeth Killigrew; and then, towards the end of the month of Octobery within four days after the marriage was celebrated, the two brothers, Francis and Robert, were sent abroad upon their travels, under the care of Mr. Marcombes, who had formerly been governor to the lords Kineal. meaky and Broghill,
They embarked at Rye, in Sussex, and from thence proceeded to Dieppe, in Normandy; from whence they travelled by land to Rouen, fo to Paris, and from thence to Lyons ; from which city they continued their journey to Ge. neva, where his governor had a family; and there the two young gentlemen pursued their ftudies 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 first obtained some knowledge at Eaton,
He was now drawing towards fourteen, and his temper being naturally very grave and rerious, his thoughts were often turned on religious subjects, but, however, not without fome mixture of doubts and difficulties, as himself acknowledges, about the certainty of the Chriftian revelation. This, instead of having any bad effects, was productive of very good consequences; he examined cooly and circumftantially the evidence in favour of the the Gospel, and concluded, by dint of reasoning, that this was the only certain and sure way to salvation.
We might pollibly suspect the truth of this, considering his youth, and the little care that persons ar kuch years take, or indeed are capable of taking, in matters of fo great importance; but it so falls out, that we have an ori. giral letter of his, written at this time to his: father ; which plainly proves that his capacity was, eren at that early season, very capable of fuch arduous enquiries.
While he remained at Geneva, he made fome excursions to visit the adjacent country of Savoy; and even proceeded so far as to Gre. noble, in Dauphine, and took a view also of those wild mountains, where Bruno, the first author of the Carthufian monks lived in folie tude, at the time he erected that order.
In September, 1641, be quitted Geneva, and, paffing through Switzerland and the country of the Grisons, entered Lombardy, and, taking his rout through Bergamo, Brescia, and Verona, arrived at Venice, and, having made a thort stay there, returned to the Continent, and spent the winter at Florence ; and, during his Itay in that city, the famous, Galileo died at a village not far from thence.
While he resided in this fair city, he had. an opportunity of acquiring the Italian, lan. guage, which he understood perfectly, though he never spoke it fo fluently as the French, of which he became so great a mastery, that, as. occasion required, he passed for a native of the country in more places than one during his travels.
About the end of March, he began his. journey from Florence to Rome, which took up but five days; and, after having surveyed that famous city, the heats. disagreeing with his brother, he returned to Florence, from, thence to Leghorn, and so by, fea to Genoa. He made but a short ftay there, and then passing through the county of Nice, crossed the fea to Antibes, from whence he went to Mare feilles by land.
He was in that city in the month of May,. 1:642,, when he received his father's letters, with a dreadful account of the rebellion juft: then broke out in Ireland ; and advice, like. wise, 'that, with great difficulty, his lordflip. had procured two hundred and fifty pounds,