The Hartlib Papers

Title:Copy Letter In Hartlib'S Hand, Benjamin Worsley To William Petty
Dating:15 June [1649?]
Ref:8/50/1A-2B
Notes:MS edges are badly damaged.
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Dearest Mr Petty   Amsterdam Iun. 15/25. [1649.?]
    j received yours of the 18. of the last month and confesse [you? MS edge] could not seriously haue surprized mee in any thing more, or easily haue given mee greater cause, passionatly to loue you, then you haue in that generous offer of yours, to conjoine your endeauors with Mr Kalthofs, for the playing of the midwiues with the [sorts,?] or the Physitians to accelerat and make their births faire and vigorous, there being nothing amongst great or peeral witts, more frequent, tho nothing lesse manly, then æmulation, envy and detraction, with all the subtilties on both sides vsed, that may prevent the growing or spreading the others fame, and consequently nothing more rare or to bee admired then to find the contrary disposition. Your willingness therfore Sir to lay a [foundation? MS edge] of Vnion and friendship with him (to vse your owne words) hath much honoured you. Tho j am not to bee insensible also how much you wee willing to oblige mee in it, or of that [affection? MS edge] you were pleased to owne towards mee, in letting him see j had a friend in England able to accomodate mee, and in your readines ([so? MS edge] that) to assure my friend H. you would bee no way an [Impediment? MS edge] to mee in the West Indies. Sir none of those real exhibitions of my Soule, were consistent with a carelesne or indifferency about your Letter or its delivery: or could as j thought bee made good if j went not on purpose thither, which j did the last W. and happily (for hee was then going out of towne). Coming to him hee first asked mee whither j had not [receiued? MS edge] a Letter lately from him, and then pleasantly told mee, j had [reason? MS edge] to excuse him for not sending for mee; for the dutch boores when it was even made ready to goe, had in the night [sett? MS edge] fire and burnt downe all his Workes. Going afterward [into the? MS edge]
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parlour together hee broke open your Letter, and vpon the [Contents? MS edge] spoke truly what did become him of you, and of your sagacity and candor. But presently told mee, his Invention had nothing in it like to that of yours, as hee perceived you were strongly persuaded. And beginning to speake of your rare Art, and the Hypothesis of it, and that hee had spent some years on it (having taken notice of that merry christmas sport of making water, rise out of a pale into a bason by a lighted card) imediatly there came 2. or 3. Gentlemen to speake with him. Hee rising left the Letter open in my hand, and coming back told mee, it was almost impossible wee should bee long privat in his house, and therfore desired mee to goe to my lodging whither hee would within an houre or 2. come and spend the whole afternoone with mee. You may imagine Sir that this accident falling out Hee delivering the Letter open to mee himself entring to discourse largely and freely vpon it, and bidding mee goe to my owne lodging, j could not thinke it then, breach of freindship to any or of modesty to reade it, or (having so much time) to marke it and consider it. Or (seeing hee likewise professed to haue spent some years and made many numerous Experiments in the same Motion) if j were curious to aske him some Questions about it. Coming again to mee, hee began to tell mee hee first made (after the smaller Experriments) also a large Vessel as you did of Lead and striving to put nature to extremity, the sides also of the vessel fell in. After hee made ore somwhat stronger, and last of all one 6 foot every way, both broad and high of Copper, and so thicke [word missing? MS edge] the very mettal came to 6: or 700. lb. sterling which vessel was [word missing: MS edge] at the kings Charge, and both left at fox-hall and [soi-? MS edge]
