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As soon as the term was ended, supposing your leisure was more than before, I was coming to thank you two or three times, rather choosing to do it by word than by letter: but I was still disappointed of my purpose, as I am at this present upon an urgent occasion, which doth tie me fast to Fulham, and hath now made me determine to impart my mind in writing.
ter of philosophy; though that science be now through age waxed a child again, and left to boys and young men. And because you were wont to make me believe you took liking to my writings, I send you some of this vacation's fruits; and thus much more of my mind and purpose. I hasten not to publish; perishing I would prevent; and I am forced to respect as well my times as the matter. For with me it is thus; and I think, with all men in my case if I bind myself to an argument, it loadeth my mind; but if I rid my mind of the present cogitation, it is rather a recreation. This hath put me into these miscellanies; which I purpose to suppress, if God give me leave to write a just and perfect volume of philosophy, which I go on with, though slowly. I send not your lordship too much, lest it may glut you. Now let me tell you what my desire is if your lordship be so good now, as when you were the good dean of Westminster, my request to you is, that not by pricks, but by notes, you would mark unto me whatsoever shall seem unto you either not current in the style, or harsh to credit and opinion, or inconvenient for the person of the writer; for no man can be judge and party; and when our minds judge by reflection on ourselves, they are more subject to error. And though, for the matter itself, my judgment be in some things fixed, and not accessible by any man's judgment that goeth not my way; yet even in those things, the admonition of a friend may make me express myself diversely. I would have come to your lordship, but that I am hastening to my house in the country and so I commend your lordship to God's goodness.
I think you know I have read your "Cogitata et Visa," which I protest I have done with great desire, reputing it a token of your singular love that you joined me with those your chiefest friends, to whom you would commend the first perusal of your draught; for which, I pray you, give me leave to say but this unto you:
First, that if the depth of my affection to your person and spirit, to your works, and your words, and to all your abilities, were as highly to be valued, as your affection is to me, it might walk with yours arm in arm, and claim your love by just desert. But there can be no comparison where our states are so uneven, and our means to demonstrate our affections so different insomuch as for my own, I must leave it to be prized in the nature that it is; and you shall evermore find it most addicted to your worth.
As touching the subject of your book, you have set afoot so many rare and noble speculations, as I cannot choose but wonder, and I shall wonder at it ever, that, your expense of time considered in your public profession, which hath in a manner no acquaintance with scholarship or learning, you should have culled out the quintessence, and sucked up the sap of the chiefest kind of learning.
For howsoever in some points you do vary altogether from that which is, and hath been ever, the received doctrine of our schools, and was always by the wisest, as still they have been deemed, of all nations and ages, adjudged the truest; yet it is apparent, that in those very points, and in all your proposals and plots in that book, you show yourself a master workman.
XCVII. TO SIR THOMAS BODLEY, AFTER HE
In respect of my going down to my house in the country, I shall have miss of my papers, which I pray you therefore to return unto me. You are, I bear you witness, slothful, and you help me nothing; 80 as I am half in conceit, that you affect not the argument: for myself, I know well, you love and effect. I can say no more to you, but "non canimus surdis, respondent omnia sylvæ." If you be not of the lodgings chalked up, whereof I speak in my preface, I am but to pass by your door. But if I had you a fortnight at Gorhambury, I would make you tell me another tale; or else I would add a cogitation against libraries, and be revenged on you that way. I pray you send me some good news of Sir Thomas Smith; and commend me very kindly
to him. So I rest
minem; sanctæ huic lætitiæ totus immergar, æternæ contiguus immoriar raptus."
But this was an enterprise suited to the warlike genius of Du Plessis, great master of Henry the fourth, and not to the peaceable spirit of king James. Besides, the king, in his answer of the 20th of October, 1611, after he had excused his long silence, and very much commended this author in the design of his book, and as freely called the pope antichrist,
XCVIII. SIR THOMAS BODLEY'S LETTER TO
For myself, I must confess, and I speak it ingenuè, that for the matter of learning, I am not worthy to be reckoned in the number of smatterers.
And yet because it may seem, that being willing to communicate your treatise with your friends, you are likewise willing to listen to whatsoever I or others can except against it; I must deliver unto you for my private opinion, that I am one of that crew that say there is, and we profess, a far greater and Rome Babylon, conceives that neither the Scriptures, the doctrine nor example of the primitive church, would sufficiently justify an offensive war, undertaken purely for religion; could he in prudence expect any success in such an attempt. Stephens.
Appendix to a Collection of Letters of Archbishop Usher, Letter xiv. p. 19.
holdfast of certainty in our sciences, than you by your discourse will seem to acknowledge.
