(25 March 1625 – 10 November 1683) was an English
mathematician. He is most known for his extensive correspondence with leading scientists and mathematicians such as Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
, Gottfried Leibniz
, Isaac Newton
, and John Wallis
. His correspondence provides details of many of the discoveries and developments made in his time, and shows his activity as an 'intelligencer'.
He was the son of a nonconformist minister, and was born at Wood Eaton
, 5 March 1625. Apprenticed at the age of sixteen to Thomas Allam, a bookseller, living outside the Turl Gate
, he was driven to quit the trade by the troubles of the time, and accepted a clerkship in the employment of John Marr, clerk of the kitchen to the Prince of Wales
. From him he derived some instruction in mathematics, but the outbreak of the First English Civil War
drove him to sea for seven years, 1642-9, most of which time he spent on board an English merchantman, engaged by the Venetians
as a ship of war in their defence of Candia
against the Turks.
He devoted his leisure to the study of mathematics and merchants' accounts, and on leaving the service set up in London as a teacher. In 1652 he published An Introduction to Merchants' Accounts
, originally drawn up for the use of his scholars. Reprinted in 1665, the major part of the impression perished in the great fire of London
, but was replaced in 1674 by a new and amplified folio edition. He next wrote The Sector on a......