Trin. Coll. Cambr.
May 18 1669


Since in your letter you give mee so much liberty of spending my Judgment about wt may bee to yor advantage in travelling, I shall doe it more freely then perhaps would otherwise |have| beene decent. First therefore I will lay down some generall rules most of wch I beleve you have considered already; but if any of them bee new to you they may excuse ye rest, if none at all yet tis my punisment more in writing them then yors in reading ym.

When you come into any {illeg} fresh company, 1, observe their humours; 2 suit your own carriage thereto, by wch insinuation you will make their converse more free & open: 3 let your discours bee more in Quærys & doubtings yn peremptory assertions or disputings, it being y{illeg}|e| designe of Travellers to learne not teach; besides it will persuade yor ac{illeg}|qu|aintance yt you have the greater esteem of them & soe make ym more ready to communicate wt they know to you; whereas nothing sooner occasions disrespect & quarrells yn peremptorinesse. You will find little or noe advantage in seeming wiser \or much more ignorant/ yn yor company. 4, seldome discommend any thing though never so bad, or doe it but moderatly, least you bee unexpectedly forced to an unhansom retraction. Tis safer to commend any thing more then it deserves yn to discommend a thing so much as it deserves: a bad {illeg} {illeg} For commendantions {sic} meet not soe often wth oppositions or at least are not usually so ill resented by men if that think otherwise as discommendations. And you will insinuate into mens favour by nothing sooner then seeming to approve & commend wt they like; but beware of doing it by a comparison. 5 If you bee affronted, tis better in a forrain Country to passe it by in silence or wth a jest though wth some dishonour then to endeavour revenge; {illeg}|F|or in the first case yor credit's ne're the wors when you return into England or come into other company yt have not heard of the quarrell, but in the second case you may beare ye marks of ye quarrell while you live, if you out live it att all. But if you find yor self unavoydably engaged tis best, I think, if you can command your passion & language, to keep them {illeg}|pr|etty eavenly at ye some certain moderate pitch, not much heightning them to exasperate ye adversary \or provoke his freinds/ nor letting them grow overmuch dejected to make him insult. In a word if you can keep reason above passion, yt & watchfulnesse will bee yor best defendants. To wch purpose you may consider yt though such excuses {illeg}|a|s this [He provok't mee so much I could not forbeare] may passe amongst freinds yet amongst strangers they are insignificant & only argue a Travellers weaknesse.

To these I may ad some generall heads for inquirys or observations such as at present I can think on. As 1 to observe ye policys wealth & State affaires of nations so far as a solitary Traveller may conveniently doe. 2 Their impositions upon all sorts of People Trades or commoditys yt are remarp{illeg}|ke|able. 3 Their Laws & Customes how far they differ from ours. 4 Their Trades {illeg} & Arts wherin they excell or come short of us in England. 5 Such fortifications as you shall meet wth, their fashion strength & advantages for defe{illeg}|n|ce; & other such military affaires as{illeg} are considerable. 6 The power & respect belonging to their degrees of nobility or Magistracy. 7 Wh{illeg} you c{illeg} It will not bee time mispent to make a Catalogue of the names & excellencys of those men that are most wise learned or esteemed in any nation. 8 Observe ye Mechanisme & man̄er of guiding ships. 9 {illeg} Observe the products of nature in severall places especially in mines wth ye circumstances of mining & of extracting metalls or mineralls out of their oare and refining them and if you meet wth any transmutations out of one species into another (as out of Iron into Copper, out of any metall into quicksilver, out of one salt into another or into an insipid body &c) those above all <4v> others will bee worth yor noting being ye most luciferous & many times lucriferous experiments too in Philosophy. 10 The prizes of diet & other things. 11 & And the staple commoditys of Places.

These Generalls (such as at present I could think of) if they will serve for nothing else yet they may assist you in drawing up a Modell to regulate yor Travels by

As for particulars these yt follow are all yt I can \now/ think of, viz: Whither at Schemnitium in Hungary (where there are Mines of Gold, copper, Iron, vitrioll, Antimony, &c) they change Iron into Copper by dissolving it in a Vitriolate water wch they find in cavitys of rocks in the mines & then melting the slymy solution in a strong fire wch in ye cooling proves copper. The like is said to bee done in other places wch I cannot now remember. Perhaps too it may bee done in Italy; For about 20 or 30 years al|g|one there was a certain Vitriol came from thence (called Roman Vitrioll, but of a nobler vertue yn yt wch is now called by yt name) wch Vitrioll is \not/ now to bee gotten becaus perhaps they make a greater gain by some such trick as turning Iron into Copper wth it then by selling it. 2 Whither in {illeg}|H|ungary, Sclavonia, Bohemia neare ye town Eila, or at ye Mountains of Bohemia neare {illeg} Si{l}es{ia} there be rivers whose waters are impregnated wth gold; perhaps ye Gold being dissolved by som corrosive waters like Aqua Regis & ye solution carried along wth ye streame that runs through ye {illeg}|m|ines. And whither ye practise of laying mercury in the{illeg} rivers till it be tinged wth gold & then straining ye mercury through leather yt ye gold may stay behind, bee a secret yet or openly practised. 3 There is newly contrived in {illeg}|H|olland a mill to {illeg} grind glasses plane wth all & I think polishing them to{illeg}|o|, perhaps it will bee worth ye while to see it. 4 There is in Holland one — Bory, who some yeares since was imprisoned by the Pope to have extorted from him some secrets (as I am told) of great worth both as to medicine & profit, but hee escaped into Holland where they have granted him a guard. I think he us{illeg}|u|ally goes clothed in green pray enquire wt you can of him, & whither his ingenuity bee any profit to the {illeg}|D|utch. 5 You may inform your selfe whither ye Dutch have any tricks to keep their ships from being all worm eaten in the{illeg}|ir| v{illeg}|o|yages to ye {illeg}|I|ndys. Whither {illeg}|P|endulum clocks doe any service in finding out ye longitude &c. I am very {we}ary & shall not stayd to part wth a \long/ complement only I wish you a Good {illeg}|I|ourney & God bee wth you

Is Newton.

< insertion from lower down the page >

Pray let us heare from you in
yor Travells.
I have given yor 2 books to
D{sic} Arrowsmith.

< text from f 4v resumes >

© 2022 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

Privacy Statement

  • University of Oxford
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • JISC