OBSERVATIONS and INQUIRIES thereupon.
By R. HOOKE, Fellow of the ROYAL SOCIETY.
Non possis oculo quantum contendere Linceus,
Non tamen idcirco contemnas Lippus inungi. Horat. Ep. lib. 1.
LONDON, Printed by Jo. Martyn, and Ja. Allestry, Printers to the ROYAL SOCIETY, and are to be sold at their Shop at the Bell in S. Paul's Church-yard. M DC LX V.
Do here most humbly lay this small Present at Your Majesties Royal feet. And though it comes accompany'd with two disadvantages, the meanness of the Author, and of the Subject; yet in both I am incouraged by the greatness of your Mercy and your Knowledge. By the one I am taught, that you can forgive the most presumptuous Offendors: And by the other, that you will not esteem the least work of Nature, or Art, unworthy your Observation. Amidst the many felicities that have accompani'd your Majesties happy Restauration and Government, it is none of the least considerable that Philosophy and Experimental Learning have prosper'd under your Royal Patronage. And as the calm prosperity of your Reign has given us the leisure to follow these Studies of quiet and retirement, so it is just, that the Fruits of them should, by way of acknowledgement, be return'd to your Majesty. There are, Sir, several other of your Subjects, of your Royal Society, now busie about Nobler matters: The Improvement of Manufactures and Agriculture, the Increase of Commerce, the Advantage of Navigation: In all which they are assisted by your Majesties Incouragement and Example. Amidst all those greater Designs, I here presume to bring in that which is more proportionable to the smalness of my Abilities, and to offer some of the least of all visible things, to that Mighty King, that has establisht an Empire over the best of all Invisible things of this World, the Minds of Men.
Your Majesties most humble
and most obedient
Subject and Servant,
fter my Address to our Great Founder and Patron, I could not but think my self oblig'd, in consideration of those many Ingagements you have laid upon me, to offer these my poor Labours to this MOST ILLUSTRIOUS ASSEMBLY. YOU have been pleas'd formerly to accept of these rude Draughts. I have since added to them some Descriptions, and some Conjectures of my own. And therefore, together with YOUR Acceptance, I must also beg YOUR pardon. The Rules YOU have prescrib'd YOUR selves in YOUR Philosophical Progress do seem the best that have ever yet been practis'd. And particularly that of avoiding Dogmatizing, and the espousal of any Hypothesis not sufficiently grounded and confirm'd by Experiments. This way seems the most excellent, and may preserve both Philosophy and Natural History from its former Corruptions. In saying which, I may seem to condemn my own Course in this Treatise; in which there may perhaps be some Expressions, which may seem more positive then YOUR Prescriptions will permit: And though I desire to have them understood only as Conjectures and Quæries (which YOUR Method does not altogether disallow) yet if even in those I have exceeded, 'tis fit that I should declare, that it was not done by YOUR Directions. For it is most unreasonable, that YOU should undergo the imputation of the faults of my Conjectures, seeing YOU can receive so small advantage of reputation by the sleight Observations of
YOUR most humble and
most faithful Servant
t is the great prerogative of Mankind above other Creatures, that we are not only able to behold the works of Nature, or barely to sustein our lives by them, but we have also the power of considering, comparing, altering, assisting, and improving them to various uses. And as this is the peculiar priviledge of humane Nature in general, so is it capable of being so far advanced by the helps of Art, and Experience, as to make some Men excel others in their Observations, and Deductions, almost as much as they do Beasts. By the addition of such artificial Instruments and methods, there may be, in some manner, a reparation made for the mischiefs, and imperfection, mankind has drawn upon it self, by negligence, and intemperance, and a wilful and superstitious deserting the Prescripts and Rules of Nature, whereby every man, both from a deriv'd corruption, innate and born with him, and from his breeding and converse with men, is very subject to slip into all sorts of errors.
The only way which now remains for us to recover some degree of those former perfections, seems to be, by rectifying the operations of the Sense, the Memory, and Reason, since upon the evidence, the strength, the integrity, and the right correspondence of all these, all the light, by which our actions are to be guided is to be renewed, and all our command over things it to be establisht.
It is therefore most