Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/570

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ters influenced, his mind at every moment, and is apparent in many of his treatises on several 'cosmical' subjects which deeply interested him; but his scientific convictions, formed on adequate grounds, and on any subject-matter, were immovable. It is probable that the greatest service he did to his country and to mankind was by kindling in the minds of his contemporaries an enthusiasm for science, a desire to explore and know Nature, in those turbulent and disastrous days when Wilkins's and Wallis's papers were burned by the mob, Harvey's anatomical dissections destroyed, and Gresham College turned into barracks. In his day he, more than almost any other man, kept alive the torch which kindled the undying fire of the Royal Society."

Bishop Burnet, a contemporary and a man of the court, says: "His knowledge was of so vast an extent that, if it were not for the variety of vouchers, in their several sorts, I should be afraid to say all I know." After referring to his knowledge on theological matters, the bishop continues: "He ran the whole compass of the mathematical sciences, and, though he did not set himself to spring new game, yet he knew even the abstrusest parts of geometry; geography, in the several parts of it that related to navigation or travelling; history and books of travel were his diversions. He went, very nearly, through all the parts of physic; only the tenderness of his nature made him less able to endure the exactness of anatomical dissections, especially of living animals, though he knew those to be the most instructing; but, for the history of Nature, ancient and modern, of the productions of all countries, of the virtues and improvements of plants, of ores and minerals, and all the varieties in them, he was by much, by very much, the readiest and the perfectest I ever knew, in the greatest compass, and with the truest exactness. This put him in the way of making all that vast variety of experiments, beyond any man, as far as we know, that ever lived. And in these, as he made a great progress in new discoveries, so he used so nice a strictness, and delivered them with so scrupulous a truth, that all who have examined them have found how safely the world may depend upon them. But his peculiar and favorite study was chemistry, in which he engaged with none of those ravenous and ambitious designs that draw many into them. His design was only to find out Nature; to see into what principles things might be resolved, and of what they were compounded, and to prepare good medicaments for the bodies of men."

Of Boyle's scientific works, the earliest was New Experiments, Physico-mechanical, touching the Spring of Air and its Effects, published in 1660. It was followed, in 1662, by The Sceptical Chemist, which was afterward reprinted, with additions. In 1663 he published the first part, and in 1671 the second part, of Consid-