Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery

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Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery (1676 - August 28, 1731), the second son of Roger, 2nd earl, was born at Chelsea.

He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and soon distinguished himself by his learning and abilities. Like the first earl, he was an author, soldier and statesman. He translated Plutarch's life of Lysander, and published an edition of the epistles of Phalaris, which engaged him in the famous controversy with Bentley. He was three times member for the town of Huntingdon; and on the death of his brother, Lionel, 3rd earl, in 1703, he succeeded to the title.

He entered the army, and in 1709 was raised to the rank of major-general, and sworn one of her Majesty's privy council. At the battle of the Wood he acted with distinguished bravery. He was appointed queen's envoy to the states of Brabant and Flanders; and having discharged this trust with ability, he was created an English peer, as Baron Boyle of Marston, in Somersetshire.

In 1713, under the patronage of Boyle, clockmaker George Graham created the first mechanical solar system model that could demonstrate proportional motion of the planets around the Sun. The device was named the orrery in the Earl's honor.

Charles Boyle received several additional honours in the reign of George I; but having had the misfortune to fall under the suspicion of the government he was committed to the Tower in 1722, where he remained six months, and was then admitted to bail. On a subsequent inquiry it was found impossible to incriminate him, and he was discharged.

Among the works of Roger, earl of Orrery, will be found a comedy, entitled As you find it, written by Charles Boyle. His son John, the 5th Earl of Orrery, succeeded to the earldom of Cork on the failure of the elder branch of the Boyle family, as earl of Cork and Orrery.

Preceded by:
Lionel Boyle
Earl of Orrery Followed by:
John Boyle
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