Aliquot rudimenta philosophiae sive pauca introductoria compendia, technologiae, logicae, rhetoricae et physicae


Date: 1747 | Size: 1 volume(s)


An early Welsh emigrant to Pennsylvania, David Evans was educated at Yale (1713) before answering the call to Presbyterian pulpits in the Welsh Tract of Delaware and Pennsylvania, and to the church at Pilesgrove, N.J. Written entirely in Latin in 1747 when Evans was 66 years old, the Aliquot Rudimenta Physicae consists of four separate compendia bound together, the Compendium Technologiae, Logicae, Rhetoricae, and Physicae. The work is an interesting and thorough attempt to summarize a system of knowledge with impeccable American provenance.

Background note

The son of the Welsh emigrant of the same name, David Evans (1681-1751) settled with his family in 1701 in Pencader, Delaware, a small town in the Welsh Tract. By September 1710, young David had begun as a lay preacher among the Presbyterians in Tredyffrin Township (Great Valley), Chester County, Pennsylvania. His efforts, however, were not well received by the Presbytery in Philadelphia, which censured him for doing "very ill," and acting "irregularly in thus invading the work of the ministry." To advance Evans' education, the Presbytery placed him under the tutelage of a local graduate of Harvard, Jedediah Andrews of Philadelphia, and after a year of study, Evans was granted a one-year license to preach.

When Evans was called to the pulpit by congregations in both Tredyffrin and the Welsh Tract in September 1712, however, the Presbytery in Philadelphia once again balked, insisting that Evans first further his studies. As a result, he was sent to the Yale Collegiate School in Saybrook, Conn., receiving his masters degree in 1713, before returning to Pennsylvania. In September 1714, he finally accepted a call to a congregation in the Welsh Tract with the Presbytery's blessing, remaining there until a dispute with a parishioner in 1720 led him to accept a call from Great Valley. The pulpit at Great Valley had laid vacant for several years, and the congregation welcomed Evans with a salary of £25 per year and the construction of a new church.

Even this seemingly happy situation, however, did not work out for Evans. In 1740 he became embroiled in the schism between "New Side" (predominantly revivalistic) and "Old Side" (ultra-Calvinist) factions, with Evans siding with the "Old Side," earning both enmity and separation. As recorded by Franklin Dexter, the charges against him by his congregation included heterodoxy, not preaching enough in the Welsh vernacular, and church tyranny.

Thus bereft of a church, Evans settled in Pilesgrove, New Jersey, where he helped to organize a congregation and remained as pastor until his death early in 1751. He was survived by his wife, Ann, and two sons, graduates of Yale in 1739 and 1740.

Scope and content

The Presbyterian pastor, David Evans' Aliquot Rudimenta Philosophiae is a devout and typical early-modern text in logic and natural philosophy. Written meticulously with an introduction dated November 23, 1747, the manuscript consists of four major parts bound together with separate pagination, the Compendium Technologiae, and compendia on Logic, Rhetoric, and Nature. Evans provides copious references to other works in the field that reflect Evans' American education and theological predilections, including Charles Morton's "English Physics," Cotton Mather's Christian Philosopher, William Gravesande's Mathematical Elements of Natural Philosophy.

Digital objects note

This collection contains digital materials that are available in the APS Digital Library. Links to these materials are provided with context in the inventory of this finding aid. A general listing of digital objects may also be found here.

Collection Information

Physical description

1 vol. (230p.)

1 vol. (230p.)


Acquired from Hamilton, 1965 (1965-1986ms).

Preferred citation

Cite as: David Evans, Aliquot Rudimenta Philosophiae, American Philosophical Society.

Processing information

Catalogued by rsc, 2001.

Related material

The APS houses several other early modern natural philosophical compendia, including those of Joseph Francois Marie, Charles Morton, John Questebrune, and an unidentified work in Italian.

