% LaTeX source for Aubrey's Brief Lives




  Edited  by  Oliver  Lawson  Dick \\
  (Secker and Warburg 1949) \\




  Born 1620.  Statistician.  He gained such esteem by his integrity as a 
  merchant that he was able, when he was only thirty years old, to procure 
  the Professorship of Music in Gresham College for his friend Dr William 
  Petty.  In 1662 appeared the first \textit{Natural and Political Observations 
  made upon the Bills of Mortality by John Graunt, City of  London.  With 
  reference to the Government, Religion, Trade, Growth,  Ayre, Diseases, and 
  the several Changes of the said City}.  This work laid the foundations of 
  the science subsequently styled Political Arithmetic by Sir William Petty.  
  Charles II specially recommended Graunt to be chosen an original member of 
  the Royal Society, advising the Society that \textit{if they found any more 
  such tradesmen, they should be  sure to admit them all without any more 
  adoe}.  After his retirement, Graunt was admitted into the management of the 
  New River Company, and was rumoured, because of his Catholicism, to have cut 
  off the supply of water to the city before the Fire of London.  He died in 

CAPTAINE JOHN GRAUNT (afterwards, major) was borne 
\textit{24$^{\circ}$ die Aprilis}, at the 7 Starres in Burchin Lane, 
London, in the parish of St Michael's Cornhill, ½ an houre before eight 
a clock on a munday morning, the signe being in the 9 degree of Gemini 
that day at 12 a clock, Anno Domino 1620.

    He was bred-up (as the fashion then was) in the Puritan way; wrote 
Short-hand dextrously; and after many yeares constant hearing and writing 
sermon notes, he fell to buying and reading of the best Socinian bookes, 
and for severall yeares continued to be of that Opinion.  At last, he turned 
a Roman Catholique, of which Religion he dyed a great Zealot.

    To give him his due prayse, he was a very ingeniose and studious person, 
and generally beloved, and rose early in the morning to his Study before 
shop-time.  He understood Latin and French.  He was a pleasant facetious 
Companion, and very hospitable.

    He was by Trade, Haberdasher of small-wares, but was free of the 
Drapers-Company.  A man generally beloved; a faythfull friend.  Often 
chosen for his prudence and justnes to be an Arbitrator; and he was a 
great Peace-maker.  He had an excellent working head, and was very facetious 
and fluent in his conversation.

    He  had  gonne  through  all  the  Offices of the City as far as 
Common-councill-man.  He was Common-councill-man two yeares.  Captaine of 
the Trayned Band, severall yeares: Major of it, two or three yeares, and 
then layd downe trade and all other publique Employment for his Religion, 
being a Roman Catholique.

    He wrote \textit{Observations on the bills of Mortality} very ingeniosely, 
but I believe, and partly know, that he had his Hint from his intimate and 
familiar friend Sir William Petty, to which he made some \textit{Additions}, 
since printed.  And he intended (had he lived) to have writt more on the 

    He wrott some Observations on the Advance of the Excise, not printed; 
and also intended to have written something of Religion.

    Major John Graunt dyed on Easter-eve 1674, and was buryed the Wednesday 
followeing in St Dunstan's church in Fleetstreet in the body of the said 
church under the piewes towards the gallery on the north side, i.e.\ under 
the piewes (alias hoggsties) of the north side of the middle aisle (what 
pitty 'tis so great an Ornament of the Citty should be buryed so obscurely!) 
\textit{aetatis anno 54$^{\circ}$}.

    His death is lamented by all Good men that had the happinesse to knowe 
him; and a great number of ingeniose persons attended him to his grave.  
Among others (with Teares) was that ingeniose great Virtuoso, Sir William 
Petty, his old and intimate Acquaintance, who was sometime a student at 
Brasenose College.

    He had one son, a man, who dyed in Persia; one daughter, a Nunne at 
(I think) Gaunt.  His widowe yet alive.

