The History of the Royal Society

By Thomas Sprat

Edited by Jack Lynch

Note on the text: The text comes from the first edition (1667), taken from the facsimile edited by Cope and Jones. The selections are the same as those in Tillotson, Fussell, and Waingrow's Eighteenth-Century English Literature. I've added the paragraph numbers, showing part, section, and paragraph.




OF all the Kings of Europe, Your Majesty was the first, who confirm'd this Noble Design of Experiments, by Your own Example, and by a Public Establishment. An Enterprize equal to the most renoun'd Actions of the best Princes. For, to increase the Powers of all Mankind, and to free them from the bondage of Errors, is greater Glory than to enlarge Empire, or to put Chains on the necks of Conquer'd Nations.

What Reverence all Antiquity had for the Authors of Natural Discoveries, is evident by the Diviner sort of Honor they conferr'd on them. Their Founders of Philosophical Opinions were only admir'd by their own Sects.

Their Valiant Men and Generals did seldome rise higher than to Demy-Gods and Heros. But the Gods they Worshipp'd with Temples and Altars, were those who instructed the World to Plow, to Sow, to Plant, to Spin, to build Houses, and to find out New Countries. This Zeal indeed, by which they express'd their Gratitude to such Benefactors, degenerated into Superstition: yet has it taught us, That a higher degree of Reputation is due to Discoverers, than to the Teachers of Speculative Doctrines, nay even to Conquerors themselves.

Nor has the True God himself omitted to shew his value of Vulgar Arts. In the whole History of the first Monarchs of the World, from Adam to Noah, there is no mention of their Wars, or their Victories: All that is Recorded is this, They liv'd so many years, and taught their Posterity to keep Sheep, to till the Ground, to plant Vineyards, to dwell in to work in Brass and Iron. And if they deserv'd a Sacred Remembrance, for one Natural or Mechanical Invention, Your Majesty will certainly obtain Immortal Fame, for having establish'd a perpetual Succession of Inventors.

I am
(May it please Your Majesty)
Your Majesties most humble,
and most obedient
Subject, and Servant,


[from the First Part]

SECT. IX. The Philosophy of the Schole-men.

[1.9.1] But my other instance comes neerer home, and it is of the Schole-men. Whose works when I consider, it puts into my thoughts, how farre more importantly a good Method of thinking, and a right course of apprehending things, does contribute towards the attaining of perfection in true knowledge, then the strongest, and most vigorous wit in the World, can do without them. It cannot without injustice be deny'd, that they were men of extraordinary strength of mind: they had a great quickness of imagination, and subtilty of distinguishing: they very well understood the consequence of propositions: their natural endowments were excellent: their industry commendable: But they lighted on a wrong path at first, and wanted matter to contrive: and so, like the Indians, onely express'd a wonderful Artifice, in the ordering of the same Feathers into a thousand varities of Figures. I will not insist long on the Barbarousness of their style: though that too might justly be censur'd: for all the antient Philosophers, though they labor'd not to be full, and adorn'd in their Speech: yet they always strove to be easie, naturall, and unaffected. Plato was allow'd by all to be the chief Master of speaking, as well as of thinking. And even Aristotle himself, whom alone these men ador'd, however he has been since us'd by his Commentators, was so carefull about his words, that he was esteem'd one of the purest, and most polite Writers of his time. But the want of good Language, not being the Schole-mens worst defect, I shall pass it over: and rather stop a little, to examine the matter itself, and order in which they proceeded.

[1.9.2] The Subjects about which they were most conversant, were either some of those Arts, which Aristotle had drawn into Method, or the more speculative parts of our Divinity. These they commonly handled after this fashion. They began with some generall Definitions of the things themselves, according to their universal Natures: Then divided them into their parts, and drew them out into severall propositions, which they layd down as Problems: these they controverted on both sides: and by many nicities of Arguments, and citations of Authorities, confuted their adversaries, and strengthned their own dictates. But though this Notional Warr had been carry'd on with farr more care, and calmness amongst them, then it was: yet was never able to do any great good towards the enlargement of knowledge: Because it rely'd on generall Terms, which had not much foundation in Nature; and also because they took no other course, but that of disputing.