For whereas, first, you do object the ill success and errors of practitioners in physic, you know as well they do proceed of the patient's unruliness, for not one of a hundred doth obey his physician in observing his cautels; or by misinformation of their own indispositions, for few are able in this kind to explicate themselves; or by reason their diseases are by nature incurable, which is incident, you know, to many sorts of maladies; or for some other hidden cause which cannot be discovered by course of conjecture. Howbeit, I am full of this belief, that as physic is ministered now-a-days by physicians, it is much to be ascribed to their negligence or ignorance, or other touch of imperfection, that they speed no better in their practice: for few are found of that profession so well instructed in their art, as they might by the precepts which their art doth afford; which though it be defective in regard of such perfection, yet for certain it doth flourish with admirable remedies, such as tract of time hath taught by experimental events, and are the open highway to that principal knowledge that you recommend.
As for alchemy, and magic, some conclusions they have that are worthy the preserving; but all their skill is so accompanied with subtleties and guiles, as both the crafts and craft-masters are not only despised, but named with derision. Whereupon to make good your principal assertion, methinks you should have drawn your examples from that which is taught in the liberal sciences, not by picking out cases that happen very seldom, and may by all confession be subject to reproof; but by controlling the generals, and grounds, and eminent positions, and aphorisms, which the greatest artists and philosophers have from time to time defended.
For it goeth for current amongst all men of learning, that those kind of arts which clerks in times past did term quadrivials, confirm their propositions by infallible demonstrations.
And likewise in the trivials such lessons and directions are delivered unto us, as will effect very near, or as much altogether, as every faculty doth promise. Now in case we should concur to do as you advise, which is, to renounce our common notions, and cancel all our theorems, axioms, rules, and tenets, and so to come babes“ ad regnum naturæ," as we are willed by Scriptures to come "ad regnum cœlorum;" there is nothing more certain in my understanding, than that it would instantly bring us to barbarism, and, after many thousand years, leave us more unprovided of theorical furniture than we are at this present: for that were indeed to become very babes, or tabula rasa, when we shall leave no impression of any former principles, but be driven to begin the world again, and to travel by trials of axioms and sense, which are your proofs by particulars, what to place in intellectu, for our general conceptions; it being a maxim of all men's approving, " In intellectu nihil esse, quod non prius fuit in sensu;" and so in appearance it would befall us, that till Plato's year be come about, our insight in learning would be of less reckoning than now it is accounted.
As for that which you inculcate, of a knowledge more excellent than now is among us, which experience might produce, if we would but essay to extract it out of nature by particular probations, it is no more upon the matter, but to incite us unto that, which without instigation by a natural instinct men will practise of themselves: for it cannot in reason be otherwise thought, but that there are infinite numbers in all parts of the world, for we may not in this case confine our cogitations within the bounds of Europe, which embrace the course that you purpose, with all the diligence and care that ability can perform; for every man is born with an appetite of knowledge, wherewith he cannot be so glutted, but still, as in a dropsy, thirst after more.
But yet why they should hearken to any such persuasion, as wholly to abolish those settled opinions and general theorems, to which they attained by their own and their ancestors' experience, I see nothing yet alleged to induce me to think it.
Moreover, I may speak, as I should suppose with good probability, that if we should make a mental survey what is like to be effected all the world over, those five or six inventions which you have selected, and imagine to be but of modern standing, would make but a slender show amongst so many hundreds of all kinds of natures, which are daily brought to light by the enforcement of wit, or casual events, and may be compared, or partly preferred above those that you have named.
But were it so here that all were admitted, that you can require, for the augmentation of our knowledge; and that all our theorems and general positions were utterly extinguished with a new substitution of others in their places, what hope may we have of any benefit of learning by this alteration?
Assuredly, as soon as the new are brought with their additions ad arμny, by the inventors and their followers, by an interchangeable course of natural things they will fall by degrees to be buried in oblivion, and so on continuance to perish outright; and that perchance upon the like to your present pretences, by proposal of some means to advance all our knowledge to a higher pitch of perfectness: for still the same defects that antiquity found will reside in mankind.
And therefore, other issues of their actions, devices, and studies are not to be expected, than is apparent by records were in former times observed.
I remember here a note which Paterculus made of the incomparable wits of the Grecians and Romans in their flourishing state, that there might be this reason of their notable downfal in their issue that came after; because by nature "Quod summo studio petitum est ascendit in summum, difficilisque in perfecto mora est ; "insomuch that men perceiving that they could go no farther, being come to the top, they turned back again of their own accord, forsaking those studies that are most in request, and betaking themselves to new endeavours, as if the thing that they sought had been by prevention surprised by others.
