Chapter Three: An Intelligencer's Ethos

'Man wird doch auch hiernegst nicht so sehr darauff sehen was fur eine Persohn einer auff dem Schawplaz dießer weltt agiret sondern wie Er dieselbe agirt und vertretten habe' ('It will not so much be asked hereafter what role a person played in the theatre of this world, but how he played and acted it') - Moriaen to Hartlib, 1 January 1658 (HP 31/18/1A).

Public and Private

Moriaen's correspondence with Hartlib cannot be described as personal or private. The notion of a 'private' or 'inner' life is a Romantic one which would have been largely incomprehensible to either man. The very notion of a private letter to Hartlib, indeed, was virtually a contradiction in terms. His surviving papers abound in requests to the addressee to show the contents to no one else, or even to burn the letter after reading it, all faithfully copied out in the hand of one or other of his scribes. If anything was delivered in confidence it was necessary to stress the fact, Moriaen's stock phrase being 'sed hæc pereant inter nos' ('but let these [words] perish between us') - not that Hartlib could be trusted even then to respect such commitments to secrecy.

This is not to condemn Hartlib as unscrupulous or deceitful. He saw it as his calling to disseminate information, and must frequently have experienced a conflict between such private injunctions to secrecy and a sense of duty to what he perceived as the common good. On the whole, he tended to favour public over private obligation. He deeply upset Dorothy Dury, for instance, by publishing her letter to Katherine Ranelagh explaining why she had decided to marry Dury.[1] George Starkey too was furious when the alchemical tract George Riplye's Epistle […] Unfolded, which he had confided to Hartlib, appeared in the Chymical, Medicinal, and Chyrurgical Addresses.[2] Anyone writing to Hartlib was well aware - or at least ought to have been - that he or she was addressing not an individual but potentially the whole intellectual community of Europe and even beyond.

Private disburdenment was not, therefore, the purpose of these letters. As many of Hartlib's correspondents were fond of remarking (often at paradoxical length), time was a precious commodity loaned by God to be devoted to the furtherance of His cause, not frittered away on personal anecdote. The main aim of Hartlib's and Moriaen's correspondence was either the coordination of projects, such as the promotion of Comenius, in which both men were involved, or the exchange of information; and in either case the material was intended to be made available to other involved or interested parties, not necessarily through publication. Among the projects discussed by the circle, some of the most eagerly pursued were those for shorthand writing, double or multiple writing machines, and processes for <76> making copies of letters automatically, to save the time and expense of copying longhand or employing scribes to do so. Hartlib was one of the century's most active promoters of 'scribal publication', the dissemination of tracts and letters in manuscript copy.[3] 'Scribal publication' is a good deal more difficult for later historians to trace and assess than printing, but was at least as important as a means of communicating new ideas and knowledge. The letters Moriaen wrote to Hartlib, and those that reached Hartlib by way of him, were all intended to be fed into this semi-public communication network.

The attitude is exemplified by Moriaen's remark that he had opened, read and made copies of some letters sent him for forwarding, and hoped Hartlib would not object to his taking this liberty.[4] Evidently Hartlib did not, since Moriaen later remarked very much as a matter of course that he had read a letter from Comenius to Hartlib that had passed through his hands.[5] When Worsley complained that Moriaen had not written to him for four months, Moriaen replied that he had not considered it necessary, since he had written to Hartlib and assumed Worsley would have been told all his news.[6] The substantial numbers of his letters that survive as scribal copies or translations prove that copies of these were indeed being passed round by Hartlib to interested friends and acquaintances. He specifically promised Winthrop, for instance, copies of some of Moriaen's letters,[7] and it was probably material from Moriaen that Hartlib referred to when in 1649 he sent Boyle 'the continuation of the respects from Amsterdam'.[8] Poleman acknowledged receipt of an extract from Moriaen and requested more.[9]

There was little room in all this for private opinion or personal anecdote except where it touched directly on more general and public issues. A certain amount slipped through, of course, for these people were not characterless automata, but it had to do so as it were by the back door. The public good could provide the justification for personal anecdote, as in a letter from Hartlib to Boyle about a new medicine, which begins: 'I am so out of love with my tormenting pains, that I have never a good will to mention them, but when they may be an occasion of ushering in some good communication or other, for the ease and health of many.'[10] In fact, Hartlib mentioned his 'tormenting pains' in very nearly every surviving letter of his last years.

Moriaen took exactly the same attitude to the relation of private sorrows and joys. Even the death of his daughter was mentioned only in the guise of an excuse for his failure to have made further progress with the collection for Comenius:

since my last it has pleased God to visit my only child with sickness and finally to call her from this world, which sickness, death and burial and the attendant business have kept me at home for some time and prevented me from making the progress hoped for.[11]

This is not to suggest he was unaffected by the event, but rather to illustrate how inappropriate he evidently felt it to dwell on so personal a misfortune. In fact, it was surely the delay in the collection that provided the excuse for relating the loss, rather than the loss that excused the delay in the collection.

