Up, and to the office, where all the morning, at noon home, and after dinner with wife and Deb., carried them to Unthanke’s, and I to Westminster Hall expecting our being with the Committee this afternoon about Victualling business, but once more waited in vain. So after a turn or two with Lord Brouncker, I took my wife up and left her at the ‘Change while I to Gresham College, there to shew myself; and was there greeted by Dr. Wilkins, Whistler, and others, as the patron of the Navy Office, and one that got great fame by my late speech to the Parliament. Here I saw a great trial of the goodness of a burning glass, made of a new figure, not spherical (by one Smithys, I think, they call him), that did burn a glove of my Lord Brouncker’s from the heat of a very little fire, which a burning glass of the old form, or much bigger, could not do, which was mighty pretty. Here I heard Sir Robert Southwell give an account of some things committed to him by the Society at his going to Portugall, which he did deliver in a mighty handsome manner.1 Thence went away home, and there at my office as long as my eyes would endure, and then home to supper, and to talk with Mr. Pelling, who tells me what a fame I have in the City for my late performance; and upon the whole I bless God for it. I think I have, if I can keep it, done myself a great deal of repute. So by and by to bed.
- At the meeting of the Royal Society on March 12th, 1668, “Mr. Smethwick’s glasses were tried again; and his telescope being compared with another longer telescope, and the object-glasses exchanged, was still found to exceed the other in goodness; and his burning concave being compared with a spherical burning-glass of almost twice the diameter, and held to the fire, it burnt gloves, whereas the other spherical ones would not burn at all.” — “Sir Robert Southwell being lately returned from Portugal, where he had been ambassador from the king, and being desired to acquaint the society with what he had done with respect to the instructions, which he had received from them before his departure from England, related, that he had lodged the astronomical quadrant, which the society had sent to Portugal to make observations with there, with a body of men at Lisbon, who had applied themselves among other kinds of literature to mathematics” (Birch’s “History of the Royal Society,” vol. ii., p. 256). ↩