[1.9.3] That this insisting altogether on establish'd Axioms, is not the most usefull way, is not only cleer in such airy conceptions, which they manag'd: but also in those things, which lye before every mans observation, which belong to the life, and passions, and manners of men; which, one would think, might be sooner reduc'd into standing Rules. As for example: To make a prudent man in the affairs of State, It is not enough, to be well vers'd in all the conclusions, which all the Politicians in the World have devis'd, or to be expert in the Nature of Government, and Laws, Obedience, and Rebellion, Peace, and War: Nay rather a man that relyes altogether on such universal precepts, is almost certain to miscarry. But there must be a sagacity of judgement in particular things: a dexterity in discerning the advantages of occasions: a study of the humour, and interest of the people he is to govern: The same is to be found in Philosophy; a thousand fine Argumentations, and Fabricks in the mind, concerning the Nature of Body, Quantity, Motion, and the like, if they only hover aloof, and are not squar'd to particular matters, they may give an empty satisfaction, but no benefit, and rather serve to swell, then fill the Soul.

[1.9.4] But besides this, the very way of disputing itself, and inferring one thing from another alone, is not at all proper for the spreading of knowledge. It serves admirably well indeed, in those Arts, where the connexion between the propositions is necessary, as in the Mathematicks, in which a long train of Demonstrations, may be truly collected, from the certainty of the first foundation: But in things of probability onely, it seldom or never happens, that after some little progress, the main subject is not left, and the contenders fall not into other matters, that are nothing to the purpose: For if but one link in the whole chain be loose, they wander farr away, and seldom, or never recover their first ground again. In brief, disputing is a very good instrument, to sharpen mens wits, and to make them versatil, and wary defenders of the Principles, which they already know: but it can never much augment the solid substance of Science itself: And me thinks compar'd to Experimenting, it is like Exercise to the Body in comparison of Meat: For running, walking, wrestling, shooting, and other such active sports, will keep men in health, and breath, and a vigorous temper: but it must be a supply of new food that must make them grow: so it is in this case; much contention, and strife of argument, will serve well to explain obscure things, and strengthen the weak, and give a good, sound, masculine colour, to the whole masse of knowledge: But it must be a continued addition of observations, which must nourish, and increase, and give new Blood, and flesh, to the Arts themselves.

[1.9.5] But this has been only hitherto spoken, against the Method of the Schole-men in General; on supposition, that they took the best course, that could be in that kind. I shall now come, to weigh that too. For it may easily be prov'd, that those very Theories, on which they built all their subtle webs, were not at all Collected, by a sufficient information from the things themselves. Which if it can be made out, I hope, it will be granted, that the force and vigour of their Wit did more hurt, then good: and onely serv'd to carry them the faster out of the right way, when they were once going. The Peripateticks themselves do all grant, that the first rise of knowledge must be from the Senses, and from an inductions of their reports: Well then; how could the Schole-men be proper for such a business, who were ty'd by their Cloysterall life, to such a strictness of hours, and had seldom any larger prospects of Nature, then the Gardens of their Monast'ries? It is a common observation, that mens studies are various, according to the different courses of life, to which they apply themselves; or the tempers of the places, wherein they live. They who are bred up in Commonwealths, where the greatest affairs are manag'd by the violence of popular assemblies, and those govern'd by the most plausible speakers: busie themselves chiefly about Eloquence; they who follow a Court, especially intend the ornament of Language, and Poetry, and such more delicate Arts, which are usually there in most request: they who retire from humane things, and shut themselves up in a narrow compass, keeping company with a very few, and that too in a solemne way, addict themselves, for the most part, to some melancholy contemplations, or to devotion, and the thoughts of another world. That therefore which was fittest for the Schole-mens way of life, we will allow them. But what sorry kinds of Philosophy must they needs produce, when it was a part of their Religion, to separate themselves, as much as they could, from the converse of mankind? when they were so farr from being able to discover the secrets of Nature, that they had scarce opportunity, to behold enough of its common works? If any shall be inclinable to follow the directions of such men in Natural things, rather then of those, who make it their employment: I shall believe, they will be irrational enough, to think, that a man may draw an exacter Description of England, who has never been here, then the most industrious Mr. Cambden, who had travell'd over every part of this Country, for that very purpose.