    He was my honoured and worthy Friend---\textit{cujus animae propitietur 
Deus,  Amen.}


  Born 1656.  Astronomer.  Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society at 
  the age of twenty-two.  But for Halley, Newton's \textit{Principia} would 
  not have existed; his suggestions originated it and, although his father's 
  death had left him in poor circumstances, he printed Newton's work at 
  his own expense and averted the threatened suppression of the third book.  
  In 1691 Halley was refused the Savilian Professorship of Astronomy at 
  Oxford, owing to a suspicion of his being a materialist.  Assistant 
  Secretary to the Royal Society 1685-93.  Deputy Controller of the Mint 
  at Ipswich 1696.  William III gave him command of a war-sloop, the 
  \textit{Paramour Pink}, in 1698, with orders to study the variation of the 
  compass and to attempt to discover what land lay to the south of the Western 
  Ocean.  Halley penetrated to the Antarctic, and explored the Atlantic from 
  shore to shore until 1700.  The following year he published a general chart 
  of the variation of the compass shown by Halleyan lines.  He then made a 
  thorough survey of the tides and coasts of the English Channel, of which 
  he published a map in 1702.  In 1703 he was made Savilian Professor of 
  Geometry at Oxford.  He was also elected Secretary of the Royal Society 
  in 1713, and became Astronomer Royal in 1721.  At the age of sixty-four, 
  he began the process of observing the moon through its complete cycle of 
  eighteen years, and in 1729 was elected a foreign member of the Paris 
  Academy of Sciences.  Peter the Great admitted him to his table, and at 
  Vienna he was presented with a diamond ring from the Emperor's own finger.  
  Halley worked out the Law of Inverse Squares, the first detailed description 
  of a circulatory theory of Trade Winds and Monsoons, and a new method of 
  finding the roots of equations.  He discovered the law connecting elevation 
  in the atmosphere with its density, and first measured height by barometric 
  readings.  He improved diving apparatus, experimented on the dilation of 
  liquids by heat, and by his scientific voyages laid the foundations of 
  physical geography.  But his most enduring fame was caused by his accurate 
  prediction of the return in 1758 of the comet (named after him) of 1531, 
  1607, and 1682.  He died in 1742 after drinking a glass of wine against 
  his doctor's orders.

MR  EDMUND  HALLEY,  Artium  Magister, the eldest son of Edmund Halley, 
a Soape-boyler, a wealthy Citizen of the City of London, of the Halleys 
of Derbyshire, a good family.  He was born in Shoreditch parish, at a 
place called Haggerston, the backside of Hogsdon.

    At 9 yeares old, his father's apprentice taught him to write, and 
arithmetique.  He went to Paule's schoole to Dr Gale: while he was there 
he was very perfect in the celestiall Globes in so much that I heard Mr 
Moxton (the Globe-maker) say that if a star were misplaced in the Globe, 
he would presently find it.  He studyed Geometry, and at 16 could make a 
dyall, and then, he said, thought himselfe a brave fellow.

    At 16 went to Queen's Colledge in Oxon, well versed in Latin, Greeke, 
and Hebrew: where, at the age of nineteen, he solved this useful Probleme 
in Astronomie, never done before, viz.\ \textit{from 3 distances given from 
the Sun, and  Angles between, to find the Orbe}, for which his name will ever 
be famous.

    He went to Dantzick to visit Hevelius.  December 1st, 1680, went to 
Paris: Cardinal d'Estrée caressed him and sent him to his brother the 
Admirall with a lettre of Recommendation.  He hath contracted an acquaintance 
and friendship with all the eminentst Mathematicians of France and Italie, 
and holds a correspondence with them.

