Moore, Jonas (1617-1679) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
 
Jump to: navigation, search

MOORE, Sir JONAS (1617-1679), mathematician, was born at Whittle in Lancashire on 8 Feb. 1617. He became clerk to Dr. Burghill, chancellor of Durham, and in 1640 was encouraged by the Rev. William Milbourne to undertake mathematical study, for his progress in which he acknowledged great obligations to William Oughtred [q.v.] Charles I, when at Durham in 1646, sent for him, and in the following year directed his employment as mathematical tutor to the Duke of York, then at St. James's. Ousted speedily from the post by what he called 'the malicious and cunning subtlety' of Anthony Ascham [q. v.], he set up as a teacher, and published in 1650 a book on 'Arithmetic!?,' to which was prefixed a portrait of the author by Stone, showing an impressive and intellectual countenance. He failed, however, to get pupils, and was in deep distress, when Colonel Giles Strangways, although himself a prisoner in the Tower, came to his assistance with money and recommendations. These last procured for him the appointment of surveyor in the work of draining the great level of the Fens, entered upon in 1649 by the first Duke of Bedford and his associates. He subsequently published an account of this undertaking, entitled 'The History of the Great Level of the Fennes . . . with a Map of the Level as drained by Sir T. M.,' 1685, 8vo. He gained reputation by his success in keeping the sea out of Norfolk, surveyed the coasts (Seller, English Pilot, 1671), and constructed a map of Cambridgeshire, published in Philips's supplement to Speed's 'Maps,' 1676. Cromwell procured from him a model of a citadel 'to bridle the city of London,' and Pepys was said to possess a copy of his survey of the entire course of the Thames.

On the Restoration Moore republished his 'Arithmetick,'with a dedication to the Duke of York, in which he boasted that his 'name could not be found in the black list.' Appended were 'A New Contemplation General upon the Ellipsis' and 'Conical Sections,' taken from Mydorgius. A third edition appeared in 1688, with a portrait dated 1660. Moore was sent to Tangier in 1663 to inspect the place with a view to its fortification, and on his return was knighted, and appointed surveyor-general of the ordnance. He resided thenceforward in the Tower, and enjoyed high royal favour, which he turned to account for rescuing scientific merit from neglect. He invited John Flamsteed [q. v.] to London in 1674, with the design of installing him in a small observatory of his own in Chelsea College, but procured from the king instead the foundation of the Royal Observatory. He furnished him, moreover, at his private expense, with a seven-foot sextant, employed in Flam steed's observations until 1688, as well as with two clocks by Tompion, and acted as his assiduous patron while he lived. The establishment of a mathematical school in Christ's Hospital, of which he was governor, was due to Moore's influence with the king. He entered the Royal Society in 1674. While travelling from Portsmouth to London he died suddenly, at Godalming, on 25 Aug. 1679, at the age of sixty-two, and was buried in the Tower chapel, with a salute of as many guns as he had counted years of life. The Luttrell collection of broadsides in the British Museum includes a poetical tribute to his memory. He had designed to bequeath his library, a splendid collection of scientific works in many languages, to the Royal Society, but died

intestate, and it was sold by public auction in 1684.

Moore, by Aubrey's account, 'was a good mathematician, and a good fellow.' 'He was tall and very fat, thin skin, fair, clear grey eyes' (Lives of Eminent Men, p. 459). Moore left one son, Jonas, to whom he had secured the reversion of his place, and who was knighted at Whitehall on 9 Aug. 1680. He died early and was interred with his father in the Tower chapel, where a memorial tablet to both was erected by his sister, Mrs. Hanway. Some anonymous verses to his memory, entitled ' To the Memory of my most honoured Friend, Sir J. M.,' were published in the year of his death. Captain Jonas Moore [q. v.], military engineer, is believed to have been a grandson.

Moore's principal work, 'A New System of the Mathematicks,' appeared posthumously in 1681, under the supervision of his sons-in-law, William Hanway and John Potenger. It had been intended by him for use in the mathematical school of Christ's Hospital, and was dedicated to the king. The sections on arithmetic, practical geometry, trigonometry, and cosmography were written by Moore himself; those on algebra, Euclid, and navigation by Perkins, master of the said school ; while Flamsteed communicated the astronomical tables. Among Moore's other works were: 1. 'Modern Fortification, or Elements of Military Architecture,' London, 1673; 2nd edit. 1689. 2. 'A Mathematical Compendium,' collected out of the notes and papers of Sir Jonas Moore by Nicholas Stephenson, London, 1674 ; 4th edit. 1705. 3. 'England's Interest, or the Gentleman and Farmer's Friend,' 2nd edit. 1703 ; 4th edit. 1721. His translation from the Italian of Moretti's 'Treatise of Artillery' was published in 1683.

[Phil. Trans. Abridged, ii. 80 ; Birch's Hist. of the Royal Society, iv. 106 ; Button's Mathematical Diet. 1815 ; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ix. 363, 391 ; Gent. Mag. 1817, ii. 3 ; Martin's Biog. Phil. p. 299 ; Rigaud's Correspondence of Scientific Men, passim ; Baily's Account of the Rev. J. Flamsteed, pp. 34-44 ; Pepys's Diary, i. 235, 3rd edit.; Granger's Biog. Hist, of England, iii. 120; Gough's British Topography, p. 92 ; Wolfs Geschichte der Astronomie, p. 455; Poggendorff s Biog. Lit. Handworterbuch ; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Ashmole's Diary, 25 Aug., 2 Sept. 1679 ; Bromley's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, p. 147; Sherburne's Sphere of Manilius, 1675, p. 93.]

A. M. C.