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SOME ACCOUNT

OF THE

LIFE

OF

DR. ISAAC BARROW:

TO

DR. TILLOTSON, DEAN OF CANTERBURY.

The affection of friends, or interest of the bookseller, has made it usual to prefix the Life of an author before his works; and sometimes it is a care very neccessary to give him a high and excellent character, the better to protect his writings against that censoriousness and misconstruction to which all are subject. What Dr. Barrow has left do as little as any need such an advantage, standing firm on their own worth ; nay, his Works may supply the want of a history of his life, if the reader take along with him this general remark, that his Sermons were the counterpart of his actions; therein he has drawn the true picture of himself, so that in them being dead he yet speaketh, or rather, is spoken of. Heb. xi. 4. marg. Yet we the readers do gladly entertain any hopes of seeing his example added to his doctrine, and we think we express some kind of gratitude for your reviewing, digesting, and publishing his Sermons, if we desire from you his Life too. His Sermons have cost you so much pains, as would have produced many more of your own; if now his Life should ask a farther part of your time, it were still promoting the same ends, the doctor's honour, and the public good. What memorials I can recollect, I here present you, that when you have refined this ore, it may be admitted as my offering toward his statue. What may be said would have had a stronger impression upon our passions, when they were moved upon the first news of so great a loss; or perhaps it were best to forbear till the publication of all his Works, when the reader will be farther prepared to admire him. But I proceed in the order of time, that the other particulars occurring to your memory, or suggested by other friends,

may more readily find their proper place, and so give the better lustre to one another: and this I think the fitter to be observed, because the harmonious, regular, constant tenor of his life is the most adınirable thing in it. For though a life full of variety, and even of contrariety, were more easy to be writ, and to most more pleasant to be read, it less deserves to be imitated.

Dr. Isaac Barrow was the son of Mr. Thomas Barrow, a citizen of London, of good reputation" yet living, brother to Isaac Barrow, late lord bishop of St. Asapho, son of Isaac Barrow, Esq. of Spiny Abbey in Cambridgeshire', where he was a justice of peace for forty years, son of Philip Barrogh, who has in print a Method of Physic, and had a brother, Isaac Barrow, doctor of physicd, a benefactor to Trinity college, and there tutor to Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury, and lord treasurer.

He was born in London, October 1630° : his mother was Ann, daughter of William Buggin, of North Cray in Kent, Esq.; whose tenderness he did not long enjoy, she dying when he was about four years old.

His first schooling was at the Charter-house for two or three years, when his greatest recreation was in such sports as brought on fighting among the boys: in his aftertime a very great courage remained, whereof many instances might be set down ; yet he had perfectly subdued all inclination to quarrelling, but a negligence of his clothes did always continue with him.

« He was linen-draper to king Charles I. to ose interests he adhered, and followed him to Oxford. After the beheading of the king, Thomas Barrow attended his son Charles II. then in exile, and continued with him till the restoration. Pope.

• He was educated at Cambridge, and became fellow of Peter-house: but having written against the covenant, he was ejected by the earl of Manchester, chancellor of the university in 1613, and went to Oxford, where he became chaplain of New College. He continued in Oxford till the surrender of the garrison to the parliament forces; aster which time he shisted from place to place, and suffered with the rest of the loyal and orthodox clergy, till the restoration of Charles II ; when he not only recovered his fellowship at Peter-house, but was appointed fellow of Eton. In 1663 he was consecrated bishop of Man ; and in 1664 he was made governor of the island by Charles earl of Derby; which office he discharged with considerable reputation. He was a great benefactor to the clergy of the island, having raised a large subscription, by which he bought up all the impropriations from the earl of Derby, and settled them upon the clergy. In 1669 he was translated to the see of St. Asaph ; and his consecration-sermon was preached by his nephew, Isaac Barrow, in Henry the Seventh's chapel in Westminster-abbey. The cathedral and palace at St. Asaph were repaired by his liberality, and in other respects he was no small benefactor to the see. He died at Shrewsbury on the 24th of June, 1680, in the 67th year of his age, and was buried in the cathedral at St. Asaph. Wood.

