The Hartlib Papers

Title:Letter, Christopher Wren To Hartlib
Dating:26 February 1655
Ref:25/9/1A-2B: 1B, 2A BLANK
[25/9/1A]

       Honored Sir
   You haue by severall handes intimated your Desires to mee of having a particular Description of our Three-storied Beehive. I confesse I was not overforward to execute this Command of yours; and my Reason was because, the Devise not fully answering our own Expectation, I thought it would be much more unsatisfactory to you: but since you please to persist in your desires (as Mr Rawlinson told me the other day) I can be noe longer shamelesse to persist in my incivility, especially prompted by mine own Ambition, to find any way to shew my selfe a Servant to a Person soe eminent amongst the Ingeniosi as your selfe.
   The Description I thinke is evident enough in the paper; I shall only tell you what effects wee find. Last May (as I remember) wee put in two swarmes together, leaving the places to goe in, open only on the lowermost, but all the passage holes open from Box to Box: In the midlemost they first began their Combes then in the lowermost before they had filled the middlemost, & soe continued till they had filled both, which before they had quite finished, they began to make 2 litle Combes in the upper Box (all this while deserted) & continued besides, a part of a Combe of the middle story, an inch or 2 up into the upper box, filling all allmost the passage hole quite up, leaving themselves only a litle hole as big as 2 fingers might[altered] goe in, for their passage up & down: I am not very certain, wheither this was not done at first when they wrought in the middle Box, & wheither this was not the reason why they wrought soe litle in the upper[altered] box, because they stopped themselues up from an easy passage to it: The Combes in the lower storyes were well replenished with Hony & suddainly, but these litle Combes in the upper they quite desert, contrary to our Expectation, which was that they would haue wrought most in the upper story & the middlemost, in which when they had wrought enough for their owne spending that then wee might take away the uppermost from them, & soe haue continued still: but if we find another yeare, that they fill not again the uppermost; 'twill be all one still to take away the lowermost from them; but if that be soe then 2 hiues will be sufficient. Wee must rather Desire of you farther light on this businesse, which I presume you can afford us from other mens observations that haue tried the like experiment; for as yet you see ours is imperfect, & we know not what to make of it. Sir. I am
                    Your most obedient humble servant
                                    Chr: Wren
[left margin:]
All Soules Coll:
Feb: 26.
1654/5
[25/9/2B]

                          These
               For his much honored Freind
                       Mr Samuell
                         Hartlib
            at his house neere Charing Crosse
                                    London
[another hand:
     Wren ch]
[seal]