It is, therefore, singularly difficult to form any clear picture of Moriaen as an individual. As to his physical appearance there is no evidence whatsoever. With regard to his beliefs, he was extremely reluctant to commit himself to an <77> opinion on any but the most concrete of matters. His character and personal qualities can be deduced only from odd stray comments, most of them far from specific, by his various acquaintances, and from reading conjecturally between the lines of his own letters.

There is much of the Reformed ethos of simplicity, moderation and self-control about his habits of thought and what little is known of his behaviour. He had no taste for opulence, either in his prose style or in his own or anyone else's personal habits. He was particularly critical of Kuffler's family (though he obviously had a vested interest in Kufflerian thrift), in which 'no one tries to make matters easier: they expect things to run as smoothly as they were accustomed to when times were easy'.[12] He spoke harshly of people of rank who misused learning for their 'lust and greed'.[13] He specifically commended Comenius's frugality in being prepared to live and work on the relatively modest sum of £100 a year.[14]

Like many of the circle, he was horrified by the immodest dress, loose language and spendthrift habits of Dury's notorious sister (her first name is not known), whose penchant for debt and scandalmongering made her - by their accounts at least - a sore trial to her brother, and still more to his spirited wife Dorothy, who went so far as to threaten to leave Dury if he could not persuade the sister to give up pursuing them around Europe demanding money and spreading gossip.[15] Moriaen's account of her visit to him - undertaken with a view to borrowing money - is a rare instance in his correspondence of graphic physical description, and as such is very revealing, of him at least as much as her. He enumerated in horrified detail her fine items of clothing, down to the materials and colours, and with a sharply puritanical eye singled out the detail of her wearing her hair loose. He was angered and distressed ('geärgert vnd betrubet') by the immodest spectacle.[16]

Only twice in all his surviving letters is there mention of his enjoying a sensual pleasure. One of these is music, the other the admiration of the natural world. A musical instrument he saw and heard in Nürnberg 'could so move me that not a drop of blood remained in its place'.[17] After the thaw following a particularly hard Dutch winter, he delighted to see the floodwaters recede and the earth reawaken: 'the lands that have lain so long wholly under water emerge now so green that it is a delight to behold; God make us thankful for his grace'.[18] Beyond these two impeccably pious examples there is not a single mention of the pleasures of the flesh. And its sufferings are given equally short shrift, though there is no doubt Moriaen experienced his full share of them. News of his incipient bladder stone, for instance, was accompanied only by the stoically fatalistic observation that the pain was 'not yet unbearable'.[19] He was also, apparently, afflicted with incurable halitosis: 'Mor. hath a stinking breath not beene able with all his Arts to cure himself of that'.[20]

Bad breath notwithstanding, he seems to have been exceptionally well-liked. In a correspondence rich in the abrasive personal attacks so frequently indulged in during the period, it is striking that no one at all has a bad word to say about him, while his friendliness, generosity and trustworthiness excited frequent comment. The Scots scholar William Hamilton found him 'a very learned man, & an humble & cowrteous spirit; & one, whom I much esteeme'.[21] It should be said that when Hamilton wrote this, he had a vested interest in flattering Moriaen, through whom he thought he might be helped to a post at Franeker University.[22] The purpose of his letter was to ask Hartlib <78> for a letter of recommendation to him. But others wrote in similar terms without there being any possibility of an ulterior motive. Comenius's son-in-law Petr Figulus knew him to be 'an honest & good man'.[23] Johannes Brun judged him 'a friendly and upright man, whose company is a pleasure, so far as I can tell'.[24] John Sadler expressly thanked Hartlib for putting him in contact with various friends including 'mr Morian; with whom I am never weary'.[25] Friedrich Kretschmar described him as 'a very respectable, Godfearing and unworldly man, also cheerful and communicative'.[26] Hartlib wrote of him to Winthrop as 'a man of a lovely spirit and a true nathaniel in the main',[27] and Winthrop in turn was delighted to hear good news about 'that honest worthy true Nathaniell as you are pleased rightly to terme him'.[28] Haak's heartfelt lament to the same addressee over the death of 'that dear & worthy frend of ours […] whom I had so great a Desire to have seen once more' has already been cited.

Even the acerbic Joachim Poleman, whose letters abound in poison-pen-portraits of a wide variety of individuals and who found fault with almost everyone he encountered, accused Moriaen of nothing worse than gullibility, principally on the grounds of his association with Glauber and others of Poleman's pet hates:

It may well be that Herr Moriaen is in possession of more true philosophy than he himself realises, but if such philosophy were a part of Herr Moriaen's own knowledge, it would not be possible for Glauber to dupe him, but it may well be that he has very important pieces of knowledge among the writings he owns.[29]

Coming from Poleman, such mild and morally neutral criticism virtually amounts to a testimonial. Poleman was not alone in seeing Moriaen as credulous: Worsley apparently passed similar judgment, and Moriaen himself - especially after he had lost all his money - did not deny it:

Mr Worsley judges rightly of me, it is my lack and my failing that I believe too readily and entrust myself to others, and it is this that has ruined me, otherwise I should now stand in need of no one. I have ever striven rather after the harmlessness of the dove than the wisdom of the serpent, which was not given me.[30]

This may ring more than a trifle sanctimonious to modern ears, but there is much evidence to suggest it is no more than the truth.

