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John and Suzanna (Glyde) Wallis

National cyclopedia of Useful Knowledge, London, 1851, Vol. Xii Charles Knight, 90 Fleet Street, page 731

"John Wallis was the oldest son of Rev. John Wallis, incumbent of Ashford in Kent, where he was born November 23d, 1616. The father of Wallis died when he was six years old, leaving five children to the car of his widow. He was fifteen ears old when his curiosity was excited by seeing a book of arithmetic in the hands of his younger brother, who was preparing for trade. On his showing some curiosity to know what it meant, his brothe went through the rules with him, and in a fortnight he had mastered the whole.

He was entered at Emanuel College, Cambridge, where he soon obtained reputation. Among his older studies, anatomy found a place; and he is said to have been the first student who maintained, in a public disputation, the doctrine of the circulation of the blood which had been promulgated by Harvey four or five years before.

After taking the degree of Master of Arts he was chosen Fellow of Queens, and took orders in 1640. He was then chaplain in one and another private family, residing partly in London, till the breaking out of the civil war, in which he took the side of the Parliament. He made himself useful to his party by deciphering intercepted letters, an act in which he was eminent. In 1643, the sequestrated living of St. Gabriel, Fenchurch Street, was given to him, and in the same year he published 'Truth Tried' or 'Animadversions of the Lord Brooks Treatise on the Nature of Truth.' In this year also he came into a handsome fortune by the death of his mother. In 1644 he was appointed one of the secretaries of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. In this year also he married. In 1645 he was among the first who joined those meetings, which afterwards gave rise to the Royal Society. When the Independents began to prevail, Wallis joined with others of the clergy in opposing them, and in 1648 subscribed a remonstrance against the execution of Charles I. In 1649 he was appointed Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford by the Parlamentary visitors. He now moved to Oxford, and applied himself diligently to mathematics. At the end of 1650 he first met with the method of indivisibles in the writings of Torricelli, and from this time his celebrated researches began. In 1658 Wallis, who with others desired the restoration of the kingly power, employed his art of deciphering on the side of the Royalists, so that at the Restoration he was received with favor by Charles II, confirmed in his professorship and in the place of keeper of the archives at Oxford, and was made one of the royal chaplains. In 1661 he was one of the clergy appointed to review the Book of Common Prayer.

He was of course one of the first members of the Royal Society, and from this to his death his life is little more than the list of his works. The collections of his works by the Curator of the Oxford University Press began to be made in 1692. The three volumes bear the disordered dates of 1695, 1693, and 1699. In 1692 he was consulted upon the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, or new style, against which he gave a strong opinion, and the design was abandoned. In 1696 when the first two volumes of his works appeared he had the remote occasion of beginning the controversy between the followers of Newton and Leignitz. Some remarks were made on his assertion as to the origin of the differential calculus in the Leipzig Acts, which produced a correspondence, and this correspondence was published in the 3d volume. He died October 28th, 1703, in his 88th year.

Wallis in his literary character is to be considered as a theologian, scholar and a mathematician. As a divine he would probably not have been remembered but for his eminence in the other characters. His discourses on the Trinity are still quoted in the histories of opinions on the subject. If the character of Wallis has been elevated as a divine by his celebrity as a philosopher, his services as a scholar have for the same reason been, if to underrated, at least thrown into a shade. He was the first editor of the "harmonies" of Ptolemeus, of the commentary on it by Porphyrius, and of the later work of Brennius; as also of Aristarchus of Samoa.

As a mathematician Wallis is the most immediate predecessor Newton, both in the time at which he lived and the subjects at which he worked Those who incline to the opinion that scientific discoveries are not the work of the man, but of the man and this hour, that is, who regard each particular conquest as the necessary consequences of the actual state f things, and as certain to come from one quarter or another when the time arrives, will probably say that if Wallis had not lived, Newton would but have filled his place as far as the pure mathematics are concerned."

It was Susanna Glyde that John Wallis married on March 14, 1644. I know only of two children, both daughters: 1. Thomasine Brooke and 2. Anne who married John Alston

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