The Hartlib Papers

Title:Letter, Hartlib To Robert Boyle
Dating:15 November 1659
Ref:'The Works of the Honourable Robert Boyle', ed. T. Birch. 2nd edition, 6 vols. (London, 1772). Vol. VI, pp. 131-3

[p. 131]
Honoured SIR,                              Nov. 15, 1659.
     LAST Saturday I sent a very bulky packet coming from Ireland, with a copy of Dalgarno's letter, and a few lines of my cure. Yesterday I received again one of your desirable letters without any date, but suppose to be written on Saturday last. For that trick again I shall send no more packets by friends; for so they have served me for the most part upon the like occasions. Mr. Pell desired to have the correcting of the print, as thinking himself far more nice and critical than your humble servant. He had it, but it seems the porter did not find him at home, when he brought to him the first sheet, nor could I speak with him, till the second sheet also was printed off. I can assure you, the written copy was no other than that which is printed, but I was forgetful to send back those lines, it only concerning myself (who in truth is nothing else but a lump of worser faults) and being greedy to have it printed off with all expedition. I have received letters lately out of New England, whither I purpose, God willing, to send a packet of ten or twenty copies, and as many to Jamaica, to my special good friend there Dr. Browne, that from both those places they may disperse them to other English plantations. I humbly beg to enlarge or explain yours, in what particulars you apprehend the Madagascar way or practice may be made more use of, than the natives are aware of. If you answer, I shall add it to the heap of your other obligations. The queries, which you farther make about the Turkish Bible, I cannot resolve, but shall write, God willing, to have them answered by monsieur de Geere himself. As I did last week let him know, what aspect was cast from yours and Oxford towards him, and such kind of endeavours; and how far you were advanced towards the same design.. I shall also enquire of Mr. Hottenger about a catechism, but do not put Mr. Pocock upon any such translation, till I shall have imparted unto you some few lines about the method of propagating or insinuating of religion by catechisms. Mr. Pell tells me, that Warnerus is a most accomplished man, and that for his great abilities and skill in Arabic and other oriental languages, he was counted worthy to be sent to be resident for the states at the Ottoman court. He added withall, that many years ago Warnerus had published his Collectanea of all the passages concerning Christ out of the Alcoran. I have written for it to Warnerus's friends last Friday; for I know it will mightily please our Herefordian friend. Mr. Oldenburg says, that more experiments de vacuo are greatly longed for by your French philosophers. Yesterday I received the sum of 5 l. by your appointment. The title of Mr. Beale's manuscript is called, A free discovery [catchword: of]
[p. 132]
of the true, lawful, holy, and divine expedient for the propagation of the gospel, and establishment of an universal peace all over the world. It is above twenty-six sheets, besides many other sheets formerly written on the same argument, which I am to add, whensoever it is printed, and then it will come to I know not how many more; so that I fear it will be too big and hazardous for your undertaking in these unsettled times. Mr. Brereton was stark wild after it, having read but a few pages. He does not legally own it, because of the many paradoxes, or rather free truths in it, as I do judge them. But writing to him how providentially he had met with the said manuscript (for he meeting with the carrier, seeing so great a bulk, and knowing Mr. B.'s hand, paid the carrier, and returned with it to my study,) and how I was constrained to open the packet in his presence, liking it so highly, obtained leave to transcribe a copy. The truth is, I design all such and the like works or tracts be printed upon the charges of Macaria, whose scope it is most professedly to propagate religion, and to endeavour the reformation of the whole world. But it is scarce one day (or hour in the day) or night, being brim full with all manner of objects of that public and most universal nature, but my soul is crying out,
  Phosphore! redde diem, quid gaudia nostra moraris?
  Phosphore, redde diem!
Perhaps within a few days longer I may for an interim present your goodness another subject of worth and usefulness, upon which you may spend that sum, which yow you have deposited in my hands; and by doing so you relieve in the mean while very great extremities. For yet I am overwhelmed with all manner of smaller and greater debts or engagements. Nor dare I for the present disrobe myself of all the occasions and advantages I have of continuing in my ways of well doing. For this would be - Devorato bove in cauda deficere; yet a little while, and deliverance will come. I told Mr. B. out of your former, that you were too much an orator. He answers - De re Christiana optime meruit eruditissimus Pococius, quod argumenta Grotiana Arabice reddidit recte: ait Bovillus (Boylius) noster preclarissimus, satis esse, si Christiani ex vero simus. Nil opus alio charactere, neque nomenclatoris additamento. Verum quid ille me oratorem nominabat! Mallem virum bonum, bonum, agricolam, colonum bonum Catonis aut Varronis suffragio. Nemo nisi vir bonus potest esse orator, ut ait Cicero, ipse oratorum princeps. Ego, si essem orator, non tam ingrato forem animo, ut in redhibitione tum diu obmutescerim. Illud insuper addo, ecquem novimus oratorem evadere, qui in pulvere scholastico integram juventutem disperdere necesse habuit, quod mihi misero satis importunis obvenit. Obsecro meo nomine summo viro plurimam salutem impertire non dedigeris, et in operibus Dei reserandis bono publico & posteris operam tam sero navantem auspiciis divinis prosequamur. That which follows written by the same good hand is no ways so pleasing. "That you mistake not, the hortulan paradoxes were sent above six weeks ago, and I conclude they are lost from us. That of transmutation of flowers is surely in the warehouse at London. If it should be lost, it is not in my power to repeat it or to recover it; for it is the first draught, and as soon as I have engrossed, I am wont to discharge my memory. And my memory holds me to that covenant of immunity; and as the beast will not feed on blown fodder, so doth my spirit love fresh air and free perambulations. Nempe ut
  Avia Pieridum peragrem loca, nullius ante
  Tritasolo, juvat integros accidere fontes."
The letter is dated Nov. 24. The packet to my great grief is not found in the London warehouse. I have begged search to be made at Hereford. I have called [catchword: upon]
[p. 133]
upon Clodius to write to you, and to send you the desired Dutch books. As I am called upon to pay for them, which as yet my son hath not done to me, it encreases my present burdens. I suppose you have heard, that Canaparius de Atramentis is lately reprinted at London. Worthy Mr. Pocock will not willingly hear of the death of Mr. Gouland, once library-keeper of the bishop of Lincoln's library at Westminster. Lord Bradshaw left no last will at all. Yesterday came forth a very notable discourse called the lord general Fleetwood's answer to the humble representation of colonel Morley and some other late officers of the army, wherein he declares his judgment and conscience, what is the good old cause, and for a free parliament as the only expedient for England's settlement. Sir H. V. is said to separate himself from the councils of Wallingford house, professing his resolvedness to retire to his country-house. The commissioners have agreed to lay by the old parliament, and that the armies shall proceed no further. I rest. &c. &c.