powders was exhausted, and that the cost of replenishment would be too great in labour and health for him to undertake it. There followed ‘a fierce paper conflict,’ and the Royal Society ‘felt bound to interfere’ (Chambers, Book of Days, i. 602), though the matter was not considered by it officially. Kirwan and Bryan Higgins [q. v.] entreated Price to repeat his experiments or disclose his secret. In October 1782 he owned to Kirwan that he believed he had been deceived, that the mercury sold to him contained gold previously, and that his powder contained arsenic, and that he was satisfied to pass for ‘a mere able extractor of gold’ (Bolton, Scientific Letters of Priestley, p. 42). Sir Joseph Banks [q. v.], then president of the Royal Society, reminded him that the honour of the society was at stake as well as his own. Under pressure from his friends, Price finally consented to repeat the experiments. In January 1783, having meanwhile tried to obtain information with regard to German hermetic processes (Göttingisches Magazin, iii. Jahrgang, p. 579), he returned to Guildford. He seems to have undertaken to prepare the powders in six weeks, and failed. His friends disavowed him; and on 3 or 8 Aug. 1783 he committed suicide by drinking a tumblerful of laurelwater, which he had prepared in the previous March. According to Chambers's ‘Book of Days,’ he had previously invited the Royal Society to witness his experiments, and died in the presence of the three members who alone came to the laboratory on the appointed day. It is impossible to decide whether Price was an impostor or a madman. The last hypothesis, adopted at the inquest, is supported by the account of his death in the ‘Göttingisches Magazin’ (iii. Jahrgang, p. 886).
Price left a fortune of ‘120l. a year in real estate, and from ten to twelve thousand pounds in the funds.’ He has been loosely called the ‘last of the alchemists.’
[Authorities quoted; Kopp's Geschichte der Chemie, ii. 164, 254; Kopp's Alchemie, ii. 146, passim; Thomson's Hist. of the Royal Society, App. lviii.; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1714–1886; Letters of Radcliffe and James (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), p. 221; manuscript journal and other documents of the Royal Society; Jöchers Gelehrten-Lexikon, continued by Adelung, vol. vi.; Reuss's Gelehrtes England; Gent. Mag. 1791, ii. 893; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. viii. 290, 405.]
PRICE, ap PRICE, or ap RHYS, Sir JOHN (d. 1573?), visitor of the monasteries, was son of Rhys ab Gwilym by Gwenllian, daughter of Howel Madoc. His family was ancient. He is said to have been educated at Oxford, where one of his name, who must have been younger than Sir John, graduated bachelor of canon law on 8 July 1532. Another John ap Price was a servant of the king in 1519, and officiated as servitor at the coronation of Anne Boleyn. John Price entered one of the inns of court, and became a notary public and receiver of the king. From a statement of Rowland Lee [q. v.], it appears that Price had been some time in the service of the Earl Arundel as constable of Cloon Castle, and that for his employment he was promoted to be one of Cromwell's agents. In May 1532, when the Earls of Westmorland and Cumberland and Sir Thomas Clifford searched Tunstall's house at Auckland, Price looked into the manuscripts, and made a curious report to Cromwell. In 1533 he was employed under Cromwell. In 1534 he was registrar of Salisbury Cathedral. In April 1535 he took part in the proceedings against the Charterhouse monks as to the royal supremacy. He officiated in the same way at the trial of Fisher and More. His services were secured for the great visitation of the monasteries of 1535, and on the whole he seems to have acted with greater moderation than Sir Thomas Legh [q. v.], the colleague with whom he was chiefly associated, though he joined with him in suggesting the inhibition of the bishops. In a letter of 20 Aug. 1535 he criticised the regulations which Legh had made as to the shutting up of the inmates of the houses, showing how difficult it was to carry them out. He also gave Cromwell a curious description of Legh's method of conducting the visitation, which has been of service to historians, but evidence furnished by Dr. Gasquet renders his statements open to suspicion. At Cambridge on 22 Oct. 1535 he 'observed in the heads great pertinacity to their old blindness,' but continued, 'if they were gradually removed, learning would flourish here, as the younger sort be of much towardness.' After the visitation was over he drew up and attested the 'comperta.' When the pilgrimage of grace was quelled, he assisted in trying the rebels. For his many services he received in 1537-8 a joint lease of Carmarthen rectory, and a lease of Brecknock priory and rectory. He also bought the priory of St. Guthlac, Hereford. He was not, however, satisfied, and in a petition of 1538 asked for the manor of West Dereham. He had, he said, 'written professions of all prelates, persons, and bodies politic throughout this realm; divers instruments for my ladie Marie concerning the abdication of the Bishop of Rome's power and renunciation of appeals; divers great instruments, as well of the pro-