Frederick Slare

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Frederick Slare or Slear (1647?–1727) was an English physician and chemist, a follower of Robert Boyle and Thomas Sydenham.

Early life[edit]

Born in Old, Northamptonshire, Slare was the son of Frederick Schloer, the German rector there, and Anna, daughter of Ralph Malory of Shelton; Theodore Haak was a cousin of his father. After studying at the University of Heidelberg from 1666, he lodged with Haak for a time, and began work as a laboratory assistant to Robert Boyle.[1] He was corresponding with Gottfried Leibniz, by 1673.[2]

FRS and physician[edit]

Introduced by Robert Hooke to the Royal Society on 3 July 1679 to show experiments on spermatozoa, then recently discovered by Leeuwenhoek, Slare was recommended for election by Haak. He was admitted Fellow on 16 December 1680, and became a member of the council on 30 November 1682.[3] From early 1683 he and Edward Tyson acted as Curators of Experiments for the society, and Slare was very active in this role for about 18 months.[4]

Slare graduated M.D. at the University of Utrecht in 1679;[1] and was admitted M.D. at Oxford on 9 September 1680. He was a candidate of the Royal College of Physicians on 25 June 1681, and Fellow on 25 June 1685. He acted as censor in 1692, 1693, and 1708; elector on 21 September 1708; and was member of the council from 1716 till his death.[3]

Slare had a large practice in London.[3] In 1709 he organised support for German emigrants from the Palatinate, bringing together John Tribbeko, John Chamberlayne and others.[5] He retired to the country before 1715.[3]

Later life[edit]

Slare had religious interests, was a founder member of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and was a friend of John Floyer.[6] In 1714 and 1715 he made benefactions to two church livings.[7] He was one of the Commissioners for Relieving poor Proselytes; the Society for Relieving Poor Proselytes, from 1717 to the end of the 1720s, directed funds mostly to immigrant converts from Catholicism, and was an initiative of Henry Newman of the SPCK.[8][9]

Anthony William Boehm, a friend, died in his Greenwich home in 1722.[10] Boehm and Slare supplied John Le Neve with materials for his memoir of the Protestant traveller Heinrich Wilhelm Ludolf;[11] through Slare Ludolf had met Edmund Calamy.[12] Slare supported his project to have the New Testament translated into modern Greek, with Henry Hoare, and Sir John Philipps, 4th Baronet.[13] Hoare, Slare and Francis Lee were leaders in the charity school movement in England, and also in close touch with August Hermann Francke and the Pietists.[14]

Slare died on 12 September 1727, in his eightieth year. He was buried in the cemetery adjoining Greenwich churchyard, where an inscription on his gravestone read "Societatis de promovendo Evangelium in partibus transmarinis socius". His sister Jane (died 4 April 1734, aged 80) was buried next to him.[3]


Slare for some years regularly attended at the meetings of the Royal Society, to which he showed experiments on phosphorus, one of which he repeated after dinner at the house of Samuel Pepys.[3] Phosphorus had been one of the chemical directions he had followed in working for Boyle: with Ambrose Godfrey he had prepared white phosphorus, one of the allotropes.[1] The German contact Johann Daniel Kraft was responsible for the introduction of phosphorus in Boyle's work.[15] It was Godfrey who went on to build a reputation on phosphorus.[16] Slare continued to represent the experimentalist tradition in the Royal Society, with Patrick Blair and James Douglas, when the Newtonian and mathematical tendency became more dominant.[17] He formed part of the opposition to Robert Hooke in 1682–3, and later, over lack of experimentation.[18]

With others (Thomas Henshaw, Hooke, Christopher Wren) Slare worked over the findings of Willem ten Rhijne in Asian medicine, after they had been presented to the Royal Society by Haak in 1682. A volume on acupuncture and other topics was then printed in London.[19] Slare himself tried moxibustion using Artemisia vulgaris.[20] He did translation work for the De Historia Piscium of 1686, of manuscripts of the naturalist Leonhard Baldner, for John Ray and Francis Willughby.[21] In the case of a work the Royal Society was sent in 1684, by Johann Kunckel, Slare played the role of extracting some experimental content, to Boyle's eventual satisfaction.[22]

Slare demonstrated the presence of common salt in blood, and supported to some extent the views of John Mayow and Richard Lower on the change of colour of blood in air. He repeated experiments of Robert Boyle with ammoniacal copper salt solutions, in which air was absorbed, with an accompanying change of colour.[3] Like Hooke, Slare was interested in chemical theories that were not Helmontian.[23] He was an early supporter of contagium animatum – an early modern theory of pathogens – in the veterinary context, where it was developed later by Carlo Francesco Cogrossi.[24]

