The Hartlib Papers

Title:Copy Letter In Hand ?, Dury To ?

My Lord.
I humbly craue permission to acquaint your Honour with some things Concerning my Selfe; & with some of my thoughts ralating to the Publick: that if the things which I shall present may bee vnderstood feasable, publicly vsefull, and I (as I am inclined) fit to do seruice therin; I may begge the favour of your Lordships approbation & assistance to further the same; so farre as it shall seeme expedient & seasonable, towards the welfare of the public.
Giue mee leaue then to declare first concerning my self, the Truth as it is in my heart, & wherof I haue a great witnes in heauen. That I neuer, Could hitherto rest Conscionably satisfied in my spirit, Concerning my right to that which is called a being & maintenanc in this life. further then I could see my selfe therby made Subseruient to the Generall advancment of the protestant religion which is Christianity; & of the Reformation of Learning which is Rationality. these are the designes wherof hitherto I haue made openly profession; wherin except I exercise my selfe I can haue no inward quietnes: & wherunto as all my other desires are subordinat; soe the most likeliest way to prosecute the same, is made the professed Rule; by which I frame all my resolutions & order my Contriuances. Therefore in order to this Rule I haue heretofore cast my self vpon God; I haue obserued those ouverturs which from time to time were offered by his prouidence; & haue followed those wayes, which to my apprehention did best answer those ouvertures, & were most suteable to the worke I had in hand; although they might be least desirable for mine owne ease & outward Conveniencies: vpon this ground without any visible assurance of outward support I did continue a good many yeers in my Negotiation with the Churches abroad; & after that I was Competently prouided for, & might haue liued as many do in a setled Condition for the rest of my life abroad, out of these troubles at home; yet when an ouverture was made vnto mee by a call from the Parliament to Come hither to assist those of the Assembly in the designe of a Church Reformation, I took vp the Resolution to do soe, without Consulting with flesh & blood, when the Parliament was at the lowest ebbe & the Kings strengtht greatest; & came hither about the time of the Battaile of Nasby: & because the Competent maintenance of full 200.lib. a yeere which I might haue kept during life Could not be Conscionably Enioyed without a personall attendance vpon the place wherevnto it was annexed; which was inconsistent with my abode in England; therefore I did freely quit it, only upon the Hopes which I had, that when God should bring the affaires of this state vnto some settlement, & the Church Reformation vnto some advancement; I might then be assisted towards the prosecution of my publick designes: & the grounds which I had for this hope were rationally such, as I could desire no greater. for they were the publick Declarations of Parliament in the yeers 1641. & 1643. obleiging this state to minde a Correspondencie towards forreigne protestants in the Common cause which they had taken in hand. [catchword: for in]

for in 1641. the 15 of December. the Remonstrance of the state, of the Kingdome declareth the intention of the Parliament in these words: that vpon the Rectifying of their grieuances they were resolued: To laboure by all offices of Freindship to vnite the forreigne Churches with us in the same cause, & to seeke their Liberty safety & prosperity as bound therunto by Charity to them; & by wisdome for our owne good; for by this meanes our owne strength shall be increased; & by a mutuall Concurrence to the same Common ende; wee shall be able to procure the good of the whole Body of the protestant Religion. & in the Nationall League & Covenant of the yeere 1643. in that part therof which bindes the Consciences of all, before God, to the advancement of Christianity at home. the Conclusion is this, that the Successe of our proceedings may be diliuerance & safetie to all Gods people, & an encouragement to other Christian Churches groaning vnder & in danger of the yoake of Antichristian Tyranny; to ioyne with us in the same or like association & Couenant, to the Glory of God, the enlargement of the Kingdome of Iesus Christ; & the Peace & Tranquillity of Christian kingdomes & Commonwealthes. these large declarations Sollemnly made were the Grounds of my hope, & the expectation which I had; to see something intended towards the fulfilling therof together with the desire of being instrumentall therunto. made mee Cheerfully quit the settlement & liuelihood, which I was possest with all, to attend the Seruice wherunto I was called by the Parliament; & therin to endevour a reconcilement betweene the dissenting parties amongst our selues that our Domestic vnitie, in the Principles of true Christianity might redound to the accomplishment of those forementioned publick intendments. how farre my broken endevours haue beene vsefull in this kind, sinc I haue been here I know not, but if I had not been engaged into particular attendances; & might haue followed my genius in a more free way; I sppose I might haue been more Seruicable, aswell towards those that are abroad to vphold the Credit of <left margin: of> our Reformation which is much weakened with them as towards our owne at home in some other things. And now seeing God hath againe disingaged me from all particular attendances; by taking off the last Seruice which I haue had about the late Kings Children; I hope that he will not obleige me to depend any more vpon any particular ralations, which are alwayes an abridgment of that Liberty which is necessary to watch the opportunites of Acting, & to act without distraction in publick designes, but that I shall be inabled by his blessing & the favour of Authority to set henceforth my selfe free from all, <left margin: 1. Cor. 9. 19.> that I may wholly with the Apostle become a Seruant vnto all: which is the highest wish that I haue for my selfe in this world, next vnto the enioyment of spirituall abilities fitting mee therunto.
And this much of my selfe: the Second thing which I intreat your Lordship to reflect vpon is Concerning the thoughts ralating to the publick: & the way which may bee used to bring the same to passe.
The thoughts wherupon my <Dury's hand?: spirit> is wholly Setled & engaged for the publick good are reducible to three heads. [catchword: The first.]