So it fared in particular with the eloquence of that age, that when their successors found that hardly
they could equal, by no means excel their prede- | restored in integrum: which will require as many ages cessors, they began to neglect the study thereof, and both to write and speak for many hundred years in a rustical manner; till this latter revolution brought the wheel about again, by inflaming gallant spirits to give the onset afresh, with straining and striving to climb unto the top and height of perfection, not in that gift only, but in every other skill in any part of learning.
as have marched before us, to be perfectly achieved. And this I write with no dislike of increasing our knowledge with new-found devices, which is undoubtedly a practice of high commendation, in regard of the benefit they will yield for the present; that the world hath ever been, and will assuredly for ever continue very full of such devisors, whose industry hath been very obstinate and eminent that way, and hath produced strange effects, above the reach and the hope of men's common capacities; and yet our notions and theorems have always kept in grace both with them, and with the rarest that ever were named among the learned.
For I do not hold it an erroneous conceit to think of every science, that as now they are professed, so they have been before in all precedent ages, though not alike in all places, nor at all times alike in one and the same place, but according to the changings and twinings of times, with a more exact and plain, or with a more rude and obscure kind of teaching.
And if the question should be asked, what proof I have of it, I have the doctrine of Aristotle, and of the deepest learned clerks, of whom we have any means to take any notice, that as there is of other things, so there is of sciences, ortus et interitus, which is also the meaning, if I should expound it, of "nihil novum sub sole," and is as well to be applied ad facta, as ad dicta, "ut nihil neque dictum neque factum, quod non est dictum et factum prius." I have farther for my warrant that famous complaint of Solomon to his son against the infinite making of books in his time, of which in all congruity it must needs be understood, that a great part were observations and instructions in all kind of literature: and those there is not now so much as one petty pamphlet, only some parts of the Bible excepted, remaining to posterity.
As then there was not, in like manner, any footing to be found of millions of authors that were long before Solomon, and yet we must give credit to that which he affirmed, that whatsoever was then, or had been before, it could never be truly pronounced of it, Behold this new.
Whereupon I must for my final conclusion infer, seeing all the endeavours, study, and knowledge of mankind, in whatsoever art or science, have ever been the same, as they are at this present, though full of mutabilities, according to the changes and accidental occasions of ages and countries, and clerks' dispositions, which can never be but subject to intention and remission, both in their devices and practices of their knowledge: if now we should accord in opinion with you, First, to condemn our present knowledge of doubts and incertitudes, which you confirm but by averment, without other force of argument: And then to disclaim all our axioms and maxims, and general assertions that are left by tradition from our elders to us, which, for so it is to be pretended, have passed all probations of the sharpest wits that ever were: And lastly, to devise, being now become again as it were abecedarii, by the frequent spelling of particulars to come to the notice of the true generals, and so afresh to create new principles of sciences: the end of all would be that, when we shall be dispossessed of the learning which we have, all our consequent travels will but help us in a circle to conduct us to the place from whence we set forward, and bring us to the happiness to be
By this you see to what boldness I am brought by your kindness, that if I seem to be too saucy in this contradiction, it is the opinion that I hold of your noble disposition, and of the freedom in these cases that you will afford your special friend, that hath induced me to do it. And although I myself, like a carrier's horse, cannot balk the beaten way in which I have been trained, yet such is my censure of your "Cogitata," that I must tell you, to be plain, you have very much wronged yourself and the world, to smother such a treasure so long in your coffer; for though I stand well assured, for the tenor and subject of your main discourse, you are not able to impannel a substantial jury in any university that will give up a verdict to acquit you of error, yet it cannot be gainsaid, but all your treatise over doth abound with choice conceits of the present state of learning, and with so worthy contemplations of the means to procure it, as may persuade any student to look more narrowly to his business, not only by aspiring to the greatest perfection of that which is now-a-days divulged in the sciences, but by diving yet deeper into, as it were, the bowels and secrets of nature, and by enforcing of the powers of his judgment and wit, to learn of St. Paul, "consectari meliora dona:" which course, would to God, to whisper so much in your ear, you had followed at the first, when you fell into the study of such a study as was not worthy such a student. Nevertheless being so as it is, that you are therein settled, and your country soundly served, I cannot but wish with all my heart, as I do very often, that you may gain a fit reward to the full of your deserts, which I hope will come with heaps of happiness and honour. Yours to be used and commanded, THO. BODLEY.
From Fulham, Feb. 19, 1607.