    He gott leave and a viaticum of his father to goe to the Island of 
\textit{Sancta Hellena}, purely upon account of advancement of Astronomy, to make the 
globe of the Southerne Hemisphere right, which before was very erroneous, 
as being donne only after the observations of ignorant seamen.  There he 
stayed some moneths.  There went over with him (amongst others) a woman, 
and her husband, who had no child in several yeares; before he came from 
the Island, she was brought to bed of a Child.  At his returne, he presented 
his Planisphere, with a short description, to his Majesty who was very well 
pleased with it; but received nothing but Prayse.



  Born 1623.  Political economist.  He went to sea at an early age, but 
  his precocious talents so excited the envy of his fellow-seamen that they 
  deserted him on the coast of France with a broken leg.  Instead of returning 
  home, he studied on the Continent.  He published economic treatises, the 
  most important of which were entitled \textit{Political  Arithmetic} 
  (collected edition 1690), a term signifying what we now call statistics.  
  He died in 1687.

HIS father was by profession a clothier, and also did dye his owne cloathes: 
he left little or no estate to Sir William.  About 12 or 13, i.e.\ before 
15, he haz told me, happened to him the most remarkable \textit{accident} of 
life (which he did not tell me) and which was the foundation of all the rest 
of his greatnes and acquiring riches.  He haz told me that he never gott 
by Legacies, but only x pounds, which was not payd.

    He enformed me that, about 15, in March, he went over into Normandy, 
to Caen, in a vessell that went hence, with a little stock, and began to 
play the merchant, and had so good successe that he maintained himselfe, 
and also educated himselfe; this I guessed was that most remarkable accident 
that he meant.  Here he learn't the French tongue, and perfected himselfe 
in the Latin (before, but a competent smattering) and had Greeke enough to 
serve his turne.  Here (at Caen) he studyed the Arts: he was sometime at 
La Flesshe in the college of Jesuites.  At 18, he was (I have heard him say) 
a better mathematician than he is now; but when occasion is, he knows how 
to recurre to more mathematicall Knowledge.  At Paris he studyed Anatomie, 
and read Vesalius with Mr Thomas Hobbes, who loved his company.  Mr H then 
wrot his \textit{Optiques}; Sir W.P.\ then had a fine hand in drawing and 
limning, and drew Mr Hobbes Opticall schemes for him, which he was pleased to 
like.  At Paris, one time, it happened that he was driven to a great streight 
for money, and I have heard him say, that he lived a weeke on two peniworth 
(or 3, I have forgott which, but I thinke the former) of Walnutts.

    He came to Oxon, and entred himselfe of Brasen-nose college.  Here he 
taught Anatomy to the young Scholars.  Anatomy was then but little understood 
by the university, and I remember that he kept a body that he brought by 
water from Reding a good while to read upon some way soused or pickled.  
About these times Experimentall Philosophy first budded here and was first 
cultivated by these Vertuosi in that darke time.

    Anno Domini 1650 happened that memorable accident and experiment 
of the reviving Nan Green a servant maid, who was hang'd in the castle 
of Oxon for murdering her bastard-child.  After she had suffer'd the law, 
she was cut downe and carried away in order to be anatomiz'd by some young 
physitians, but Dr William Petty finding life in her, would not venter upon 
her, only so farr as to recover her life.  Which being look'd upon as a great 
wonder, there was a relation of her recovery printed, and at the end several 
copies of verses made by the young poets of the Universitie were added.

    He was about 1650 elected Professor of Musique at Gresham Colledge, by, 
and by the Interest of his Friend Captaine John Graunt (who wrote the 
Observations on the Bills of Mortality) and at that time was worth 
but fourtie pounds in all the world.

    Shortly after, he was recommended to the Parliament to be one of the 
Surveyors of Ireland, to which employment Capt John Graunt's interest did 
also help to give him a Lift, and Edmund Wyld, Esq, also, then a Member of 
Parliament and a good fautor of Ingeniose and good men, for meer meritt 
sake (not being formerly acquainted with him) did him great service, which 
perhaps he knowes not of.

