virtuoso experiments

Refer to the Royal Society. The word virtuoso was frequently used to describe an experimental philosopher. It gives its title to a play by Shadwell, the butt of Dryden, in which Sir Nicholas Gimcrack is the representative of the scientific theorists. Boyle so interprets it in his treatise (1690) On the Christian Virtuoso, which is designed to show that the pursuit of experimental philosophy is not inconsistent with orthodox Christianity. Boyle, who was the patron of Swift's enemy, Burnet, was a special mark for Swift's satire against the physicists, and not a few of Swift's allusions seem to have Boyle's works in view. To him Boyle was the leading representative of the Royal Society, and he was the object of ridicule in the Meditation on a Broomstick. Cf. the Tatler, No. 216. King satirizes the Virtuoso of the Royal Society in the Transactioneer, which was chiefly aimed at Sir Hans Sloane.

Note by Henry Craik to The Introduction from Tale Of A Tub
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