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every ten are mere accounts of observations and experiments, or explanations and hypotheses in which there is little or no mathematics; and that the remaining 300, or two thirds of the whole, belong to the departments of natural history (divided into zoology, botany, mineralogy, geography, and hydrology), of chemical philosophy (divided into chemistry, meteorology, and geology), of physiology (divided into physiology of animals, physiology of plants, medicine, surgery, and anatomy), and of the arts (divided into mechanical, chemical, and the fine arts). So that at this time only about one paper in fifty was purely mathematical or analytical, and only one in three on subjects to which the science of lines and quantities was applicable, — for chemistry was not yet in a condition to be treated otherwise than tentatively, and, if mathematical reasoning had been attempted in medicine, the attempt was a failure and a folly.
The history of the Royal Society, however, is very nearly the whole history of English science, both physical and mathematical, from the date of its institution to the end of the seventeenth century. Almost all the scientific discoveries and improvements that originated in this country during that century were made by its members, and a large proportion of them are recorded and were first published in its Transactions. But the Royal Society, it is to be remembered, was, after all, still more an effect than a cause, still more an indication than a power; and, although it no doubt gave an impulse to the progress of science by the communication and union which it helped to maintain among the laborers in that field, by some advantages which it derived from its position, and by the spirit which it excited and diffused, the advance which was made under its auspices, or partly by force of its example, would probably have been accomplished little less rapidly without its assistance; for the time was come, and the men with it, who assuredly would not have been hindered from doing their work, although such an institution had never been called into existence. But it was part of the work they were sent to do to establish such an institution, which, although not the tree on which science grows, is both a convenient and ornamental shelter for the gathered fruit, and may
be made serviceable for various subsidiary purposes which even philosophers are entitled to hold in some regard in a refined and luxurious age.
1 In Hutton's table of contents a few papers are repeated under different heads but this cannot much affect the calculation.
One invention, dating after the Restoration, of which much has been said in recent times, is assigned to an individual whose name does not occur in the roll of the members of the Royal Society, – the first Steam-Engine, which is commonly believed to have been both described and constructed by the Marquis of Worcester, the same whose negotiations with the Irish Catholics, when he was Earl of Glamorgan, make so remarkable a passage in the history of the contest between Charles I. and the parliament. The Marquis of Worcester's famous publication entitled A Century of the names and scantlings of such Inventions as at present I can call to mind to have tried and perfected (my former notes being lost), etc., was first printed in 1663. “It is a very small piece,” says Walpole, “ containing a dedication to Charles II.; another to both Houses of Parliament, in which he affirms having in the presence of Charles I. performed many of the feats mentioned in his book ; a table of contents; and the work itself, which is but a table of contents neither, being a list of a hundred projects, most of them impossibilities, but all of which he affirms having discovered the art of performing Some of the easiest seem to be, how to write with a single line; with a point ; how to use all the senses indifferently for each other, as, to talk by colors, and to read by the taste; to make an unsinkable ship; how to do and to prevent the same thing; how to sail against wind and tide ; how to form an universal character ; how to converse by jangling bells out of tune ; how to take towns or prevent their being taken ; how to write in the dark; how to cheat with dice ; and, in short, how to fly.”ı “Of all these wonderful inventions,” adds Walpole, “ the last but one seems the only one of which his lordship has left the secret”; but the wit, who characterizes the whole production as “ an amazing piece of folly,” has missed the most interesting of all the marquis's projects, the sixty-eighth in the list, which he entitles “ An admirable and most forcible way to drive up water by fire,” and which
appears from his description to have been, in fact, a species of steam-engine. His language implies, too, that the idea had been actually carried into effect: he speaks of having made use of a cannon for his boiler; and he says, “I have seen the water run like a constant fountain-stream forty feet high ; one vessel of water
1 Royal and Noble Authors.
rarefied by fire driveth up forty of cold water.” And Sorbiere, when here in 1663, appears to have seen the engine at work, although the superficial, chattering Frenchman has described it, and probably understood it, so imperfectly as to have taken no note even of the nature of the power by which it was made to act: “ One of the most curious things I had a mind to see,” he writes, “was a water-engine invented by the Marquis of Worcester, of which he had made an experiment. I went on purpose to see it at Fox Hall (Vauxhall), on the other side of the Thames, a little above Lambeth, the Archbishop of Canterbury's palace, standing in sight of London. One man, by the help of this machine, raised four large buckets full of water in an instant forty feet high, and that through a pipe of about eight inches long; which invention will be of greater use to the public than that very ingenious machine already made use of, and raised upon wooden work above Somerset House, that supplies part of the town with water, but with great difficulty, and in less quantity than could be wished.” 1
Forty years before the publication of the Century of Inventions, it is to be observed, a French engineer, Solomon de Caus, in a volume published at Paris entitled Les Raisons des Forces Mouvantes,2 had not only called attention to the power of steam produced in a close vessel, but had proposed a mode of raising water by means of such a force, the principle of which, as far as can be collected, appears to have been the same with that of the Marquis of Worcester's contrivance. It is possible that the marquis may have taken the idea from this book, which would be the more likely to attract attention in England from the circumstance of De Caus having come over to this country in 1612 in the train of the Elector Palatine, and resided here for some years; but still the English nobleman remains, as far as is known, the first person actually constructed a steam-engine, supposing the water-engine seen by Sorbiere to have been such. Twenty years later, as appears from the author's manuscript now in the British Museum, the same idea that had been already published by De Caus, and realized by the Marquis of Worcester, was proposed as his own