    Severall made offers to the Parliament to survey it (when the Parliament 
ordered to have it surveyed) for 4000 pounds, 5000 pounds, 6000 pounds; 
but Sir William (then Dr) went lower then them all and gott it.  Sir Jonas 
More contemnd it as dangerous, loving to sleepe in a whole skin: he was 
afrayd of the Tories [\textit{Irish bandits}].

    By this Surveying Employment he gott an Estate in Ireland (before the 
restauration of King Charles II) of 18,000 pounds per annum, the greatest 
part whereof he was forced afterwards to refund, the former owners being 
then declared Innocents.  He hath yet 7 or 8000 pounds per annum and can, 
from the Mount Mangorton in the com. of Kerry, behold 50,000 Acres of his 
owne land.  He hath an Estate in every province in Ireland.

    The Kingdom of Ireland he hath surveyed, and that with every exactnesse, 
that there is now no Estate there to the value of threscore pounds per annum 
but he can shew, to the value, and those that he employed for the 
Geometricall part were ordinary fellowes, some (perhaps) foot-soldiers, 
that circumambulated with their box and needles, not knowing what they did, 
which Sir William knew right will how to make use of.

    I remember about 1660 there was a great difference between him and Sir 
Hierome Sancy, one of Oliver's knights.  They printed one against the other: 
this knight was wont to preach at Dublin.  The Knight had been a Soldier, 
and challenged Sir William to fight with him.  Sir William is extremely 
short sighted, and being the challengee it belonged to him to nominate 
place and weapon.  He nominates, for the place, a dark Cellar, and the 
weapon to be a great Carpenter's Axe.  This turned the knight's challenge 
into Ridicule, and so it came to nought.

    Before he went into Ireland, he solicited, and no doubt he was an 
admirable good Solicitor.  I have heard him say that in Soliciting (with 
the same paines) he could dispatch severall businesses, nay, better than 
one alone, for by conversing with severall he should gaine the more 
knowledge and the greater Interest.

    In the time of the Warre with the Dutch, they concluded at the 
Councell-board at London, to have so many sea men out of Irland (I think 
1500).  Away to Irland came one with a Commission and acquaints Sir William 
with it; says Sir William, You will never rayse that number here.  Oh, 
sayd the other, I warrant you, I will not abate you a man.  Now Sir William 
knew 'twas impossible, for he knew how many Tunne of shipping belong'd to 
Ireland, and the rule is, to so many tunnes so many men.  Of these shipps 
halfe were abroad, and of those at home so many men unfit.  In fine, the 
Commissioner with all his diligence could not possibly rayse above 200 
seamen there.  So we may see how statesmen may mistake for want of this 
Politique Arithmetique.

    Another time the Councell at Dublin were all in a great racket for the 
prohibition of Coale from England and Wales, considering that all about 
Dublin is such a vast quantity of Turfe; so they should all improve their 
rents, sett poor men on worke, and the City should be served with Fuell 
cheaper.  Sir William prima facie knew that this project could not succeed.  
Sayd he, If you will make an order to hinder the bringing-in of Coales by 
foreigne vessells, and bring it in Vessells of your owne, I approve of it 
very well: But for your supposition of the cheapnesse of the Turfe, 'tis 
true, 'tis cheape on the place, but consider carriage, consider the yards 
that must contayn such a quantity for respective houses, these yards must 
be rented; what will be the chardge?  They supputated, and found that (every 
thing considered) 'twas much dearer then to fetch coale from Wales, or etc.

    Sir William was a Rota man [\textit{member  of republican Rota Club}], 
and troubled Mr James Harrington with his Arithmeticall proportions, reducing 
Politie to Numbers.

    Anno 1660 he came to England, and was presently [\textit{at once}] received 
into good grace with his Majestie, who was mightily pleased with his 
discourse.  He can be an excellent Droll (if he haz a mind to it) and will 
preach extempore incomparably, either the Presbyterian way, Independent, 
Cappucin frier, or Jesuite.

