The Hartlib Papers

Title:Letter, Thomas Smith To Hartlib
Dating:22 October 1647
Ref:15/6/3A-4B: 4A BLANK

Right Worthy Sir;
I cannot but returne you many thankes for the Metaphysicks you sent <by me to> Mr Bolton, & my good friend Mr Cudworth Maister C of Clare-hall (both which I delivered this morning, as soone as they came to my hands) especially for that great symbol of your true love, your large letter to Mr Bolton, which I delivered yesterday, hoping that when I had given him some respite to consider the contents he would have said somewhat to me this morne, when I presented him with the booke. But my expectations were frustrate, for he tooke no notice in his words to me of any thing which you had written, only told me that he could have beene content to have paid for the booke, & when I excused the unbinding &c bad me remember him to you; & when I asked if he would command me no other service, told me he would write a letter to you & send it me by one a clock. 'Tis now 2 & none come, if I receive it before I seale this you shall have it. Meane while I must[altered] confesse my selfe as highly engaged to your goodnes as if he had given me never so good words, which would have cost him nothing, or bestowed favours on me which he could have done as easily. And lest you should thinke there is somewhat in the wind, I can assure you that I never saw the man till I went about a fortnight agoe to present your respects to him, & will challenge any in the University or els out of it, to produce any ill report that ever was of me. But I may by this as by other acts of providence spell out Gods <good> pleasure that I must not seeke great matters for my selfe Ier. 45. 5. & shall as patiently sit downe with a denyall as men are obstinate in giving a repulse. Yet not doubting but to see a time, when an industrious poore scholar shall be respected, while an idle rich <preferred> dunce shall be little regarded. Mr Cudworth returneth you many thankes for your Ritshel, & professeth himselfe much indebted to you for other bookes likewise. Indeed he is a very worthy Gentleman & I have found very much respect & kindnes from him, in lending me bookes &c. & a great deale the more for your sake. But it lyes not in his way to doe me such kindneses as Mr Bolton might now, because though he be chosen Master of Clare hall, his modesty suffers him not to make use of the title, but makes him content [rather? MS torn] to keepe himselfe Fellow of Emanuel, as I conceive; for there he still lives. [line drawn in left margin] You [desire? MS torn] me [in? MS torn] your letter to acquaint you with whatever in the Univ. is in agitation for ventur or [knowledge? MS torn]. Truly Sir it grieves me to see (what I should not have beleeved had I not been [an eye-witnes? MS torn]) that this University is so far degenerated that you may seeke Samnium in Samnio. A generall opinion hath bespread our young scholars (I wish I might not say our Fellowes too) that humane learning is no way profitable, much lesse necessary to Divinity, which they account the only knowledge. For great Scholars, they tell me, scarce one of 10 goe to heaven, & therefore we should rather avoide than strive for that which will probably encrease our condemnation. And as for those that make it their study to promote sciences for the generall good, these men can pitty & laugh at their design vaine designes, & for their owne parts thinke they may with more ease & lesse charge cast them all aside, that so they may without cumbrances jumpe at the first leap into the pulpit, & become preachers as soone as they are Academians. These <& the like> are the thoughts & expressions of most here now (some of our chiefe) which makes our Colleges[altered from Colledges] so empty, & Scholes more. Even so much that though my Tutour who is now Proctor hath made it his chiefe busines this fortnight to send his from College to College to get 2 Batchelours to be publique moderatours (places which in former times every College would have yeelded strong competitors for) he hath not yet got a couple. Here & there are one or 2 in a College (scarce (& seldome any more) that can shake of pleasure & idlenes & thoughts of filthy lucre & have the patience to walke the good old way of studies.
  These things as all ingenuous men have great occasion to lament, so they have no small cause to rejoyce that & to praise God, that it hath pleased him so opportunely to provide some remedies for such an epidemical disease. That as learning decreaseth in some parts through the low spirits of such earth-wormes as only mind their owne private ends, so it may be promoted & advanced in others by such generous high-spirits as Your selfe, that spend their lives & fortunes in striving to pro advance what others depresse, & seriously to promote the publique good. Concerning Mr More of this College he is now in Lincolnshire, whence when [catchword: he]

he returneth, I shall acquaint him with your respects to him & desire his judgement of <Mr> Ritshel, he is my good friend, for he first acquainted Mr Cudworth with me. What his judgement or any mans els is of the book I cannot yet give you an account, but shall with speed when the booke hath beene bound & perused. which may be a fortnight or 3 weekes hence. & not their opinions only, but some <others> of our deepest Metaphysicall heads. Meane Mr Cudworth is still sick of an ague, which suffers him not to goe out of his chamber or study in it. The Lord preserve your health & prosper your happy endeavours for [the?] furtherance of young scholars, the encouragement of elder, the flourishing of this & his Kingdome! So prayes/
[line drawn in left margin]
                       Your most faithfull, thankfull,
                          & ever obliged servant,
                               Tho. Smith.
Christs College
October 22.

To my very worthy & truly
honoured friend, Mr Samuel
Hartlib, at his house in
the great Court in
          present these.