• He was born at Gazeby in Suffolk in 1563.

d He died in 1616, and was buried in the church of All Saints in Cambridge. Bloomfield. He was son of John Barrow of Suffolk, and grandson of Henry Barrow. Ward.

• This date may be inferred from his epitaph, which states him to have died in 1677, at the age of 47; and also from the college register at Peter-house, which speaks of him as annum agens decimum quartum at the time of his admission in 1643. But Dr. Pope asserts, upon the authority of Barrow himself, that his birthday fell upon the 29th of February : " and if he said true, it could not be either in October or in 1630, that not being a leapyear.”

For his book, he minded it not; and his father had little hope of success in the profession of a scholar, to which he had designed him. Nay, there was then so little appearance of that comfort which his father afterward received from him, that he often solemnly wished, that if it pleased God to take away

1 any of his children, it might be his son Isaac: so vain a thing is man's judgment, and our providence unfit to guide our own affairs.

Removing thence to Felsted in Essex, he quickly made so great a progress in learning and all things praiseworthy, that his master appointed him a little tutor to the Lord viscount Fairfax of Emely in Ireland. While he stayed there, he was admitted in Peter-house, his uncle the bishop's college'; but when he removed to and was fit for the university of Cambridge, Feb. 1645, he was planted in Trinity college. His condition was very low, his father , having suffered much in his estate on account of adhering to the king's cause; and being gone away from London to Oxford, his chief support at first was from the liberality of the famous and reverend Dr. Hammond, to whose memory he paid his thanks in an excellent Epitaph, among his Poems, wherein he describes the doctor and himself too; for the most, and most noble parts of the character do exactly agree to them both. Being now, as it were, without relations, he abused not the opportunity to negligence in his studies, or licentiousness in his manners, but seasoned his tender years with the principles and the exercise of diligence, learning, and piety, the best preparatives for the succeeding varieties of life.

The young man continued such a royalist, that he would never take the Covenant; yet carrying himself with fairness, candour, and prudence, he gained the good-will of the chief governors of the university. One day Dr. Hill, master of the colleges, laying his hand on his head, said, Thou art a good lad ; tis pity thou art a cavalier : and when in an Oration on the Gunpowder-Treason he had so celebrated the former times, as to reflect much on the present, some Fellows were provoked to move for his expulsion ; but the master silenced them with this; Barrow is a better man than any of us. Afterward, when the Engagement was imposed, he subscribed it; but upon second thoughts, repenting of what he had done, he went back to the commissioners, and declared his dissatisfaction, and got his name rased out of the list.

For the juniors, he was always ready to give them his help, and very freely; though for all the exercises he made for them in verse and prose

he never received any recompense but one pair of gloves.

While he was yet a young scholar, his judgment was too great to rest satisfied with the shallow and superficial physiology then commonly taught and received in the universities, wherewith students of meaner abilities content

' He was admitted December 15th, 1643, which was the year of his uncle being ejected from his fellowship. This was perhaps the reason of his entering afterwards at Trinity college.

* He was appointed by the parliament, who had ejected Dr. Comber for adhering to the king

edly took up: but he applied himself to the reading and considering the writings of the lord Verulam, monsieur Descartes, Galileo, and other the great wits of the last age, who seemed to offer something more solid and substantial.

When the time came that he could be chosen fellow of his college, ann. Dom. 1649", he obtained by his merit; nothing else could recommend him who was accounted of the contrary party. After his election, finding the times not favourable to men of his opinion in the affairs of church and state, to qualify him, as he then thought, to do most good, he designed the profession of physic, and for some years bent his studies that way, and particularly made a great progress in the knowledge of anatomy, botanics, and chemistry. But afterward,

upon deliberation with himself, and conference with his uncle, the bishop of St. Asaph, thinking that profession not well consistent with the oath he had taken when admitted fellow, to make divinity the end of his studies, he quitted medicine, and applied himself chiefly to what his oath seemed to oblige him.

He was upon all opportunities so open and communicative, that many of his friends in that college, for out of it he had few acquaintance, can, and I hope some one will, report frequent instances of his calm temper in a factious time, his large charity in a mean estate, his facetious talk upon fit occasions, his indefatigable industry in various studies, his clear judgment on all arguments, his steady virtue in all difficulties, which they must often have observed, and can better describe.