[1.9.6] Whoever shall soberly profess, to be willing to put their shoulders, under the burthen of so great an enterprise, as to represent to mankind, the whole Fabrick, the parts, the causes, the effects of Nature: ought to have their eyes in all parts, and to receive information from every quarter of the earth: they ought to have a constant universall intelligence: all discoveries should be brought to them: the Treasuries of all former times should be laid open before them: the assistance of the present should be allow'd them: so farr are the narrow conceptions of a few private Writers, in a dark Age, from being equall to so vast a design. There are indeed some operations of the mind, which may be best perform'd by the simple strength of mens own particular thoughts; such are invention, and judgement, and disposition: For in them a security from noise, leaves the Soul at more liberty, to bring forth, order, and fashion the heap of matter, which had been before supply'd to its use. But there are other works also, which require as much aid, and as many hands, as can be found. And such is this of observation: Which is the great Foundation of Knowledge: Some must gather, some must bring, some separate, some examine: and (to use a Similitude, which the present time of the year, and the ripe fields, that lye before my eyes, suggest to me) it is in Philosophy, as in Husbandry: Wherein we see, that a few hands will serve to measure out, and fill into sacks, that Corn, which requires very many more laborers, to sow, and reap, and bind, and bring it into the Barn.

[1.9.7] But now it is time for me to dismiss this subtle generation of Writers: whom I would not have prosecuted so farr, but that they are still esteem'd by some men, the onely Masters of Reason. If they would be content, with any thing less then an Empire in Learning, we would grant them very much. We would permit them to be great, and profound Wits, as Angelicall, and Seraphical, as they pleas'd: We would commend them, as we are wont to do Chaucer; we would confess, that they are admirable in comparison of the ignorance of their own Age: And, as Sir Philip Sidney of him, we would say of them; that it is to be wonder'd, how they could see so cleerly then, and we can see no cleerer now: But that they should still be set before us, as the great Oracles of all Wit, we can never allow. Suppose, that I should grant, that they are most usefull in the controversies of our Church, to defend us against the Heresies, and Schisms of our times: what will thence follow, but that they ought to be confin'd, within their own Bounds, and not be suffer'd to hinder the enlargement of the territories of other Sciences? Let them still prevail in the Scholes, and let them govern in disputations: But let them not overspread all sorts of knowledge. That would be as ridiculous, as if, because we see, that Thorns, and Briers, by reason of their sharpness, are fit to stop a gap, and keep out wild Beasts; we should therefore think, they deserv'd to be planted all over every Field. And yet I should not doubt, (if it were not somewhat improper to the present discourse) to prove, that even in Divinity itself, they are not so necessary, as they are reputed to be: and that all, or most of our Religious controversies, may be as well decided, by plain reason, and by considerations, which may be fetch'd from the Religion of mankind, the Nature of Government, and humane Society, and Scripture itself, as by the multitudes of Authorities, and subtleties of disputes, which have been heretofore in use.

[from the Second Part]

Sect. XI. Their matter.

[2.11.1] Of the extent of the matter, about which they have been already conversant, and intend to be hereafter; there can be no better measure taken, than by giving a general prospect of all the objects of mens thoughts: which can be nothing else, but either God, or Men, or Nature.

[2.11.2] As for the First, they meddle no otherwise with Divine things, than onely as the Power, and Wisdom, and Goodness of the Creator, is display'd in the admirable order, and workmanship of the Creatures. It cannot be deny'd, but it lies in the Natural Philosophers hands, best to advance that part of Divinity: which, though it fills not the mind, with such tender, and powerful contemplations, as that which shews us Man's Redemption by a Mediator; yet it is by no means to be pass'd by unregarded: but is an excellent ground to establish the other. This is a Religion, which is confirm'd, by the unanimous agreement of all sorts of Worships: and may serve in respect to Christianity, as Solomon's Porch to the Temple; into the one the Heathens themselvs did also enter; but into the other, onely God's peculiar People.

[2.11.3] In men, may be consider'd the Faculties, and operations of their Souls; The constitution of their Bodies, and the works of their Hands. Of these, the first they omit: both because the knowledg and direction of them have been before undertaken, by some Arts, on which they have no mind to intrench, as the Politicks, Morality, and Oratory: and also because the Reason, the Understanding, the Tempers, the Will, the Passions of Men, are so hard to be reduc'd to any certain observation of the senses; and afford so much room to the observers to falsifie or counterfeit: that if such discourses should be once entertain'd; they would be in danger of falling into talking, instead of working, which they carefully avoid. Such subjects therefore as these, they have hitherto kept out. But yet, when they shall have made more progress, in material things, they will be in a condition, of pronouncing more boldly on them too. For, though Man's Soul, and Body are not onely one natural Engine (as some have thought) of whose motions of all sorts, there may be as certain an accompt given, as of those of a Watch or Clock: yet by long studying of the Spirits, of the Bloud, of the Nourishment, of the parts, of the Diseases, of the Advantages, of the accidents which belong to humane bodies (all which will come within their Province) there may, without question, be very neer ghesses made, even at the more exalted, and immediate Actions of the Soul; and that too, without destroying its Spiritual and Immortal Being.

