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which he remitted his sons to enable them to return home; but of this money they never saw a farthing ; for, being put into the hands of one Mr. Perkins, a considerable trader in the city of London, he proved unfaithful to his trust; which drove these two noble youths - to the utmost distress, till, with much ado,
their governor, Mr. Marcombes, supplied them with as much as brought them to Geneva, where they continued with him for some time; and, having neither supplies nor advices from England, he was obliged, in order to enable them to go home, to take up some jewels on his own credit, which they disposed of with as, little loss as might be, and, with the money thus produced, continued their journey for England, where they arrived in the year 1644.
On his arrival there he found his father dead; and, though he had made an ample provision for him, as well by leaving him his manor of Stalbridge, in England, as other considerable estates in Ireland, yet it was some time before he could receive any money.
During this space he lodged with his fifter, the lady Ranelagh; and, by her intereft, and that of his brother lord Broghill, he procured protections for his estates in England and Ire. land from those who had the power then in their hands. He also obtained their leave to. go over, for a short space, into France; probably that he might have an opportunity of
settling his accounts with his good old go.. vernor and constant friend Mr. Marcombes
i but he did not ftay long abroad, since we find him, the December following, at Cam. bridge.
In the month of March, 1646, he retired to his own seat at Stalbridge ; from whence he made various excursions, fonetimes to London, sometimes to Oxford, applying himself as asiduously to his ftudies as his own circumftances, or those of the times, would permit; and indeed it is very amazing to find, what a prodigious progress he made, not only in many branches of literature, but in some that have been always held the most difficult and abftrufe. He omitted no opportunity of oba taining the acquaintance of persons diftinguished for parts and learning ; to whom he was, in every respect, a ready, useful, and generous affiftant; and with whom he maintained a constant correspondence. He was also one of the forft members of that small but learned body, which held its first meetings at London, then removed to Oxford, ftiled by him, the Invisible, by themselves, the Philofophical College ; and which, after the restoration, were incorporated and distinguished, as they well deferved, by the title of the Royal Society.
It is no small honour to this worthy person, that, when he was so young a man, his merit and knowledge gained him admittance amongft persons, the most diftinguished for the
acuteness of their understandings, and the fingularity, as well as extent, of their science, The great diligence and application of Mr. Boyle, was so much the more to be efteemed and commended, as, at this time, his health was very much disordered by frequent fits of the stone, a disease to which he was extremely subject, and to which his sedentary life and close application to his studies, might possibly contribute. But, notwithstanding this, and the frequent occasions he had to remove from place to place, sometimes on the score of busi. ness, at others to visit his many noble rela. tions; yet
he never suffered his thoughts to be disordered, or the designs he had formed to be broken or interrupted by any of these acci. dents, as appears by his having compleated. three regular and excellent pieces before he had reached the age of twenty: viz. his Se. raphic Love; his Essay on Mistaken Modesty; and the Swearer filenced ; to which he afterm wards gave the title that it now bears, of A Free Discourse against customary Swearing. Besides these, it plainly appears, as well from the writings he has published, as from many of his private letters, that he had made large collections upon other subjects, from some of which he afterwards drev distinct treatises.
The retired course of life, which, for the sake of his health, from the bent of his temper, and from the nature of his designs, he took a pleasure to lead, could not hinder his seputation from rising ta such a height as made
him taken notice of by fome of the most emi. nent members of the republic of letters ; fo that, in 1651, we find Dr. Nathaniel Highmore, a very eminent physician, dedicating to him his History of Generation ; in which dedication he files him both his patron and his friend.
In 1652, he went over to Ireland, in order to visit and settle his estates in that kingdom ; and there, if I am not mistaken, he met with a fall from his horfe in a watery place, which gave him a very grievous fit of sickness. He returned from Ireland to England in August, 1653, but was soon after obliged to return again into that kingdom, where he spent his time but very unpleasantly; and it would have been still more so, if it had not been for the acquaintance of Dr. Petty, afterwards Sir William Petty, who was his intimate friend, and one of the greatest men of that or indeed other
age. In the summer of 1654, he returned to England, and put in execution à delign he had formed when he was last in this kingdom, of settling at Oxford, as well for the sake of several of his ingenious friends, who resided there, as for the many and extraordinary conveniences which the place afforded, for the prosecution of his beloved ftudies in peace, He chose to live there, in the house of Mr. Crosse, an apothecary, rather than in a col. lege, for the sake of his health, and because he had more room for making experiments.
It was now that he found himself surrounded by a number of learned friends, who resorted thither chiefly for the same reasons that he had done, the Invisible College, as he called it, or Philosophical Society, being now traní. ferred from London to Oxford. It was during his residence here, that he invented the air-pump, which was perfected for him, by the ingenious Mr. Hooke, in the year 1658 or 1659; by the help of which he made such experiments as enabled nim to discover and demonstrate feveral qualities of the air, by which he laid the foundations for a compleat theory.
He was not, however, fatisfied with this, but laboured inceffantly in collecting and digesting, chiefly from his own experiments, the materials requisite for this purpose. He declared against the philosophy of Aristotle, as having in it more of words than things, promising much and performing little; in Thort, giving the inventions of men' for indubitable proofs, instead of the result of such enquiries as draw the knowledge of the works of nature from nature herself.
He was so careful in, and so zealous for, the true method of learning by experiment, that, though the Cartesian philofophy made then a great noise in the world, yet he would never be persuaded to read the works of Des Cartes, for fear he should be amused and led away with a fair pretence of reasoning, and