A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Boyle, The Hon. Robert

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Boyle, The Hon. Robert (1627-1691).—Natural Philosopher and chemist, 7th s. of the 1st Earl of Cork, was b. at Lismore, Co. Waterford, and ed. at Eton and by private tutors, after which he pursued his studies on the Continent. On his return to England he devoted himself to the study of science, especially natural philosophy and chemistry. He was one of the founders of the Royal Society, and, by his experiments and observations added to existing knowledge, especially in regard to pneumatics. He at the same time devoted much study to theology; so much indeed that he was strongly urged by Lord Clarendon to enter the Church. Thinking, however, that he could serve the cause of religion better as a layman, he declined this advice. As a director of the East India Co. he did much for the propagation of Christianity in the East, and for the dissemination of the Bible. He also founded the "Boyle Lectures" in defence of Christianity. He declined the offer of a peerage. B. was a man of great intellectual acuteness, and remarkable for his conversational powers. Among his writings are Origin of Forms and Qualities, Experiments touching Colour, Hydrostatical Paradoxes, and Observations on Cold; in theology, Seraphic Love. His complete works were pub. in 5 vols. in 1744.