    I remember one St Andrewe's day (which is the day of the Generall Meeting 
of the Royall Society for Annuall Elections) I sayd, Methought 'twas not so 
well that we should pitch upon the Patron of Scotland's day, we should have 
taken St George or St Isidore (a philosopher canonized).  No, said Sir 
William, I would rather have had it on St Thomas day, for he would not 
beleeve till he had seen and putt his fingers into the Holes, according 
to the Motto \textit{Nullius in  verba} [not bound to swear obedience to any 
man's dogma].

    Anno Domini 1663 he made his double bottom'd Vessell (launched about 
New-yeare's tide) of which he gave a Modell to the Royal Societie made with 
his own hands, and it is kept in the Repository at Gresham College.  It did 
doe very good service, but happned to be lost in an extraordinary storme in 
the Irish sea.  About 1665 he presented to the Royall Societie a Discourse 
of his (in manuscript, of about a Quire of paper) of Building of Shippes, 
which the Lord Brounker (then President) took away, and still keepes, saying 
'Twas too great an Arcanum of State to be commonly perused; but Sir William 
told me that Dr Robert Wood, M.D., has a copie of it, which he himselfe haz 

    Anno Domini 1667 he maried on Trinity Sunday the relict of Sir Maurice 
Fenton, of Ireland, Knight, daughter of Sir Hadras Waller of Ireland, a 
very beautifull and ingeniose Lady, browne, with glorious Eies, by whom we 
hath some sonnes and daughters, very lovely children, but all like the 
Mother.  He has a naturall Daughter that much resembles him, no legitimate 
child so much, that acts at the Duke's Playhouse.

    He is a proper handsome man, measured six foot high, good head of browne 
haire, moderately turning up.  His eies are a kind of goose-gray, but very 
short sighted, and, as to aspect, beautifull, and promise sweetness of 
nature and they doe not deceive, for he is a marvellous good-natured person.  
Eie-browes thick, darke, and straight (horizontall).

    He is a person of an admirable inventive head, and practicall parts.  
He hath told me that he hath read but little, that is to say not since 25 
aetat., and is of Mr Hobbes his mind, that had he read much, as some men 
have. he had not known so much as he does, nor should have made such 
Discoveries and improvements.

    He had for his patent for Earle of Kilmore and Baron of Shelbrooke, 
which he stifles during his life to avoyd Envy, but his Sonne will have 
the benefit of the Precedency.  (I expected that his Sonne would have 
broken-out a Lord or Earle: but it seemes that he had enemies at the Court 
at Dublin, which out of envy obstructed the passing of his Patent.)

    Monday, 20th March, he was affronted by Mr Vernon: Tuesday following 
Sir William and his Ladie's brother (Mr Waller) Hectored Mr Vernon and 
caned him.

    He told me, that whereas some men have accidentally come into the way 
of preferment, by lying at an Inne, and there contracting an Acquaintance; 
on the Roade; or as some others have donne; he never had any such like 
opportunity, but hewed out his Fortune himselfe.  To be short, he is a 
person of so great worth and learning, and haz such a prodigious working 
witt, that he is both fitt for, and an honour to, the highest preferment.

    Sir William Petty had a boy that whistled incomparably well.  He after 
wayted on a Lady, a widowe, of good fortune.  Every night this boy was to 
whistle his Lady asleepe.  At last shee could hold out no longer, but bid 
her chamber-mayde withdrawe: bid him come to bed, setts him to worke, and 
marries him the next day.  This is certeyn true.

    Sir William Petty died at his house in Peccadilly-street (almost 
opposite to St James church) on fryday, 16th day of December, 1687, of a 
Gangrene in his foot, occasioned by the swelling of the Gowt, and is buried 
with his father and mother in the church at Rumsey, a little Haven towne 
in Hampshire.