ONE kind of boldness doth draw on another, insomuch as, methinks, I should offend not to signify, that before the transcript of your book be fitted for the press, it will be requisite for you to cast a censor's eye upon the style and the elocution; which in the framing of some periods, and in divers words and phrases, will hardly go for current, if the copy brought to me be just the same that you would publish.
XCIX. TO MR. MATTHEW, UPON SENDING TO HIM A PART OF “INSTAURATIO MAGNA."*
I PLAINLY perceive by your affectionate writing touching my work, that one and the same thing affecteth us both; which is, the good end to which it is dedicated; for as to any ability of mine, it cannot merit that degree of approbation. For your caution for church-men and church-matters, as for any impediment it might be to the applause and celebrity of my work, it moveth me not; but as it may hinder the fruit and good which may come of a quiet and calm passage to the good port to which it is bound, I hold it a just respect; so as to fetch a fair wind I go not too far about. But the truth is, that I at all have no occasion to meet them in my way; except it be as they will needs confederate themselves with Aristotle, who, you know, is intemperately magnified by the schoolmen; and is also allied, as I take it, to the Jesuits, by Faber, who was a companion of Loyola, and a great Aristotelian. I send you at this time the only part which hath any harshness; and yet I framed to myself an opinion, that whosoever allowed well of that preface, which you so much commend, will not dislike, or at least ought not to dislike, this other speech of preparation; for it is written out of the same spirit, and out of the same necessity: nay, it doth more fully lay open, that the question between me and the ancients, is not of the virtue of the race, but of the rightness of the way. And to speak truth, it is to the other but as palma to pugnus, part of the same thing more large. You conceive aright, that in this and the other, you have commission to impart and communicate them to others according to your discretion. Other matters I write not of. Myself am like the miller of Granchester, that was wont to pray for peace amongst the willows; for while the winds blew, the windmills wrought, and the water-mill was less customed. So I see that controversies of religion must hinder the advancement of sciences. Let me conclude with my perpetual wish towards yourself, that the approbation of yourself, by your own discreet and temperate carriage, may restore you to your country, and your friends to your society. And so I commend you to God's goodness.
Gray's-Inn, Oct. 10, 1609.
C. TO MR. MATTHEW.†
I THANK you for the last, and pray you to believe, that your liberty in giving opinion of those writings which I sent you, is that which I sought, which I *Rawley's Resuscitatio.
Sir Toby Matthew's Collection of Letters, p. 12.
expected, and which I take in exceeding good part; so good as that it makes me recontinue, or rather a continue my hearty wishes of your company here, that so you might use the same liberty concerning my actions, which now you exercise concerning my ra writings. For that of queen Elizabeth, your judgment of the temper and truth of that part, which concerns some of her foreign proceedings, concurs fully with the judgment of others, to whom I have communicated part of it; and as things go, I suppose they are likely to be more and more justified and allowed. And whereas you say, for some other part, that it moves and opens a fair occasion, and broad way, into some field of contradiction: on the other side it is written to me from the lieger at Paris, and some others also, that it carries a manifest impression of truth with it, and that it even convinces as it grows. These are their very words; which I write not for mine own glory, but to show what variety of opinion rises from the disposition of several readers. And I must confess my desire to be, that my writings should not court the present time, or some few places, in such sort as might make them either less general to persons, or less permanent in future ages. As to the "Instauration," your so full approbation thereof I read with much comfort, by how much more my heart is upon it; and by how much less I expected consent and concur rence in a matter so obscure. Of this I can assure you, that though many things of great hope decay with youth, and multitude of civil businesses is wont to diminish the price, though not the delight of contemplations, yet the proceeding in that work doth gain with me upon my affection and desire, both by years and businesses. And therefore I hope, even by this, that it is well pleasing to God, from whom and to whom all good moves. To him I most heartily commend you.
CI. TO MR. MATTHEW.§
I HEARTILY thank you for your letter of the 10th of February, and am glad to receive from you matter both of encouragement and of advertisement touching my writings. For my part I do wish, that since there is no lumen siccum || in the world, but all madidum, and maceratum, infused in affections, and bloods, or humours, that these things of mine had those separations that might make them more acceptable so that they claim not so much acquaintance of the present times, as they be thereby the less apt to last. And to show you that I have some purpose to new-mould them, I send you a leaf or two of the preface, carrying some figure of the whole work. Wherein I purpose to take that which I count real and effectual of both writings; and chiefly to add a pledge, if not payment, to my promises, I send you clitus, that dry light is ever the best; which in another place he thus expounds: "Certainly the light that a man receiveth by counsel from another, is drier and purer than that which cometh from his own understanding and judgment, this being ever infused and drenched in his affections.' Stephens.
