Gerard Boate

1604-50; br. Arnold; b. Gorcum, Holland; MD Leiden, 1628; Physician to English King in London during the 1630s; issued treatise deprecating Aristotle, with Arnold, 1641; contributed funds for reduction of Ireland, and received land grants; took post at Dr Steevens Hospital in 1649, but died the following year; compiled MS work on Irish topography and resources, posthumously published as The Natural History of Ireland (1652) by his friend Samuel Hartlib (d.?1670 - best known as the friend of Milton), bearing a dedication to Cromwell; an edition of 1666 was printed after the Restoration without the dedication. ODNB OCIL

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Ireland’s Naturall History / being a true and ample Description of its Situation, Greatness, Shape, and Nature [... &c.] ([London:] John Wright 1652) [infra]; Do. [another edn.] (1657); Do. [another edn.; epistle ded. to Cromwell and Charles Fleetwood, omitted] (1666); [Another edn.], traduit de l’Anglois par P. Briot (1726); A Natural History of Ireland, in Three Parts, by Several Hands (Dublin: by and for George Grierson 1727), 4o, with pull-out plates, the first part being Boate’s work of this title; Part Two being a collection of papers of the Dublin Philosophical Society by of William Molyeux, Samuel Foley, and St George Ashe; and Part III being Thomas Molyneux’s theories of ‘Danish mounds’ [copy in Marsh’s Library]; Do. [another edn.] (Dublin: George Grierson, Essex St. 1755); Do. [another edn. as part of] a collection of tracts [written] at various periods prior to the present century, 2 vols.; Vol 1 (Dames St. Dublin: Geo. & Alex Ewing 1860). See also rep. edn. by Alex Thom & Son, Abbey St. Editions [q.d.; var. title-page]

Ireland’s Naturall History / being a true and ample Description of its Situation, Greatness, Shape, and Nature; of its hills, woods, heaths, bogs; of its fruitfull parts and profitable grounds, with the severall ways of manuring and improving the same, with its Heads or promontories, harbours, Roads and Bayes; of its Spring and Fountain, Brookes, River, Loghs; of its metalls, Mineralls, Freestone, Marble, Sea-Coal, turf, and other things that are taken out of the ground. And lastly, of the nature and temperature of its air and seasons, and what disease it is free from, or subject unto. Conducing to the advancement and navigation, husbandry, and other profitabl [sic] arts, professions. Written by Gerard Boate, late Doctor of Physick to the State in Ireland, and now Published by Samuel Hartlib, Esq., for the common good of Ireland, and more especially, for the benefit of the adventurers and planters therein (John Wright, King’s Head, Old Bayley [London], 1652).

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Robert L. Praeger, ‘Dr. Boate and Dr. Barton’, A Populous Solitude (Dublin: Hodges & Figgis 1941) [Chap. 5], pp.112-38, discussing on erroneous ideas about petrifying properties of waters of Lough Derg; cites J. De W. Hinch, ‘Boate’s Naturall History’, Bibliographical Society of Ireland Publ. vol. III (1926-28), No. 5 [backpage ad. Colm Ó Lochlainn, Anglo-Irish Song-writers, 1950; as infra].

W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; rep. edn. 1984), cites Gerard and Arnold de Boot [latinised as Bootius], Philosophia Naturalis Reformata id est Philosophiae Aristotelicae Accurata Examinato ac Solida Confutatio et Novae Introductio (A Reformed Natural Philosophy ... &c.), viz., An Accurate Examination and Substantial Refutation of Aristotelian Philosophy and an Introduction to a New One] (Dublin 1641). Stanford calls this an work of anti-Catholic propaganda by two brothers and physicians from the Protestant University at Leiden who arrived in Ireland in 1635 (op. cit., p.194.)

J. de W Hinch, MRIA, Notes on Boate’s Naturall History of Ireland, 1652 [read on 29th Nov. 1926] Transactions of the Bibliographical Society of Ireland, Vol. III, No. 5 (1928), pp.39-56, notes that Gerrard de Boate went to Ireland at the end of 1649 and died there the following year. Papers for 3 April 1649 records the appointment of Dr De Boate as doctor to the hospital at Dublin, making reference to Lieut.-Gen. Cromwell; a payment of 50 is entered in same on 15 Sept. 1649. A Letter from Arnold Boate to Samuel Hartlib, prefixed to edn. of 1652 reads: ‘Although my brother hath been to Ireland [... &c.’; as infra.] It appears that the MS was for some time lost, as Arnold ‘greatly feared it was’, adding to Harlib that ‘you have found it in perusing those books and papers of his which he had left behind him in London.’ Hinch cites Sir William Petty and Sir Richard Parsons as his geological informants.

Letter Dedicatory to Samuel Hartlib (prefixed to 1652 Edn.): Although my brother hath been to Ireland and that he hath ended his days there, yet he had both begun and finished this First Book of this Naturall History of Ireland, some years before he went thither, or had any thought of doing so; seeing that he began to write that work in the beginning of the year of Our Lord 1645, and made an end of it long before the end of the same year [... &c.].

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