At the request of Sir John Hoskyns, Slare examined in 1713 a number of calculi, which he showed, against a view then common, to be unlike tartar chemically.[3] This was in fact an old line of enquiry, going back to the 1670s and 1680s when Slare and Nehemiah Grew tried reagents on materia medica, and Slare had published a paper on calculi in 1683.[25] Experiments … upon Oriental and other Bezoar-Stones (1715) dismissed the miraculous virtues then attributed to animal calculi. He quoted cases of their inefficiency, and showed that they were unacted on by certain chemical reagents.[3] This pamphlet was replied to at once by "W. … L. … in A Nice Cut for the Demolisher (by Walter Lynn).[26] Slare suggested chalk as a remedy for acid dyspepsia instead of "Gascoin's powder", a remedy using bezoar stones. With this pamphlet was Vindication of Sugars against the Charge of Dr. Willis, against Thomas Willis.[3] It contained a rejection of the experimental work of Willis, and his view of diabetes, prompted by Thomas Sydenham.[27] Slare praised sugar for its numerous uses, and the sugar trade,[28] and used the sweet taste of breast milk to argue that sugar is suitable for children.[29] He was also an advocate of the breakfast of bread and hot drinks (tea, coffee or chocolate).[30]

A proponent of balneotherapy, Slare praised the waters of Bath, Somerset.[31] In 1713 he showed that the mineral waters of Bad Pyrmont are not acidic, and in 1717 he reprinted his paper, with additions, as An Account … of the Pyrmont Waters, dedicated to Sir Isaac Newton and John Bateman (died 1728), president of the College of Physicians, before whom he had made experiments (28 February 1717), comparing the Pyrmont waters with the then more fashionable ones of Spa. The book was translated into German in 1718 by Georg Ludwig Piderit,[32] and annotated by Johann Philipp Seipp, with criticism of Slare's views. Seipp, however, on publishing a second edition of his own work, Neue Beschreibungen der pyrmontischen Stahl-Brunnen (1719) praised Slare.[3] The Pyrmont waters were to the taste of the king, George I, and had begun to be imported to Great Britain.[33] Slare's work is now regarded as confirming the chemistry of chalybeate spas as alkaline waters.[34]

In an appendix to Perrott Williams's Remarks upon Dr. Wagstaffe's Letter against inoculating the Small-pox (1725), Slare defended inoculation, which had been introduced in England in 1721. He mentioned having attended a son of Sir John Vanbrugh, after inoculation, in May 1723.[3]