[2.11.4] These two Subjects, God, and the Soul, being onely forborn: In all the rest, they wander, at their pleasure: In the frame of Mens bodies, the ways for strong, healthful, and long life: In the Arts of Mens Hands, those that either necessity, convenience, or delight have produc'd: In the works of Nature, their helps, their varieties, redundancies, and defects: and in bringing all these to the uses of humane Society.

Sect. XX. Their manner of Discourse.

[2.20.1] Thus they have directed, judg'd, conjectur'd upon, and improved Experiments. But lastly, in these, and all other businesses, that have come under their care; there is one thing more, about which the Society has been most sollicitous; and that is, the manner of their Discourse: which, unless they had been very watchful to keep in due temper, the whole spirit and vigour of their Design, had been soon eaten out, by the luxury and redundance of speech. The ill effects of this superfluity of talking, have already overwhelm'd most other Arts and Professions; insomuch, that when I consider the means of happy living, and the causes of their corruption, I can hardly forbear recanting what I said before; and concluding, that eloquence ought to be banish'd out of all civil Societies, as a thing fatal to Peace and good Manners. To this opinion I should wholly incline; if I did not find, that it is a Weapon, which may be as easily procur'd by bad men, as good: and that, if these should onely cast it away, and those retain it; the naked Innocence of vertue, would be upon all occasions expos'd to the armed Malice of the wicked. This is the chief reason, that should now keep up the Ornaments of speaking, in any request: since they are so much degenerated from their original usefulness. They were at first, no doubt, an admirable Instrument in the hands of Wise Men: when they were onely employ'd to describe Goodness, Honesty, Obedience; in larger, fairer, and more moving Images: to represent Truth, cloth'd with Bodies; and to bring Knowledg back again to our very senses, from whence it was at first deriv'd to our understandings. But now they are generally chang'd to worse uses: They make the Fancy disgust the best things, if they come sound, and unadorn'd: they are in open defiance against Reason; professing, not to hold much correspondence with that; but with its Slaves, the Passions: they give the mind a motion too changeable, and bewitching, to consist with right practice. Who can behold, without indignation, how many mists and uncertainties, these specious Tropes and Figures have brought on our Knowledg? How many rewards, which are due to more profitable, and difficult Arts, have been still snatch'd away by the easie vanity of fine speaking? For now I am warm'd with this just Anger, I cannot with-hold my self, from betraying the shallowness of all these seeming Mysteries; upon which, we Writers, and Speakers, look so bigg. And, in few words, I dare say; that of all the Studies of men, nothing may be sooner obtain'd, than this vicious abundance of Phrase, this trick of Metaphors, this volubility of Tongue, which makes so great a noise in the World. But I spend words in vain; for the evil is now so inveterate, that it is hard to know whom to blame, or where to begin to reform. We all value one another so much, upon this beautiful deceipt; and labour so long after it, in the years of our education: that we cannot but ever after think kinder of it, than it deserves. And indeed, in most other parts of Learning, I look on it to be a thing almost utterly desperate in its cure: and I think, it may be plac'd amongst those general mischiefs; such, as the dissention of Christian Princes, the want of practice in Religion, and the like; which have been so long spoken against, that men are become insensible about them; every one shifting off the fault from himself to others; and so they are only made bare common places of complaint. It will suffice my present purpose, to point out, what has been done by the Royal Society, towards the correcting of its excesses in Natural Philosophy; to which it is, of all others, a most profest enemy.

[2.20.2] They have therefore been most rigorous in putting in execution, the only Remedy, that can be found for this extravagance: and that has been, a constant Resolution, to reject all the amplifications, digressions, and swellings of style: to return back to the primitive purity, and shortness, when men deliver'd so many things, almost in an equal number of words. They have exacted from all their members, a close, naked, natural way of speaking; positive expressions; clear senses; a native easiness: bringing all things as near the Mathematical plainness, as they can: and preferring the language of Artizans, Countrymen, and Merchants, before that, of Wits, or Scholars.