If he was little criticised by others in the circle, he in turn was singularly slow to chide. Though not afraid to speak his mind, he nearly always did so politely. As will be discussed in more detail, he was forthright in his criticisms of various members of the circle, including Hartlib himself, when he thought such criticism necessary. But his strictures were delivered in very measured, reasonable terms, as friendly admonitions rather than personal attacks. His comments on another man's work could equally well be seen as a characterisation of his own approach. Approving Hübner's harsh but on the whole objective (and certainly never ad hominem) criticisms of Comenius's Didactica magna (Great Didactic),[31] he asserted, 'it is altogether advisable and necessary that everything be most diligently examined and criticised privately and among <79> friends before it is brought to light and made public'.[32]

It was only those he saw as working actively against the common good who roused his real ire. Given his generally placid and charitable disposition, it is almost startling to find him sharing the blood-lust against Strafford and Laud that gripped England in 1640 and 1641.[33] It would be as well to finish Strafford off quickly, he observed, in a rare excursion into realpolitik, or he would wriggle out of the net and it would have been better not to have tried him in the first place.[34] He saw Laud and Strafford as the men who had caused a schism between the King and his people - separated the head from the body, as Moriaen himself put it with unintentional prescient irony.[35] Laud, moreover, had actively obstructed the collections for the Palatinate, as Hartlib was to testify at the former's trial. Moriaen observed soon after Laud's arrest that he found it hard to believe there were still some in England who believed the Archbishop would be vindicated as a good patriot, the implication being that in Moriaen's eyes he was an obvious traitor.[36] Whether he saw that treachery as lying in Laud's supposed attempt to Romanise the Church of England or in more specific political manoeuvres is uncertain, but he certainly thought it merited the death penalty. Sending Hartlib a cipher by which he might convey politically sensitive information, Moriaen proposed, as a slightly macabre illustration of how it might be used, a sample encodement of the message 'episcopus morietur' ('the bishop is to die').[37]

The other abuse of power that completely outstepped the wide bounds of Moriaen's tolerance was the misapplication of alchemical wisdom. The note of grim satisfaction in a well-merited death is struck again in his bitter remark on the French alchemist Pierre Jean Fabré, 'If Fabré in France is dead, there is one deceiver less in the world'.[38] Fabré is not mentioned elsewhere in Moriaen's correspondence, and quite what he was supposed to have done to deserve such a caustic epitaph remains a mystery. There is little doubt, however, that the charge related to abuse of his art. There is a distinct sense in a great many writers of the group that alchemical enlightenment constituted a divinely-inspired insight into Creation quite as sacrosanct as any understanding of Scripture, so that any wilful misrepresentation or abuse of such knowledge was tantamount to heresy.

The New England alchemist George Starkey (or Stirk) (1628-1665), who introduced himself to Moriaen in May 1651,[39] and corresponded with him for an uncertain period thereafter, became the object of one of Moriaen's harshest denunciations after he lost his credit with the group. When he first reached England in the late 1640s, Starkey made a profound impression on many of the circle, including Boyle, with whom he worked as assistant-cum-collaborator from at least 1651 till 1652. However, a deep disillusionment with Starkey set in in 1654. The alchemist, despite his ability to turn antimony into silver and iron into gold (feats of which Dury was an eye witness[40]), twice found himself in gaol for debt, and Hartlib wrote indignantly to Boyle that 'he is altogether degenerated, and hath, in a manner, undone himself and his family. […] He hath always concealed his rotten condition from us'.[41] Hartlib was not a man to despise anyone for having run into debt: it was the deceit that angered him, and his unaccustomed vehemence suggests that he bore other grudges too, not specified in the letter. It is typical of him, however, that he did not entirely despair of the American, and concluded the report, with an aptly chemical metaphor, 'When God hath brought you over <80> again [Boyle was in Ireland at the time], we shall leave him altogether to your test, to try whether yet any good metal be left in him or not'.[42]

Reacting probably to comment of this sort from Hartlib, Moriaen denounced the American in no uncertain terms, hinting this time not just at false claims but at positively nefarious use of his undisputed gifts:

It is a crying shame that the man does not better apply his understanding to good rather than evil, but that is the way of almost all such quick wits; they prefer to devote themselves to vanity rather than to pursue good works, while others who would gladly do so are not gifted with so much understanding.[43]

It is tempting to speculate that among these unfortunate souls whose good intentions are not matched by their gifts, Moriaen had himself in mind. But if to be principled and ungifted was a misfortune, to be gifted and unprincipled was a sin, and the force of this condemnation should not be underestimated. Moriaen was not a man to use the word 'evil' ('böße') lightly, and this passage represents not just disapproval but deep moral outrage.