  1. ^ a b c Principe, Lawrence M. "Slare, Frederick". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/25715. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Gottfried Wilhelm Freiherr von Leibniz (1963). Sämtliche Schriften und Briefe (in German). Akademie Verlag. p. 230 note 25. ISBN 978-3-05-000075-6. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Slare, Frederick" . Dictionary of National Biography. 52. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  4. ^ Boas Hall, p. 27.
  5. ^ Philip Otterness (2006). Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York. Cornell University Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-8014-7344-9. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  6. ^ Kevin Sharpe; Steven N. Zwicker (1 January 1998). Refiguring Revolutions: Aesthetics and Politics from the English Revolution to the Romantic Revolution. University of California Press. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-520-20920-6. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  7. ^ Christopher Hodgson (1826). An account of the augmentation of small livings by 'the governors of the bounty of queen Anne for the augmentation of the maintenance of the poor clergy', and of benefactions by corporate bodies and individuals to the end of ... 1825. Also the charters on various subjects relating to Queen Anne's bounty. p. 132. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  8. ^ Commissioners for the relief of poor proselytes (1720). An account of the establishment of the Commissioners for the relief of poor proselytes: with an abstract of their proceedings from 30th of April, 1718 to 30th of April, 1718. with an abstract of the proceedings from 30th of April, 1719 to 3d of February, 1719-20. p. 29. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  9. ^ Colin Haydon (1 January 1993). Anti-Catholicism in Eighteenth-century England, C. 1714-80: A Political and Social Study. Manchester University Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-7190-2859-5. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  10. ^ Brunner, Daniel L. "Boehm, Anthony William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2761. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  11. ^ John Le Neve (1714). The Lives and Characters of the Most Illustrious Persons, British and Foreign, who Died in the Year 1712. S. Holt. p. 204. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  12. ^ Edmund Calamy (1830). An Historical Account of My Own Life. Henry Colburn. p. 42. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  13. ^ Pietismus und Neuzeit XX/1994.: Ein Jahrbuch zur Geschichte des neueren Protestantismus. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. October 1995. p. 308. ISBN 978-3-525-55892-8. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  14. ^ M. G. Jones (21 March 2013). The Charity School Movement: A Study of Eighteenth Century Puritanism in Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37–8 note 3. ISBN 978-1-107-68585-7. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  15. ^ Boas Hall, p. 25.
  16. ^ Lawrence M. Principe (2000). The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest. Princeton University Press. p. 134 note 164. ISBN 978-0-691-05082-9. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  17. ^ Theodore M. Brown, From Mechanism to Vitalism in Eighteenth-Century English Physiology, Journal of the History of Biology Vol. 7, No. 2 (Autumn, 1974), pp. 179-216, at p. 206 note 99. Published by: Springer. Stable URL:
  18. ^ Stephen Pumfrey. Who Did the Work? Experimental Philosophers and Public Demonstrators in Augustan England, The British Journal for the History of Science Vol. 28, No. 2 (Jun., 1995), pp. 131-156, at p. 149. Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of The British Society for the History of Science. Stable URL:
  19. ^ Sarah Mortimer; John Robertson (2 March 2012). The Intellectual Consequences of Religious Heterodoxy, 1600-1750. BRILL. p. 141. ISBN 978-90-04-22146-8. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  20. ^ Harold John Cook (2007). Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age. Yale University Press. p. 371. ISBN 978-0-300-13492-6. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  21. ^ Elsa Guerdrum Allen, The History of American Ornithology before Audubon, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society New Series, Vol. 41, No. 3 (1951), pp. 387-591, at pp. 419–21. Published by: American Philosophical Society. Stable URL:
  22. ^ Kevin Sharpe; Steven N. Zwicker (10 July 2003). Reading, Society and Politics in Early Modern England. Cambridge University Press. pp. 254–5. ISBN 978-0-521-82434-7. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  23. ^ Antonio Clericuzio (2000). Elements, Principles and Corpuscles: A Study of Atomism and Chemistry in the Seventeenth Century. Springer. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7923-6782-6. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  24. ^ Lise Wilkinson (19 March 1992). Animals and Disease: An Introduction to the History of Comparative Medicine. Cambridge University Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-521-37573-3. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  25. ^ Anna Marie Roos (12 July 2011). Web of Nature: Martin Lister (1639-1712), the First Arachnologist. BRILL. p. 476. ISBN 978-90-04-20703-5. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  26. ^ Walter Lynn (1715). A Nice Cut for the Demolisher: Or, Dr. Slare's Experiments and Observations Upon the Bezoar &c., Rip'd Up : Being a Vindication of Dr. Radclife and Dr. M---d from the Charge of Having Made an Exorbitant Gain and Use of Gascoin Powder. J. Morphew. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  27. ^ Elizabeth Lane Furdell (2009). Fatal Thirst: Diabetes in Britain Until Insulin. BRILL. p. 96. ISBN 978-90-04-17250-0. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  28. ^ James A. Rawley (2003). London, Metropolis of the Slave Trade. University of Missouri Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-8262-6452-7. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  29. ^ Charlotte Sussman. Women and the Politics of Sugar, 1792, Representations No. 48 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 48-69, at p. 49. Published by: University of California Press. Stable URL:
  30. ^ Simon Schama (2003). A History of Britain: The British Wars 1603-1776. BBC. p. 329. ISBN 978-0-563-48718-0. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  31. ^ Robert Collis (9 December 2011). The Petrine Instauration: Religion, Esotericism and Science at the Court of Peter the Great, 1689-1725. BRILL. p. 153 note 137. ISBN 978-90-04-21567-2. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  32. ^ Frederick Slare; Georg Ludwig Piderit (1718). Friederich Slare ... Bericht von der Natur und denen fürtreffl. Eigenschafften und Tugenden des pyrmontischen Wassers: welchen er der königlichen Societät und dem Collegio Medico Londinensi dediciret. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  33. ^ Phyllis May Hembry (January 1990). The English Spa, 1560-1815: A Social History. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-8386-3391-5. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  34. ^ Matthew Eddy (2008). The Language of Mineralogy: John Walker, Chemistry and the Edinburgh Medical School, 1750-1800. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-7546-6332-4. Retrieved 19 September 2013.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Slare, Frederick". Dictionary of National Biography. 52. London: Smith, Elder & Co.