online exhibition

rare book library



natural philosophy

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Sherley, Thomas (1638-1678)
A philosophical essay : declaring the probable causes, whence stones are produced in the greater world.
London : Cademan, 1672.

Image of Sherley's A Philosophical Essay

Thomas Sherley's A Philosophical Essay is an important early work in minerology which shows the stong influence the physical theories of Jean Baptiste van Helmont. In this work Sherley argues that all rocks and minerals are formed by seeds (or seminal principles) and water. The work appeared just after that of John Webster entitled Metallographia which is displayed in this exhibition. It is likely that these works were a major stimulus for Robert Boyle's An Essay about the Origine & Virtues of Gems (1672) which argues against a role for seeds in the 'growth' of metals.

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