[2.20.3] And here, there is one thing, not to be pass'd by; which will render this establish'd custom of the Society, well nigh everlasting: and that is, the general constitution of the minds of the English. I have already often insisted on some of the prerogatives of England; whereby it may justly lay claim, to be the Head of a Philosophical league, above all other Countries in Europe: I have urg'd its scituation, its present Genius, and the disposition of its Merchants; and many more such arguments to incourage us, still remain to be us'd: But of all others, this, which I am now alledging, is of the most weighty, and important consideration. If there can be a true character given of the Universal Temper of any Nation under Heaven: then certainly this must be ascrib'd to our Countrymen: that they have commonly an unaffected sincerity; that they love to deliver their minds with a sound simplicity; that they have the middle qualities, between the reserv'd subtle southern, and the rough unhewn Northern people: that they are not extreamly prone to speak: that they are more concern'd, what others will think of the strength, than of the fineness of what they say: and that an universal modesty possesses them. These Qualities are so conspicuous, and proper to our Soil; that we often hear them objected to us, by some of our neighbour Satyrists, in more disgraceful expressions. For they are wont to revile the English, with a want of familiarity; with a melancholy dumpishness; with slowness, silence, and with the unrefin'd sullenness of their behaviour. But these are only the reproaches of partiality, or ignorance: for they ought rather to be commended for an honourable integrity; for a neglect of circumstances, and flourishes; for regarding things of greater moment, more than less; for a scorn to deceive as well as to be deceiv'd: which are all the best indowments, that can enter into a Philosophical Mind. So that even the position of our climate, the air, the influence of the heaven, the composition of the English blood; as well as the embraces of the Ocean, seem to joyn with the labours of the Royal Society, to render our Country, a Land of Experimental knowledge. And it is a good sign, that Nature will reveal more of its secrets to the English, than to others; because it has already furnish'd them with a Genius so well proportion'd, for the receiving, and retaining its mysteries.

[2.20.4] And now, to come to a close of the second part of the Narration: The Society has reduc'd its principal observations, into one common-stock; and laid them up in publique Registers, to be nakedly transmitted to the next Generation of Men; and so from them, to their Successors. And as their purpose was, to heap up a mixt Mass of Experiments, without digesting them into any perfect model: so to this end, they confin'd themselves to no order of subjects; and whatever they have recorded, they have done it, not as compleat Schemes of opinions, but as bare unfinish'd Histories.

[2.20.5] In the order of their Inquisitions, they have been so free; that they have sometimes committed themselves to be guided, according to the seasons of the year: sometimes, according to what any foreiner, or English Artificer, being present, has suggested: sometimes, according to any extraordinary accident in the Nation, or any other casualty, which was hapned in their way. By which roving, and unsettled course, there being seldome any reference of one matter to the next; they have prevented others, nay even their own hands, from corrupting, or contracting the work: they have made the raising of Rules, and Propositions, to be a far more difficult task, than it would have been if their Registers had been more Methodical. Nor ought this neglect of consequence, and order, to be only thought to proceed from their carelessness; but from a mature, and well grounded præmeditation. For it is certain, that a too sudden striving to reduce the Sciences, in their beginnings, into Method, and Shape, and Beauty; has very much retarded their increase. And it happens to the Invention of Arts, as to children in their younger years: in whose Bodies, the same applications, that serve to make them strait, slender, and comely; are often found very mischievous, to their ease, their strength, and their growth.

[2.20.6] By their fair, and equal, and submissive way of Registring nothing, but Histories, and Relations; they have left room for others, that shall succeed, to change, to augment, to approve, to contradict them, at their discretion. By this, they have given posterity a far greater power of judging them; than ever they took over those, that went before them. By this, they have made a firm confederacy, between their own present labours, and the Industry of Future Ages; which how beneficial it will prove hereafter, we cannot better ghesse, than by recollecting, what wonders it would in all likelyhood have produc'd e're this; if it had been begun in the Times of the Greeks, or Romans, or Scholemen; nay even in the very last resurrection of learning. What depth of Nature, could by this time have been hid from our view? What Faculty of the Soul would have been in the dark? What part of human infirmities, not provided against? if our Predecessors, a thousand, nay even a hundred, years ago, had begun to add by little, and little to the store: if they would have indeavour'd to be Benefactors, and not Tyrants over our Reasons; if they would have communicated to us, more of their Works, and less of their Wit.