1 Journey to England, p. 29.
2 Not to be confounded with another work entitled “Traité des Forces Mouvantes; par Mons. de Camus, Gentilhomme Lorrain"; 8vo, Paris, 1722; in which, although of so much later date, steam as a moving power does not appear to be mentioned.
by Sir Samuel Morland in a work on machines for raising water, written in French, and addressed to Louis XIV.;1 although the passage was omitted from the book when it was soon afterwards sent to the press. About 1690, Denis Papin, a native of France, but then and for a great part of his life resident in this country, discovered and applied the two important improvements of making the expansive force of the steam act by means of a piston and of producing a reaction of the piston through the condensation of the steam by means of cold; he is also the inventor of the safetyvalve, which, however, he only applied in the cooking apparatus called his digester, where steam was employed merely to produce heat, not in any machine where that agent was the moving power. In 1698 Captain Savery contrived the first steam-engine which can be said to have been found practically useful; he employed the principle of the condensation of the steam by cold, not to permit the relapse of a piston, as Papin had done, but to effect the elevation of the water directly by allowing it to ascend into the vacuum so produced. From this date steam may be considered to have ranked as an important working power in this country, although Savery's engine was never applied to any
purpose except the raising of water, which, too, it could only effect from a very inconsiderable depth, the vacuum, by means of which it principally operated, ceasing to act as soon as the column of water came to balance an atmospheric column of the same base ; in other words, as soon as the water had ascended through the vacuum to the height of about thirty-two feet. About 1711 a much more effective engine was invented by Thomas Newcomen, an ironmonger of Dartmouth, assisted by John Colley, a glazier of the same place, upon Papin's principle, of making the vacuum produced by the condensation of the steam serve for allowing the descent of a piston under its own gravitation and the pressure of the atmosphere. Newcomen's, or the atmospheric engine, as it has been called, soon came to be extensively employed, especially in the mining districts, where water had often to be raised from great depths. Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers, a clergyman of the Church of England, but of French birth and extraction, in the year 1718 improved Savery's engine (which from its cheapness has for some purposes continued in use to our own day) by substituting the injection of a small current of cold water into the receiver for the old method
1 Recueil de Machines pour l’Elévation des Eaux, &c.
of dashing the water over the outside of the vessel to effect the concentration of the steam; and this same improvement — rediscovered, it is said, by himself — was also soon after applied by Newcomen to his engine. About the same time Mr. Beighton contrived to make the machine itself open and shut the cocks by which it received its alternate supplies of steam and water.
OTHER DISCOVERIES AND IMPROVEMENTS IN NATURAL
AND EXPERIMENTAL SCIENCE.
At the head of the cultivators of experimental science in England in the latter part of the seventeenth century stands the Honorable Robert Boyle, seventh and youngest son of Richard first Earl of Cork, commonly called the Great Earl. He was born in 1627, and lived till 1691. Boyle was an unwearied observer and collector of facts, and also a voluminous speculator, in physical science; but his actual discoveries do not amount to much. He made considerable improvements on the air-pump, originally invented a few years before by Otto von Guericke, of Magdeburg, and indeed it may be said to have been in his hands that it first became an instrument available for the purposes of science. The few additions which Boyle made to our knowledge of general principles, or what are called the laws of nature, were almost confined to the one department of pneumatics; he is commonly held to have discovered or established the absorbing power of the atmosphere and the propagation of sound by the air; he proved that element to possess much more both of expansibility and of compressibility than had been previously suspected; he made some progress towards ascertaining the weight of atmospheric air ; and he showed more clearly than had been done before his time its indispensableness to the sustentation both of combustion and of animal life. He may be regarded, therefore, along with Torricelli, Pascal, and Guericke, as one of the fathers of pneumatic science, - in so, far at least as it is concerned with the mechanical properties of the atmosphere. Boyle also ascertained many particular facts, and arrived at some general, though rather vague, conclusions in chemistry, in the course of his multifarious experiments: the practice