Perhaps Moriaen's greatest disappointment in this respect was Clodius, a disappointment compounded no doubt by Moriaen's being at least partially responsible for his introduction to the circle and indeed his inclusion in Hartlib's family. Even from the first, the generally favourable impression made by Clodius was not universally shared. John Evelyn later described him, apparently with some justification, as 'a profess'd adeptus, who by the same methodus mendichandi [practice of lying] and pretence of extraordinary arcana, insinuated himselfe into the acquaintance of his father-in-law'.[44] It was not long after his arrival in England that Clodius's behaviour began to upset and offend his old patron. His high-handed and transparently duplicitous response to the publicity for Kuffler's ovens has already been described. This, however, was only the beginning of Moriaen's disillusionment.

Clodius repeatedly failed to reply to Moriaen's letters, and particularly to his requests for details of medicinal recipes and alchemical processes which Moriaen clearly saw as just return for similar secrets passed on by him to Clodius. This elicited many bitter complaints from the older man. Worst of all, Clodius neglected to put his skill in chemical medicine (of which few seem to have been in any doubt) at the disposal of his ailing father-in-law.[45] Indeed, at the beginning of 1658, he and his family moved out of the Hartlib household altogether. The reasons for this break-up of the family remain unknown, but there is an unmistakeable sense of disillusion in the cryptic account of the move Hartlib sent to Boyle: 'to my very great perplexity, Clodius is again in such a labyrinth, that he will be forced to break his ovens, and to remove to another house, which also is a new kind of undoing of him'.[46] (Whether the elder Mary Hartlib took any consolation in having her kitchen restored to her goes unrecorded.)

Hartlib implied in the same letter that his son-in-law's departure meant he would have no more access to a medicine for the stone which Clodius had been preparing for him according to a recipe sent by Friedrich Kretschmar, which Hartlib considered the best he had ever tried. Again in April or May 1659, Hartlib told Boyle that 'my son [i.e. son-in-law] might have prepared <81> Ludus Helmontii for me before this time, but he wants bowels'.[47] Later, he sent a recipe for a 'water against the stone', hoping Boyle would tell his assistant Peter Stahl to 'make a good quantity for yourself and the poor, and to let me also be partaker of it. Really, Sir, next to the ludus Helmontii I have found it the best medicine. There is no trusting to Clodius for it'.[48] Moriaen was furious with Clodius for this neglect of Hartlib. Like Starkey, he was failing to accept the responsibility that a gift from God entailed, and using it for personal advantage instead of rendering it back to the donor through service of his fellow man. The sense of such a responsibility lay at the heart of the ethos of Reformed intelligencers such as Moriaen, and his letters vividly demonstrate how central that ethos was to their perception and projection of themselves.

'Without Partialitie': the Irenic Ideal

There can be no question of Moriaen's piety. The manner of its expression, since he was entirely ungraced by the literary flair of a Boehme or a Bunyan, can at times come across misleadingly as smug or sanctimonious. He was much given - more and more so as he grew older - to long and often repetitious disquisitions on divine providence and the importance of abject submission to the will of God. While these may tax the patience of the modern reader, they were an essential part of a Reformed thinker's mind set, providing genuine comfort in the face of adversity and reassurance that there was a point to all his undertakings, whether successful or not. The same formulae recur over and again, like a litany, particularly with regard to his own and even more so to Hartlib's medical tribulations. It seems likely Hartlib found real solace in such effusions. He thought it worth abstracting a similar burst of pious platitudes from a letter of Poleman and noting it, in his own hand, under the heading 'Pietas Polmaniana'.[49]

Moriaen's orthodoxy in doctrinal terms is, however, much more in doubt, whichever brand of 'orthodoxy' one cares to look for. It is not that he was given to unorthodox pronouncements, rather that he was conspicuously not given to orthodox ones. His pious outbursts remain so firmly within the realm of generalisation, and so thoroughly avoid even the implicit invocation of any particular doctrine, that few of them, taken out of context, could be viewed as evidence of commitment to anything more specific than monotheism, let alone to any Christian sect.

I do not wish to suggest that the Enlightenment deism of figures such as Voltaire had sprung fully-fledged into being a century early in the mind of this unassuming amateur natural philosopher. Moriaen undoubtedly regarded himself as a Christian, and the almost complete lack of reference in his letters either to Christ himself or to Christianity as a world-view merely reflects the fact that he took them as so self-evident as not to be worth mentioning. What is significant, and is in striking contrast to the majority of writers of his period, is his discreet but steadfast eschewal of assent to any particular understanding of the nature of Christ and his teaching. Though it was the ostensible view of all in the Evangelical camp that the whole truth was contained in the Scriptures and no other foundation was required for true faith, in practice, most found themselves repeatedly obliged to clarify or <82> elaborate on the pronouncements of Christ for the benefit of less 'spiritual men' who had managed to misinterpret them - whether at the most refined theological level or simply in respect of day-to-day behaviour. The distinctive feature of Moriaen's writing is that he quotes the Bible, or at least refers to God and his word, in virtually every surviving letter, but without a single trace of exegesis.

