Digby. I. Sir Kenelm, an English philosopher, born at Gothurst, Buckinghamshire, in 1603, died in London, June 11, 1665. He was the son of Sir Everard Digby, who was executed in 1606 for complicity in the gunpowder plot. He was educated in the Protestant faith, and showed early tokens of talent. In 1621, having finished his education at Oxford, he visited the continent, where he travelled for about two years. After his return he was made gentleman of the bedchamber by Charles L, and held several offices. In 1628 he sailed with a squadron fitted out at his own expense, to fight the Algerines and the Venetians, with whom the English had quarrelled, and gained much credit by his courage and success. In 1636, while in France, he became a convert to Catholicism. He returned to England in 1638, sided with the king in the dissensions of the time, and was imprisoned by order of parliament. During his confinement he wrote several treatises. He was released in 1643 at the intercession of the queen of France, and retired to that country, where he was received with great honor. From this time till 1661 he lived mostly on the continent, and especially in France, employing himself with literary and scientific labors.
Having returned to England, he enjoyed the favor of Charles II., and continued his philosophical studies until his death. He married a daughter of Sir Edward Stanley, and his curious experiments to preserve her extraordinary beauty gave him quite as much celebrity as his books. His principal works are : "A Conference with a Lady about the choice of a Religion" (Paris, 1638); "Observations on Reli-gio Medici" (London, 1643); a "Treatise on the Nature of Bodies" and "Treatise on the Soul, proving its Immortality" (Paris, 1644); a "Treatise of adhering to God" (London, 1654); "Of the Cure of Wounds by the Powder of Sympathy" (London, 1658); and "Private Memoirs of Sir Kenelm Digby, etc, written by Himself," first published in 1827. II. Kenelm Henry, an English author, descended from an uncle of the preceding, born in 1800. His father, the Rev. William Digby, was dean of Clonfert, Ireland. He graduated at Trinity college, Cambridge, in 1823, embraced soon after the Roman Catholic faith, studied scholastic theology and the literature and antiquities of the middle ages, and devoted himself exclusively to the illustration of medieval times and manners.
In 1826-'7 he published "The Broad Stone of Honor: on the Origin, Spirit, and Institutions of Christian Chivalry." Pursuing with unflagging industry his archaeological studies in the various countries of continental Europe, the fruits of his research appeared anonymously from 1844 to 1847, under the title of " Mores Catholici, or Ages of Faith " (3 vols. royal 8vo, London). In 1851 appeared "Compitum, or the Meeting of the Ways at the Catholic Church;" in 1856, "Lover's Seat: Kathemerina" (2 vols. 12mo); in 1858, "Children's Bower, or What You Like" (2 vols. 12mo); in 1860, "Evenings on the Thames" (2 vols. 12mo; 2d ed., 1864); and in 1861, "The Chapel of St. John, or a Life of Faith," being a memorial to his deceased wife.