The Hartlib Papers

Title:Copy Letter In Scribal Hand D, Benjamin Worsley To Hartlib?
Dating:20 October 1657
Ref:42/1/11A-12B: 12B BLANK
Notes:Further copies at 42/1/9 and 33/2/5.

          Dr Worsly's Physico-Astrological Letter
               Dublin October 20th. 1657.
I doe perceive by yours, that our vniversity Professors are resolved to stand to the Doctrines, & Tradition of their Fathers, without further doubt or question.
     I confesse, that Discourse is but a Letter & a Letter written in haste & cannot be conceived or in reference to the subject of it be expected, to bee Absolutely Apodicticall. And this I hope they themselves will grant, that even the Doctrine of the Sphære, the severall Hypotheses vsed & laid downe by them, to solve all the Motions of the Heavens & Planetts, are not all of them vndubitably demonstrable: nay are at the best, but things very Rationall & probable: and sure, there are some of those conjectures in that Discourse, that are not wholly improbable.
     But secondly, The Intention of that Discourse, is wholly mistaken, if they did suppose, it was meant to bee a positive proofe or assertion of the Planetts Influences, (:though that alsoe might have beene pardoned:) The Intention beeing only defensive; & to give soe many hints, as might make vs cautious of concluding ourselves, or the judgments of others, in an absolute negation & denyall, despising of any such vse of those bodyes: It was alsoe for further tryall demonstration & satisfaction [catchword: by]

by Experience, what that Influence was, & how it might bee better asserted, & freed from common ignorance & error.
   And I am sure to keepe mens mindes, Reason, & considerations awake, & to advise them against a rash Pedantisme, (:which is as truly exercised in a bold, stiffe, ignorant, confident denyall of a thing, as a bare affirming it:) I say, I thinke this was noe harme to any Man: nor any Barre, to the Advancement of Learning; although among ourselves bee it spoken, There may bee much more said then yet is, I say, much more said vpon that Subject, and soe much as they would hardly know, how to avoid or to keepe vp the Creditt of their Master Aristotle vnder it. For I may crave now leave to say, that I in some measure know the Doctrine of the Influence of those bodyes, to bee an antient, a great, a vsefull, a necessary, & a certaine truth, & such a Truth as without the comprehension & right vnderstanding of it, noe man shall ever vnderstand the Antient Philosophers, finde out their great secret, or Tincture, or the immediate matter of it, nor performe any thing considerable in Physicks.
   But if our Vniversity Men have yet noe clearer discernings of things, wee will let them hereafter alone for a while.   There is a time comming, and it may bee neere, which they little thinke off, wherein most of their present Learning, will [catchword: have]

have but a very little Repute or Authority left to them.
   I thanke you, for your soe great zeale, in desiring to transmitt it beyond Seas, & imploying Mercator in the Translation of it. But for as much as you know, there is reqvired in an exact Translator, an eqvall skill in the Propriety of both those Tongues, out of, or into which hee translates. Fore as much alsoe as I doubt Mercators exact knowledge in the phrase & propriety of the English Tongue, therefore before you doe send it over, I would be glad to peruse the translated copy of it myselfe.
   Of all Men, I know beyond Sea, I would willingly have the Opinion of our Friend, Hubner, of Iungius & of Hevelius. I know our Friend Mr. Iohn Sadler is able to add much, & indeed to say more to that Discourse, then any or most Men, if hee did but thinke good to doe it. And I could almost wish, yea very much desire, hee were at least tryed, what hee would say to it. It can bee noe harme to try him, both in that, & in the Probleme.
   But the first Discourse, receiving noe better entertainement that Probleme I sent you in my last, I therfore desire, may bee wholly suppressed, vnless it bee to Mr. Sadler, to Street, or Mr. Beale as I writt to you before; Or to Mr. Sparrow & Ashmole, but noe more to Oxford, for they doe not vnderstand it./.