Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Robartes, Francis

ROBARTES, FRANCIS (1650?–1718), politician and musician, son of John Robartes, first earl of Radnor [q. v.], by his second wife, Letitia Isabella, daughter of Sir John Smith, knight, of Kent, was born about 1650. He was admitted fellow-commoner of Christ's College, Cambridge, 2 May 1663, aged 13. In 1672–3 he was M.P. for Bossiney. Thenceforth until his death he sat for Bodmin and other Cornish boroughs, or for Cornwall. About 1705 he was appointed one of the tellers of the exchequer. Robartes, who became in 1673 F.R.S., died at Chelsea on 3 Feb. 1717–18. He married Anne, the widow of Hugh Boscawen of Tregothnan, and daughter of Wentworth Fitzgerald, seventeenth earl of Kildare. Their son John became the fourth and last earl of Radnor of that line, dying unmarried on 15 July 1757. Art and science were the pastimes of the Robartes family. During the mania for French forms of music which followed the Restoration, ‘all the compositions of the town,’ says North, ‘were strained to imitate’ Lulli's vein, but ‘none came so nere it as Robartes.’ Robartes's studies also extended to the scientific examination of certain similarities in the notes of the trumpet and those of the stringed instrument called the trumpet-marine. His ‘Discourse concerning the Musical Notes of a Trumpet’ was published in the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ October 1692. Ambrose Warren, in the construction of his tonometer, 1725, largely availed himself of Robartes's calculations.

[Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerages, p. 454; Angliæ Notitia, 1707; House of Commons Sessional Papers, vol. lxii. pt. i. passim; London newspapers, February 1717–18; Roger North's Memoires of Musick, p. 103; Thomson's Hist. of the Royal Society; P. C. C. Registers of Wills, Tenison, 43; authorities cited.]

L. M. M.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.234
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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338 ii 15 f.e. Robartes, Francis: after about 1650. insert He was admitted fellow-commoner of Christ's College, Cambridge, 2 May 1663, aged 13.