[2.20.7] This complaint, which I here take up, will appear the juster; if we consider, that the first learned Times of the Antients, and all those, that follow'd after them, down to this day, would have receiv'd no prejudice at all; if their Philosophers had chiefly bestow'd their pains, in making Histories of Nature, and not in forming of Sciences: perhaps indeed the names of some particular men, who had the luck to compile those Systemes, and Epitomes which they gave us, would have been less glorious, than they are. Though that too may be doubted: and (if we may conclude any thing surely, upon a matter so changeable, as Fame is) we have reason enough to believe, that these later Ages would have honour'd Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, and Epicurus, as much, if not more, than now they do; if they had only set things in a way of propagating Experiences down to us; and not impos'd their imaginations on us, as the only Truths. This may be well enough suppos'd; seeing it is common to all mankind, still to esteem dearer the memories of their Friends, than of those that pretend to be their Masters.

[2.20.8] But this matter of reputation, was only the private concernment of five, or six. As for the Interest of those Times in general, I will venture to make good; that in all effects of true knowledge, they might have been as happy, without those Bodies of Arts, as they were with them; Logick, and the Mathematicks only excepted. To instance in their Physicks: they were utterly useless, in respect of the good of mankind: they themselves did almost confess so much, by reserving all their Natural Philosophy, for the retirements of their Wisemen. What help did it ever bring to the vulgar? What visible benefit to any City, or Country in the World? Their Mechanicks, and Artificers (for whom the True Natural Philosophy should be principally intended) were so far from being assisted by those abstruse Doctrines; that perhaps scarce any one of those Professions, and Trades, has well understood Aristotles Principles of Bodies, from his own Time down to ours. Hence then we may conclude, that those first Times, wherein these Arts were made, had been nothing dammag'd; if, instead of raising so many Speculative Opinions, they had only minded the laying of a solid ground-work, for a vast Pile of Experiments, to be continually augmenting through all Ages.

[2.20.9] And I will also add; that, if such a course had been at first set on foot, Philosophy would by this means have been kept closer to material things; and so, in probability, would not have undergone so many Eclipses, as it has done ever since. If we reckon from its first setting forth in the East; we shall find, that in so long a Tract of Time, there have not been above four, or five hundred years, at several intervals, wherein it has been in any request in the World. And if we look back on all the alterations, and subversions of States, that have hapned in Civil Nations, these three thousand years: we may still behold, that the Sciences of mens brains, have been always subject to be far more injur'd by such vicissitudes, than the Arts of their hands. What cause can be assign'd for this? Why was Learning the first thing, that was constantly swept away, in all destructions of Empire, and forein inundations? Why could not that have weather'd out the storm, as well as most sorts of Manufactures: which, though they began as soon, or before the other, yet they have remain'd, through all such changes, unalter'd; except for the better? The Reason of this is evident. It is, because Philosophy had been spun out, to so fine a thread, that it could be known but only to those, who would throw away all their whole Lives upon it. It was made too subtile, for the common, and gross conceptions of men of business. It had before in a measure been banish'd, by the Philosophers themselves, out of the World; and shut up in the shades of their walks. And by this means, it was first look'd upon, as most useless; and so fit, soonest to be neglected. Whereas if at first it had been made to converse more with the senses, and to assist familiarly in all occasions of human life; it would, no doubt, have been thought needful to be preserv'd, in the most Active, and ignorant Time. It would have escap'd the fury of the Barbarous people; as well as the Arts of Ploughing, Gard'ning, Cookery, making Iron and Steel, Fishing, Sailing, and many more such necessary handicrafts have done.

[2.20.10] But it is too late to lament this error of the Antients; seeing it is not now to be repair'd. It is enough, that we gather from hence; that by bringing Philosophy down again to mens sight, and practice, from whence it was flown away so high: the Royal Society has put it into a condition of standing out, against the Invasions of Time, or even Barbarisme it self: that by establishing it on a firmer foundation, than the airy Notions of men alone, upon all the works of Nature; by turning it into one of the Arts of Life, of which men may see there is daily need; they have provided, that it cannot hereafter be extinguish'd, at the loss of a Library, at the overthrowing of a Language, or at the death of some few Philosophers: but that men must lose their eyes, and hands, and must leave off desiring to make their Lives convenient, or pleasant; before they can be willing to destroy it.