The first is to elaborat the Counsels of Peace ecclesiasticall; which Containeth three taskes. one to publish the Counsels hererofore imparted vnto mee by all the Churches & my negotiation therin with them severally wherof I am accountable vnto the world of Christians. another to Sollicit the meanes of a better agreement amongst our selues at this time most necessary & to conferre & treat with our Ministers about it; & lastly to Continue & renew the interrupted correspondencies which I haue had with forregners Concerning the same designe.
The Second is to procure the Compilement of a full Body of Practicall Diuinity out of our English Authors. which I am Solemnly engaged to endevour with all my might; at the earnest intreatie of Severall forreigne Churches expressed in a letter Subscribed in the name of very many, & put into my hand to be managed for the publick good. wherin I respect mainly the Glory that will redound to God by that meanes; & the Credit which it will raise to this Church & state by wiping away the reproaches cast vpon the one & the other of late
The third is; to elaborat Some peculiar taskes in the advancement of scripturall interpretation, of vniversall Learning; & to assist Some others in the Counsels of reforming Schooles, & of educating youth in Languages in vertues & in humane Sciences. which are the main fundamentalls of a Solid Reformation, and without which none of all our other endevoures, will reach effectually vnto the good of posterity.
And these are the heads of my thoughts relating to the public; Now the way necessary for mee to bring these thoughts to some perfection, is as I conceiue this: first I must set my selfe wholly a part for these designes, & resolue to attend fully all the occasions of acting & Conferring with others about the same, so then my purpose is to mind nothing else but these obiects; & what hath a reference therunto directly: only in a Collaterall way I shall neuer refuse to Consult & act any other designe manifestly vsefull towards the increase & setlement of the Common welfare. Secondly if I should thus attend these workes I must humbly sue for the favour of a Competent liuelihood allowed towards these aimes, for vpon this account I dare owne a right to receiue the same: Chiefly if it bee giuen as a testimonie of public favour to such designes & of my acting therin; yet I shall not refuse it vpon the other grounds of equitie which I haue to alledge for such a favour. as [th?] 1. that I did quit a Competencie of full 200.lib. a yeer to come to the Seruice of this state vpon their call. 2. that I haue been taken off since my arriuall from the employment in which I was put by the Parliament; which was worth 200.lib. a yeer for a priuat seruice & attendance: & I haue reason to hope that haueing been faithfull to the publick & willing to do still seruice therin my Condition shall not bee made worse then the places were from which I haue been taken. others haue had Considerable pensions[altered] during life allowed them vpon such Considerations as these without any relation to other publick Seruices without the which I shall Claime nothing: if then vpon these Grounds I may hope for the favour of a liuelihood I shall intreat that I may haue the benefit of a Discouerie which I shall make of an Impropriation in Devon-shire setled vpon mee; by vertue of the Ordinance of Parliament formerly made for the benefit of such discoueries. [catchword: by this]

by this discourse being Confident of your Lordships affection I haue made bold to lay my self open that you should see the frame of my spirit without vaile & the posture wherin I must set my selfe If I should act any thing effectually towards the publicke; wherin I shall from time to time, desire to bee accountable in a speciall manner vnto your wisdome of all my proceedings as it becometh
                       Your Lordships most Affectionat
                          & faithfull Servant.
                             I. D.
[another hand:] Durie of his designes.