Samuel Molyneux 1689-1728

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Samuel MOLYNEUX 1689-1728

Biographical Note

Born at Chester, son of William Molyneux, experimental philosopher. When his father died in 1698, his education was continued under the care of his uncle Thomas Molyneux. BA Trinity College Dublin 1708, MA 1710; he undertook diplomatic missions in Europe in the early 1710s, and became secretary to the Prince of Wales. He was MP for various west country and Irish constituencies between 1715 and 1727, and acquired significant wealth through marriage to Elizabeth Capel, daughter of the Earl of Essex. He became interested in astronomy and optics, and undertook numerous experiments; he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1712.


Molyneux's library was auctioned in London, beginning 20 January 1730. He also gave his optical collections and papers to the Cambridge mathematician Robert Smith (1689-1768) shortly before his death.