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presented, on which she might found an agreeable
allusion. She heard that. Sir Woolston
lived near Bosworth Field, but had not heard
that the worthy baronet, a brutal and ignorant
man, knew less of the fate of Richard the Third
than of the ridicule he got in his own parish for
having assaulted a tinker one day in crossing
Bosworth Field, and made himself a local jest
as hero of the Battle of Bosworth. Of all that
the queen knew nothing, when she said with her
blandest smile as he came up, "Oh, sir! it has
been related to me your connexion with
Bosworth Field and the memorable battle fought
there."  The gentleman's face reddened as he
broke out with an indecorous vehemence of
protestation that all her majesty had heard about
that battle was a lie, and he would find a way
to make those repent it who had filled the ears
of their sovereign with such gross nonsense.
"God forgive my great sin!" cried the
astonished princess; and Sir Woolston Dixie left
the drawing-room in great agony of wrath.


IT is the fashionand a very good fashion
to dwell on the benefits society has derived from
various departments of science, and to show how
many of the modern improvements in civilised
society are due to scientific discovery. No doubt it
would be difficult to exaggerate and tedious to
recapitulate what we owe to science; but it
may be more desirable, and is certainly more
novel, to consider what we have a right to
expect from it. Such an attempt would not be
without precedent, for it happens that there
exist materials from which we may clearly
deduceat least at one important epoch in modern
historywhat were the anticipations of reasonable
men as to future discovery. We thus, as
it were, place ourselves on an eminence far in
the rear of our present position in science, and
remembering the narrow limits within which
knowledge was confined at the period alluded
to, we may observe and trace what to men living
at that time was the dim outline of the future,
marking the direction which it then seemed
likely that improvement would take, and the
departments that seemed then to promise
important discovery. What was the future two
centuries ago, has long been the past in all
matters of scientific interest, and we may thus
compare the anticipation with the reality in a
way not a little interesting, and well calculated
to yield useful suggestions, if we would now
look forward from the stand-point of existing
science and honestly describe our impressions as
to the future of the present generation.

We are indebted for the means of thus
comparing a distant prospect and a mere anticipation
with a clear knowledge of facts, to a man of no
small eminence in his own day, who lived in
England during the middle and latter part of the
seventeenth century, and devoted himself to
science as it then existed. This man was Robert
Boyle, equally remarkable for his assiduity, his
intelligence, and his honesty of purpose, and admirably
adapted, in all respects, to know and judge
in such a matter as that we are now considering.

Robert Boyle was born in 1626, the same
year as that in which Lord Bacon died. He
was the youngest son and fourteenth child of a
celebrated statesman, commonly spoken of in his
own day as the great Earl of Cork. All his
elder brothers (six in number) became
distinguished in public life, and he alone, of so large
a family, not only declined to enter into the
arena of politics, but refused a peerage,
preferring to live quietly as a studious man. Boyle
was not a man of genius. He was eminently a
man of science, and he has left a reputation
more abiding than any of his brethren, and is
remembered among the worthies of England
long after they and his father would have been
forgotten but for his fame. He was one of the
early followers of the Baconian philosophy, and
therefore one of the noble band of pioneers in
experimental science. He studied phenomena,
proving and testing as far as he could by
experiment the truth of theoretical views. He
assisted others to come to satisfactory conclusions
by his own accurate observations. He suggested
and adopted original modes of ascertaining
truth. He lived in troublesome and dangerous
times, and appears to have had strong convictions
on most subjects, but he was ever very
moderate in the expression of his opinions, and
in the highest sense of the word was an honest
and straightforward man. His constitution was
weakly, and though often writing on serious
subjects, he had little taste for politics or polemics,
but he seems never to have sacrificed his convictions
for his personal comfort or convenience.

Boyle is described by his celebrated contemporary
Boerhaave, as among the chief writers
who, at that time, treated chemistry with a view
to natural philosophy.  "Such,"  writes this
learned Dutchman, "is the extent of this
admirable writer's fame, and such the honour he
has done his age and nation in foreign countries,
that his reputation will extend itself in the same
proportion with true science, and his glory last
as long as there shall subsist a true spirit of
learning."  It is also recorded of him that he
not only relates his discoveries, but has stated
in what he failed as well as in what he
succeeded. "What he tried to no purpose
prevents our making such trials again, what he tried
with effect serves us as well as him, verifies his
discoveries, and puts us in the road of making
new ones."

There is something singularly pleasing in the
modesty, combined with ingenuity, of these
pioneers of science. They, for the most part,
had to grope about at the door of scientific
investigation, having little experience to guide
them. If they erred, they might go egregiously
wrong without being informed of it by any fellow-
workman in the same department, for all were
equally ignorant and equally blind. None dared
to say that what was contrary to experience was
contrary to nature, for experience was infinitely
small, and nature was recognised as infinitely
great and powerful.