If he was recognisably the product of a Calvinist upbringing, it is clear that, at least by the beginning of his surviving correspondence (for it would be rash to assume his opinions were consistent throughout his life), he troubled himself little about the finer points of Calvinist doctrine. Two of Moriaen's closest friends in the ministry, Justinus van Assche and Petrus Serrarius, were excommunicated for their unorthodoxy, Serrarius temporarily, van Assche, it seems, permanently. There is not the least sign that Moriaen thought any the less of either of them for this. When Serrarius applied to be accepted back into the fold at the beginning of 1637, Moriaen wrote to van Assche, 'I wish Mr Serrarius a better success than I can well hope for, partiality being all too great nowadays'.[50] As is evident from the terms of this gloomy (as things turned out, unduly gloomy) prognostication, Moriaen thought not that Serrarius was too intransigent to deserve readmission, but that the Church was too intransigent to readmit him.

The fact that Moriaen was for several years a minister of the Reformed Church - and not just occupying a comfortable living, but undergoing constant personal danger for what can have been at best a paltry material reward - should not be seen in any sense as evidence of wholehearted assent to the finer points of that Church's teaching. Of the hundreds of 'enthusiasts' whose supposedly extravagant and misguided opinions caused so many headaches for both the Lutheran and the Calvinist authorities of Germany as well as the Anglican ones in this country, a great many were ordained ministers. I do not mean to suggest that Moriaen was himself such an 'enthusiastic' preacher: on the contrary, all the evidence suggests he had no doctrinal tub whatsoever to thump. My point is merely that the fact of his ministerial calling gives no more than a very broad indication of what his beliefs were. And I would suggest that, in later life at least, he distanced himself from all doctrinal details, including those his ostensible church deemed fundamental, to a degree that amounts to unorthodoxy by default.

Neither Calvin's name nor any derivation of it is mentioned in his extant writings (with one exception, where he is quoting someone else[51]). But this does not in itself reflect any rejection of Calvin's views. On the contrary, Calvin had never set himself up as the founder of a sect (any more than Luther), and would himself have thoroughly disapproved of the term 'Calvinist'. Insofar as Moriaen was of the Reformed faith, it was not in its respect for but on the contrary its rejection of any merely human authority in matters of religion.

This is precisely the charge laid against the Lutherans among whom he had grown up in the one surviving letter in which Moriaen commented on the validity of any particular church's teaching. His remarks on Lutheranism confirm that he disapproved not so much of this sect in particular as of sectarianism per se. The great fault of Lutherans, in his eyes, was that implicit in their name: that they had set up an individual human being as arbiter of matters beyond human jurisdiction, ascribing to him an authority he had <83> never claimed for himself, and 'taken this man's every utterance for pure Gospel'.[52] He cited the faithful noting down of Luther's Table Talk in all its notorious vulgarity as a prime example of this inappropriate (if not positively idolatrous) excess of respect for an individual human authority. But Moriaen characteristically went out of his way to absolve Luther himself of the errors committed in his name: 'the blame for which, however, is not so much to be laid on Luther as on those who unthinkingly take his every word for pure holy writ'.[53] Luther had only aspired to be the translator and broadcaster of the sacred word, or a commentator upon it, not its author. Though Moriaen was fairly disparaging about the Table Talk itself, he maintained a discreet silence with regard to his views on Luther's more serious theological work - or, for that matter, anyone else's.

Van der Wall summarises well the attitude of Serrarius and intimates such as Moriaen and van Assche: 'Impartial, catholic, universal: these are the key words by which they expressed their ideal of Christianity'.[54] ('Impartial', at least in its modern sense, is less than satisfactory as a translation of either the Dutch 'onpartijdig' or the German 'unparteilich' (older German 'unparteiisch'), but there is no modern English word that will do. There is a sense not only of disinterested standing back from overt espousal of any camp, but also of disapproval of the existence of such camps in the first place. This is the sense of 'impartial' as it was used by Dury and other irenicists and the one in which it will be used here in characterising Moriaen's ideas.) 'Unparteiisch' was one of Moriaen's highest commendations of a group or an individual, and its opposite, 'parteiisch', by the same token one of his sternest criticisms.

His one initial objection to Bisterfeld was, 'He is still rather too much given over to partiality'.[55] Hugely impressed by the writings of Hübner, he declared: 'this bespeaks a penetrating and profoundly understanding spirit, and, which to me is the most important, one free from partiality and thirsting only after truth',[56] and again in almost the same words, 'I already sense remarkable gifts in this man, and, which delights me above all, a free and impartial spirit'.[57] He similarly recommended the (unnamed) bearer of one early letter as 'an upright and impartial lover of truth whose company is a pleasure'.[58] It was perhaps part of the appeal of Comenius that he belonged to a church (the Unitas Fratrum - 'Unity of Brethren', sometimes known, inaccurately, as the Bohemian Brethren[59]) that acknowledged neither Luther nor Calvin as its founder but respected both, while its acknowledged father figure Jan Hus was in turn respected by the adherents of both main branches of Western European Evangelicism. One of the things that most distressed Moriaen about Comenius was, conversely, his addiction to doctrinal debate and personal polemic. Even the refutation of as unorthodox a figure as Felgenhauer seemed to Moriaen counter-productive, liable to alienate in advance a portion of the potential audience for Pansophy, the universal wisdom to which all humankind might acquiesce: 'this takes up much of his time and renders him partial in the eyes of many'.[60] Advising in similar terms against Comenius's becoming embroiled in controversy with opponents of Pansophy, Moriaen urged a course which Comenius certainly never followed, but which does provide quite a good description of Moriaen's own approach in his correspondence:


My advice, in my simplicity, would be that, given such diversity of sects and opinions, one should keep oneself disinterested and impartial as far and for as long as possible, keeping to generalities and not entering into particulars.[61]

This conscious and conspicuous standing back from controversy about doctrinal niceties is a consistent feature of Moriaen's approach to religion from his earliest surviving letters to his last. Like Dury, he was convinced that the 'incidentals' of faith were of little significance, provided a community could be formed on the basis of 'fundamentals'. Dury too had a marked liking for the word 'impartial' (or, as he more often wrote, 'unpartiall').[62] So thorough was Moriaen's eschewal of comment on potentially divisive 'incidentals' that it is virtually impossible to deduce what he did regard as fundamental, beyond the idea that there is one Supreme Being whose will is discernible in the Bible and the natural world, and that it behoves mankind to acquiesce unreservedly in that will.

Very revealing of his attitudes is his reaction to the report that his and Hartlib's mutual friend Johannes Brun (better known by his pseudonym 'Unmüssig', i.e. 'diligent') had fallen prey to atheism, the spectre that so haunted the experimental scientists of the seventeenth century. Brun was a Paracelsian physician who, after an itinerant youth during which he was for a time employed (and, he claimed, cheated) by Prince Rakóczi of Transylvania,[63] and also spent some time in Turkey, joined the influx of European projectors and scientists to England from 1648 on. He bore a recommendation from Rulice and soon made friends with Hartlib:[64] he appears with considerable frequency as a source of information and commentary on medical and chemical matters in the Ephemerides of 1648 onwards. He later moved to Ireland, which is where he allegedly fell into atheism.[65]

Moriaen's first response to the news was appropriate horror - 'it fairly staggered me'[66] - but he immediately followed this by making the crucial semantic distinction so rarely formulated at the period: was this atheism in the strict sense - that is to say a rejection of the existence of any god of any kind - or denial of the 'correct' understanding of such a being?

The looseness with which the term 'atheism' was so widely used at the time should not lead us to underrate the seriousness with which the charge was laid. If 'atheism' tended not to mean knowing no god but having a false impression of God, that did not make it any less worrying and dangerous an error.[67] For the majority of believers, of whatever brand, to misunderstand God's nature was tantamount to denying His existence, if not worse. To most people at this period, the idea that there was no divinity at all was such manifest nonsense that it barely called for refutation. A distorted image, however, was likely to be far more seductive to those insufficiently strong in the faith (whichever faith). Hence, the vast majority of attacks on 'atheism' address not denials but misconceptions of God. Such misconceptions could refer to any number of the divine attributes: to the Trinity, to God's providential scheme and activity in the world, to his nature while on earth in person, to transubstantiation or consubstantiation at communion, and so on ad infinitum.

Moriaen, however, explicitly distanced himself from this etymological inexactitude in <85> a manner that has important implications for an assessment of his own views. He wanted to know of the charge against Brun 'whether it is atheism in the strict sense or a rejection of Holy Scripture'.[68] A clear distinction is drawn here between the rejection of god as a concept and the rejection of a particular conception of God. While it is not stated in so many words that the latter error is less serious than the former, the implication is barely veiled. The sentence almost demands to be read '… or only a rejection …'.

This is followed by a suggestion for guiding Brun back onto the true path: 'Herr Boreel customarily argues against atheists by the light of Nature, and convinces them by it both that there is a God and that Scripture is his word'[69]. But if this is a recommendation of Adam Boreel's philosophy - and it can hardly be seen as anything else - Moriaen was selecting an authority peculiarly unacceptable to any established church of the day. Boreel, who has already been encountered in the context of his studies of Judaism, was the founder of the Collegiants, a group which was virtually by definition unorthodox. The Collegiant position was that any human mediation between God's word and mankind was a corruption of it. They accepted no church and recognised no form of preaching beyond the unadorned reading of the Bible. God, they maintained, had already said what he meant and did not need mortals to clarify it. To attempt to explain his message was to pervert it.[70]

Indeed, if Moriaen's account of Boreel's attitude is accurate, his views were even more radical than this. It was generally accepted as a given, within all the Evangelical camps, that Scripture is true. There remained endless scope for dispute on how to interpret it, but that fundamental point was taken as read. This is the starting point, for instance, of Dury's Analysis demonstrativa.[71] Dury's aim in this work was to establish a method of Scriptural analysis that would be acceptable to all sides, so that having applied it, all sides might concur on the unambiguous interpretation it would yield. Though there is much discussion in the tract of undeniable first principles on which the edifice of interpretation can be founded, the initial assumption that what Scripture is found to mean once it has been interpreted aright must necessarily be true is taken as so self-evident that it is not even mentioned. Here, however, we have Boreel (as reported by Moriaen) considering that this tenet itself needs to be proven - as does God's very existence. Particularly interesting is that he is said to have set out to do so 'by the light of nature'. This supplies an interesting counterpart to Descartes' more famous crisis of faith. Descartes' solution to mounting uncertainty about the nature of knowledge was to take his own intellect as the given, and to found his whole inductive logic on the first principle of cogito ergo sum. Those hailing from the Evangelical wing who fell prey to similar doubts tended to rely less on their rational faculties for reassurance, and to depend rather on the evidence of their senses, as illuminated by a blend of personal spiritual enlightenment with practical observation.