Evans, David, The Minister of Christ and His Flock (Philadelphia: Franklin, 1732) Evans, David, Law and Gospel; Or, Man Wholly Ruined by the Law, and Recovered by the Gospel (Philadelphia: Franklin & Hall, 1738)


Among the few sources on the life David Evans is the brief entry in Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1885) vol. 1, 111-113.

Early American History Note

Written in Latin, this essay on natural philosophy written by Pennsylvania minister David Evans in 1747 reflects his broad knowledge of natural history. Please see the entire MOLE entry for a more detailed summary of the volume's content.

Indexing Terms


  • Educational Material
  • Foreign Language
  • Manuscript Essays
  • Scientific Data


  • Education
  • Logic -- Early work to 1800
  • Natural history
  • Natural theology -- Early works to 1800
  • Physics -- Early work to 1800
  • Religion and science
  • Rhetoric -- Early work to 1800
  • Science and technology

Detailed Inventory

 Table of contents
 Compendium Technologiae
 Compendium Logicae
 Introductio (p.1)
 De Judicio (p.49)
 De Ratiocinatione (p.55)
 De Methodo (p.74
 De Grammatica
 Compendium Rhetoricae
 De Geometria
 De Arithmetica
 Compendium Physicae
 Introductio (2p.)
 Prolegomena (1p.)
 Cap. I. De Physica Definitione, Objecto, et Distributione (p.1)
 Cap. II. Pars generalis physicae de naturae... (p.2)
 Cap. III. Pars Physicae, specialis de singulis Naturis speciebus ubi (p.3)
 Cap. IV. De Terra Informu et Uinani... (p.5)
 Cap. V. De Materia et Forma... (p.6)
 Cap. VI. De Qualitatibus rerum in genere (p.9)
 Cap. VII. De Qualitatibus gustilibus (p.16)
 Cap. VIII. De Qualitatibus olfactilibus (p.19)
 Cap. IX. De Qualitatibus audilibus (p.20)
 Cap. X. De Qualitatibus Visibilibus (p.21)
 Cap. XI. De Igne (p.27)
 Cap. XII. De Aere (p.30)
 Cap. XIII. De Meteoris (p.33)
 Cap. XIV. De Meteoris realibus Aqueis qua In infima regione.... (p.34)
 Cap. XV. De Meteoris realibus Aqueis, in secunda seu media regione... (p.36)
 Cap. XVI. De Meteoris Ignitis realibus, in infima aeris regione... (p.39)
 Cap. XVII. De Meteoris Ignitis realibus, in Aeris media regione... (p.39)
 Cap. XVIII. De Meteoris Ignitis realibus, in Aeris media regione suprema (p.40 )
 Cap. XIX. De Meteoris aereis realibus... (p.40)
 Cap. XX. De Meteoris in Expanso coeli... (p.45)
 Cap. XXI. De Aqua (p.47)
 Cap. XXII. De Terra (p.51)
 Cap. XXIII. De Lapidibus (p.54)
 Cap. XXIV. De Metallis (p.56)
 Cap. XXV. De Mineralibus (p.57)
 Cap. XXVI. De Metallis (p.58)
 Cap. XXVII. De Vegetabilibus (p.61)
 Cap. XXVIII. De Luminaribus coelestibus (p.67)
 Cap. XXIX. De Distributione Luminarium Coelestium (p.69)
 De System Ptolomai (p.75)
 De System Copernicia (p.76)
 De System Tychonis Brahei (p.77)
 Cap. XXX. De Piscibus (p.78)
 Cap. XXXI. De Avibus (p.80)
 Cap. XXXII. De Zoophytes, Insectus et Reptilibus (p.81)
 Cap. XXXIII. De Quadrupedibus (p.85)
 Cap. XXXIV. De Homine (p.87)
 Cap. XXXV. De Anima Humana (p.91)
 Cap. XXXVI. De Sensibus et Motibus Humanis (p.93)
 Cap. XXXVII. De Fame, Siti, Vigilia, Somno, Somniis, Sanitate, Morbis et Morte (p.98)
 Index (4p.)
 Epitome (1p.)