Of his way of discourse I shall here note one thing, that, when his opinion was demanded, he did usually speak to the importance as well as to the truth of the question : this was an excellent advantage, and to be met with in few men's conversation.

Tractare res multi norunt, æstimare pauci. CARDAN.

While he read Scaliger on Eusebius, he perceived the dependence of chronology on astronomy, which put him on the study of Ptolemy's Almagest; and finding that book and all astronomy to depend on geometry, he applied himself to Euclid's Elements, not satisfied till he had laid firm foundations; and so he made his first entry into the mathematics, having the learned Mr. John Ray then for his socius studiorum, and always for his esteemed friend: he proceeded to the demonstration of the other ancient mathematicians, and published his Euclid in a less form and a clearer method than any one had done before him: at the end of his demonstration of Apollonius he has writ, April 14.

Intra hæc temporis intervalla peractum hoc opus. To so much diliMay 16. gence nothing was impossible: and in all his studies his way was not to leave off his design till he brought it to effect; only in the Arabic language he made an essay for a little while, and then deserted it. In the same place

h He was elected scholar in 1647, and took his degree of B.A. in 1649. In 1652 he commenced M.A. and on the 12th of June in the following year he was incorporated in that degree at Oxford. Ward. Wood.

having also writ, Labore et constantia, he adds, bone si conjungantur humilitati et subministrent charitati. With these speculations the largeness of his mind could join poetry, to which he was always addicted, and very much valued that part thereof which consists of description; but the hyperboles of some modern poets he as much slighted : for our plays, he was an enemy to them, as a principal cause of the debauchery of these times; the other causes he thought to be the French education and the ill examples of great persons ; for satires, he writ none; his wit was pure and peaceable.

When Dr. Duport resigned the chair of Greek professor, he recommended this his pupil for his successor, who justified his tutor's opinion by an excellent performance of the probation exercise ; but being thought inclined to Arminianism, he obtained it noti: however, he always acknowledged the favour which Dr. Whichcote shewed him on that, as on all occasions. The partiality of others against him in that affair some thought might help forward his desire to see foreign countries. I make no doubt, but that he, who in lesser occurrences did very judiciously consider all circumstances, had on good grounds made this resolution"; for the reasons and counsels of action would take off from the dryness of this narration, and more strongly recommend him to imitation.

To provide for his voyage, ann. Dom. 1654', he sold his books, and went first into France : at Paris he found his father attending the English court, and out of his small viaticum made him a seasonable present. He gave his college an account of his voyage thither, which will be found among his Poems; and some further observations in a letter, which shew his piercing judgment in political affairs, when he applied his thoughts that way.

After some months he went to Italy, and made a stay at Florence; where he had the favour, and neglected not the advantage, to peruse many books in the great duke's library, and ten thousand of his medals, and discourse thereon with Mr. Fitton, the fame of whose extraordinary abilities in that sort of learning had caused the duke to invite him to the charge of that great treasury of antiquity".

Florence was too dear a place for him to remain in long": his desire was to visit Rome, rather than any other place; but the plague then raging there, he took ship at Livorn, Nov. 1657°, for Smyrnap, where he made himself

It was given to Mr. Ralph Widdington. Biog. Brit.

Dr. Pope writes, “ This diappointment, the melancholy aspect of public affairs, together with a desire to see some of those places mentioned in Greek and Latin writers, made him resolve to travel.”

In the Biog. Brit. it is 1655, where it is also said, “This same year his Euclid was printed at Cambridge, which he had left behind him for that purpose."

= This passage was misunderstood by Dr. Pope, who states, that the duke invited Barrow to undertake this charge.

3 Here the straitness of bis circumstances must have put an end to his travels, had he Dot been generously supplied with money by James Stock, a young merchant of London, to whom he afterwards dedicated his edition of Euclid's Data.

• The Biog. Brit. says November 6th, 1656, which appears to be correct. p"In his passage from Leghorn to Constantinople, the ship he sailed in was attacked

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