Regrettably, Moriaen made no attempt to explain how Boreel purported to demonstrate the existence of God and the divine provenance of the Scriptures 'by the light of Nature'. But such a strategy represents a bold assertion of the primacy of enlightened observation and demonstration over doctrine and faith. For there was developing at this period an unsettling sense that these two camps were in opposition. Thomas Browne regarded such conflict as an opportunity for salutary exercise in subjugating reason and sense perception to <86> faith: 'thus I teach my haggard and unreclaimed reason to stoope unto the lure of faith […] this I think is no vulgar part of faith to believe a thing not only above, but contrary to reason, and against the arguments of our proper senses'.[72] Boreel's approach, to be sure, denies such a conflict: on the contrary, faith, reason and the senses are portrayed as pointing all to the same conclusion. But it is not Scripture that confirms the accuracy of observation, it is observation that confirms the validity of Scripture. This shift in priorities was viewed with alarm by more conservative thinkers, and with good reason. For if 'haggard and unreclaimed reason' refused to stoop, what would happen when human faculties misguidedly pointed to a conclusion that, instead of confirming Scripture, flatly contradicted the divinely vouchsafed truths?

Moriaen, however, seems to have had no such difficulties. He was himself throughout his life a tireless investigator of nature and an equally tireless quoter of Scripture. The latter habit was of course second nature to a trained Protestant preacher, though the Scriptural references became if anything more numerous as the years went by and the days of his active service in the Church receded into the past. But nowhere in his surviving correspondence - not even when he was commenting on specifically theological tracts - is there any remark whatsoever about any given Scriptural interpretation. One almost gains the impression that Moriaen did not bother his head unduly about the precise meaning of God's word, that being assured in general terms of the covenant between his Creator and himself and of the duties it imposed on and reassurances it offered him, he was content to go through this life at least suspending judgment on the finer details.

This apparent indifference to doctrinal issues may of course merely have been a stance adopted in the interests of avoiding discord and of promoting his ideal of a Church unity based on tolerance and latitudinarianism. There can be no knowing what inner debates he kept to himself. But the fact that he advocated the use of non-Christian texts as supporting evidence of religious belief, and that he saw the validity of Scripture as being endorsed by empirical evidence rather than vice versa, strongly suggests an anti-literalist stance, an acceptance that the sacred texts were true according to the spirit rather than the letter, and a willingness to modify the understanding of them on the basis of non-Scriptural evidence.

Given his milieu, it is particularly striking that he never commented, so far as the surviving letters reveal, on the millenarian speculations and prophecies that were so eagerly discussed in Hartlib's circle and that have been depicted (I think correctly) as an important motive force driving its three great proposed reforms: Comenius's of education, Dury's of the church and Hartlib's of knowledge. But without overtly espousing such notions, he did, just occasionally, himself strike a revelatory note reminiscent of the millenarians and chiliasts with whom he was so familiar. The apocalyptic flavour of his comments on the gathering political crisis in England at the beginning of the 1640s has already been noted. In an alchemical letter to van Assche, he directly related the Paracelsian prophecy of an unveiling to all men of the hidden secrets of Nature to the visions of Revelation: 'we expect, according to His will, not only a new Heaven but also a new earth in which redemption shall dwell'.[73] In other letters too he spoke explicitly of anticipating a 'Dawn of Wisdom'.[74] The nearest he came to an overtly millennial statement was in his comments on the plans Hartlib was promoting in the 1650s for a universal <87> language that would undo the curse of Babel:[75]

it is to be hoped that the time has come, or is not far off, when not only shall we be able to write to and understand one another in a common script, but shall learn to acknowledge, praise and glorify God with one voice, in the day of the revelation of the Son of Man.[76]

One of Moriaen's favourite platitudes was 'time will reveal all' ('die zeit wird alles offenbahren') - neatly encapsulating both the confident expectation that all will be revealed and the modest acceptance that it has not been revealed yet. While this is generally used with regard to relatively mundane matters rather than to God's broader purposes, a man of his background and training could hardly use the word 'reveal' without at least half-conscious reference to the last book of the Bible.[77] This suggests again a willingness to dispense with certainties about specific details, to suspend judgment on exactly how and when the prophecy would be fulfilled until the event itself should reveal it.