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[.ed? then? MS edge] [words missing: MS torn] [was to raise? rest of line missing] best bee [do..? words missing] that which [wee mainly? MS torn] and [rest of line missing] in was for the [dreyning? MS torn] of Cole pits and [rest of line missing] selfe faile of, in raising the water so high and vpright, in the first way hee tried (to wit) by flame, as you haue done, hee began to consider a Way of raising it by strong heat, or ordinary fire applied about it (as j haue seene such a kind of Thermometer). Hee at last was found a Way, by putting a Pipe full of Water vpright, into a vessel closed with water (which hee Actually tried in his fore-said great Vessel) and applying fire (which hee did the most saving Way) to the bottome, that hee could make it run out with a constant spout 60. foot high; and this hee thought would very fitly bee proper for Coale-mines, seeing the Coales in the pit were cheape enough. All which hee had compleatly finished before our troubles, and expected a very good reward from the king. But hee falling into misfortune, Kalthof [durst? MS edge] doe nothing more or stir further about it, Coming over hither [and? MS edge] being spoiled by the Parliament on the one side, and loosing here a thousand lb. sterling (hee had in the West-India Companie) on the [other?] side, and having ever and anon in his thoughts, the advantage, that might bee made in raising of Water, Hee began to consider of some Ways, and how to make some trials, with lesse expence then formerly. At last hee fell vpon some thoughts, [and? MS edge] being in company with some English Gentlemen Merchants, Hee seasonably intimated some Conceptions hee had for raising of Water and dreyning. But was so low that hee was [vnwilling? altered?] at his owne charge to bring them into action; but that hee would beare his owne labour, if any one else, would beare the [rest? MS torn] of the Charge spent in trials and adventure. And so fell to [tellng? MS edge] mee the Hypothesis and Ground of his Invention (and [3 words illeg.: MS edge] and a partnership) and with that [pl..? MS edge] [vpon? MS edge]
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[top of MS torn] [words missing] make any [words missing] [objections?] [words missing] [satisfie?] mee And this chat [word missing] [beleeue?] Sir [last?] [words missing] [afterwards?] that wee might not too much tire ourselves, [on our?] subject, wee went to walke, and discoursed by the Way about Glasses Telescopes Things in Natural Philosophy and Chimistry, in all which hee seemed to haue as much pleasure and delight, as in any thing of his owne; and to expresse very great fauor and a high affection, to all sorts of knowing active witty and ingenuous men. The next day hee went out of Towne, and j writ as large a Letter as j then could to Mr H. of things in the general, which j desired him with my seruice and excuse to impart to you delivering it to the Post with my owne hand. I shal in the last place, subject to you some Scruples that fel in our Discourse about your busines. 1. whither that roome or Cisterne as you call it of 30. foot high and 20. foot broad every way, will not bee a 1000. times bigger, then that Cisterne you haue made your largest trial in? And consequently. 1. whether the Proportion of flame, must not bee accordingly, and whether the charge of this, will not bee very very considerable? 2ly In Motions of nature that so vary with circumstances, and haue in them plainly many things [irregular? MS edge] Whether wee can or are able to be positive in our affirmation, that what can [bee? MS edge] effected in such a proportion, shal haue the same effect in a proportion a 1000. times bigger. Or whether this can bee determined otherwise then by Actual [Experiences?] [3ly.? MS edge] Whether the smoake will not bee considerable to that greatnes of the flame and the Motion or Draught slow? 4ly. If this Cisterne so great bee not diuided into 2. Pipes, that the one run out, while the other draws. Whither this Motion will not bee hugely interrupted and stopped, and consequently in some applications vnserviceable? Sir Hee concluded with very much civility to you, and that hee should [not? MS edge] bee willing to displeasure you. But seeing hee had beene versed many years about your [<sà>?] Motion and vpon the same Ground and that in England Hee hoped, that hee not medling with yours, and having now an Invention wholly and altogether different from [yours? MS edge] yours; that if his, could with conveniency, bee applied to some Works, wherein that of your Motion, could not doe so well, or at least, not with so little charge, that you were so ingenuous, so much an Artist, and so much a Gentleman as not in the least to æmulate him, and in any thing else you had no reason to doubt him. Deare Sir this ful and exact account of things, j thought it became mee to give you and if there bee any thing else wherin my presence in these parts can [word missing: MS torn] you j shal beg the fauor of you to commend your faithful real friend
[words missing: MS torn] Worsley.