also a memorial of queen Elizabeth; to requite your eulogy of the late duke of Florence's* felicity. Of this, when you were here, I showed you some model; at what time, methought, you were more willing to hear Julius Cæsar, than queen Elizabeth, commended. But this which I send is more full, and hath more of the narrative: and farther, hath one part that, I think, will not be disagreeable either to you or that place; being the true tract of her proceedings towards the catholics, which are infinitely mistaken. And though I do not imagine they will pass allowance there, yet they will gain upon excuse. I find Mr. Le Zure to use you well, I mean his tongue of you, which shows you either honest, or wise but this I speak merrily. For in good faith I do conceive hope, that you will so govern yourself, as we may take you as assuredly for a good subject and patriot, as you take yourself for a good christian; and so we may again enjoy your company, and you your conscience, if it may no otherwise be. For my part, assure yourself, as we say in the law, "mutatis mutandis," my love and good wishes to you are not diminished. And so I remain
I DO very heartily thank you for your letter of the 24th of August from Salamanca; and in recompence thereof I send you a little work of mine, that hath begun to pass the world. They tell me my Latin is turned into silver, and become current: had you been here, you should have been my inquisitor before it came forth: but, I think, the greatest inquisitor in Spain will allow it. But one thing you must pardon me if I make no haste to believe, that the world should be grown to such an ecstasy, as to reject truth in philosophy, because the author dissenteth in religion; no more than they do by Aristotle or Averroes. My great work goeth forward; and after my manner, I alter ever when I add. So that nothing is finished till all be finished. This I have written in the midst of a term and parliament; thinking no time so possessed, but that I should talk of these matters with so good and dear a friend. And so with my wonted wishes I leave you to God's goodness.
From Gray's-Inn, Feb. 27, 1610.
CIII. TO THE KING, DESIRING TO SUCCEED IN THE ATTORNEY'S PLACE.‡
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
YOUR great and princely favours towards me in advancing me to place; and, that which is to me
This duke of Florence was named Ferdinand, of the house of Medici; whose memory Sir Henry Wotton cele brated in a letter printed in his Remains, and presented to king Charles 1. Pisaecius, the bishop of Premista in Poland, begias his chronicle of the year 1609, with an account of his
of no less comfort, your Majesty's benign and gracious acceptation, from time to time, of my poor services, much above the merit and value of them; hath almost brought me to an opinion that I may sooner, perchance, be wanting to myself in not asking, than find your Majesty's goodness wanting to me in any my reasonable and modest desires. And therefore perceiving how at this time preferments of law fly about mine ears, to some above me, and to some below me; I did conceive your Majesty may think it rather a kind of dulness, or want of faith, than modesty, if I should not come with my pitcher to Jacob's well, as others do. Wherein I shall propound to your Majesty that which tendeth not so much to the raising of my fortune, as to the settling of my mind: being sometimes assailed with this cogitation, that by reason of my slowness to see and apprehend sudden occasions, keeping in one plain course of painful service, I may, in fine dierum, be in danger to be neglected and forgotten: and if that should be, then were it much better for me, now while I stand in your Majesty's good opinion, though unworthy, and have some little reputation in the world, to give over the course I am in, and to make proof to do you some honour by my pen, either by writing some faithful narrative of your happy, though not untraduced, times; or by recompiling your laws, which, I perceive, your Majesty laboureth with; and hath in your head, as Jupiter had Pallas, or some other the like work; for without some endeavour to do you honour, I would not live; than to spend my wits and time in this laborious place wherein I now serve; if it shall be deprived of those outward ornaments, which it was wont to have, in respect of an assured succession to some place of more dignity and rest; which seemeth now to be a hope altogether casual, if not wholly intercepted. Wherefore, not to hold your Majesty long, my humble suit to your Majesty is that, than the which I cannot well go lower; which is, that I may obtain your royal promise to succeed, if I live, into the attorney's place, whensoever it shall be void; it being but the natural and immediate step and rise which the place I now hold hath ever, in sort, made claim to, and almost never failed of. In this suit I make no friends but to your Majesty, rely upon no other motive but your grace, nor any other assurance but your word; whereof I had good experience, when I came to the solicitor's place, that it was like to the two great lights, which in their motions are never retrograde. So with my best prayers for your Majesty's happiness, I rest—
CIV. TO THE KING, UPON THE ATTORNEY'S SICKNESS.§
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, I Do understand by some of my good friends, to my death; and sums up his character in these words: "Princeps animo excelso, et omnibus politicis artibus in tantum instructus, ut in multis seculis vix æqualem habuerit." Stephens.