Comenius was explicit about the millenarian impulse behind his work, as was Dury (though he became more sceptical about the subject after Christ's expected reappearance in the 1650s failed to occur). Moriaen's friend Serrarius was an utterly committed chiliast. Hartlib is frequently assumed to have shared such views, though in fact concrete evidence of Hartlib's personal opinions is almost as scanty as that of Moriaen's. He certainly took a lively interest in the discussion, and encouraged or sponsored publication of the apocalyptic speculations of John Stoughton, Joseph Mede and Francis Potter ('the 666. divine', as Hartlib called him with probably unintentional humour[78]), but this should not be taken as wholehearted assent to their opinions.[79] It is not justifiable to assume that Hartlib unqualifiedly agreed with whatever he had a hand in printing or publishing: his aim was to promote discussion rather than to promote any one school of thought. It is nonetheless clear that these men moved in circles where millenarianism was a burning issue, and if Hartlib's acquaintance with Stoughton and Potter, or Moriaen's with Serrarius, is no proof that they accepted their views, it is clear they did not object to them and virtually inconceivable that they were wholly untouched by them.

Uncertain as Moriaen's private views on pretty well any specific point of Christian doctrine must remain, what does emerge quite unequivocally from his correspondence is that he did not wish to impose those views on anyone else. He repeatedly stressed his advocacy of freedom of conscience, and as has already been noted it was precisely that freedom that most appealed to him about the United Provinces.

His comments on the views of Paul Felgenhauer, for instance, are strikingly non-committal. Though Felgenhauer disagreed violently with Boreel, and accused him of Socinianism,[80] their attitudes to organised religion were in many respects very similar. Felgenhauer too rejected every form of established church. He was particularly scathing about the Lutheran faith in which he had grown up as the son of a pastor, but his scorn was spread liberally across the whole spectrum of Christian confessionalisation. Felgenhauer, like Boehme, maintained that Christ had come to save the entire human race, Jews, Moslems and heathens not excepted, let alone Christians of any specific denomination. His views on the nature of Christ were perhaps <88> the most notorious element in what was one of the century's more notorious unorthodoxies. He vehemently denied the doctrine that Christ had literally become human, for Christ was God, and it was inconceivable that the Creator should become a creature. Christ was indeed the word of God made flesh, but this was a spiritual flesh wholly distinct from the perishable flesh inhabited by mortals. By the same token, the Lutheran idea of consubstantiation at Communion was as absurd, in Felgenhauer's eyes, as the Catholic notion of transubstantiation. Christ, as a partaker of the divine nature, could not possibly be constituted in perishable matter, be it wafers, bread or human flesh. He had taken on human form but never human substance.

The fact that, in what was effectively a semi-public account of such a heresy, Moriaen made not the slightest attempt to distance himself from it is in itself a statement of sorts, especially given that he knew very well the account was likely to be copied out and distributed. His reports state merely the opinion Felgenhauer held and the fact that he had been arrested for it.[81] There would be no justification for reading this as agreement with or support for Felgenhauer's views, but it can surely be seen as a tacit declaration that the man was entitled to his opinion. Moriaen had earlier been very keen to obtain a copy of Comenius's refutation of Felgenhauer, which he received in late 1640 and subsequently passed on to Hartlib,[82] but here again he gave not the least hint as to which side of the controversy he favoured, or indeed as to whether his own mind was made up on the subject. His only comment on Comenius's work was that he was sorry to see him engaging publicly in polemics.[83]

He had been more explicit in condemning the prescriptive attitude of the Hamburg school authorities to Joachim Jungius's Logica Hamburgensis.[84] Jungius was rector of Hamburg gymnasium, a linguist and natural scientist of considerable distinction, and an innovative educationalist who took a keen interest in the Pansophic project of Comenius backed by Hartlib and Moriaen. The Logica Hamburgensis was commissioned as a standard up-to-date school text on logical method, but while still in preparation it fell foul of the authorities for being altogether too up-to-date in its criticisms of and diversions from Aristotle. It was not, to be sure, suspected of being anywhere near as controversial as Felgenhauer's work; but on the other hand, it was a commissioned text-book for use in schools, and the school authorities did not want to see their wards steered too far from the traditional educational ethos that still regarded Aristotle (or medieval and Renaissance interpretations of him) as the highest authority in secular matters.

Exactly how much of the text Jungius reworked to comply with their specifications cannot now be ascertained, but one of Jungius's students put it about that the work was called Logica Hamburgensis because it represented Hamburg's idea of logic, not Jungius's.[85] Moriaen's letters lend weight to this by retailing exactly the same story, with another acquaintance of Jungius, Johannes Tanckmar, as the source: '[Jungius] says of his Logic, "It is not my Logic but the Hamburg schoolmen's," for they have prescribed to him how they wish to have it'.[86] Moriaen deemed it 'a crying shame both for him and for us that Herr Jungius, because of the intransigence of those among whom he lives, must rein in his spirit and cannot express it freely'[87]. It appears there was talk of Jungius's obtaining a university post at Amsterdam, <89> and Moriaen was extremely keen for him to take this up, that he might have liberty to apply his brain as he saw fit.[88] In the event, however, nothing came of the idea.

Worse still, in Moriaen's eyes, was the attitude of the Unitas Fratrum to the controversy engendered when Hieronim Broniewski, a lay elder of the Unity, denounced Comenius's pansophic work as an unseemly blend of divine and human wisdom. Comenius was called before Synods of the Unity in August 1638 and March 1639 to defend his stance, and though the outcome was far from being a vindication of Broniewski, it still entailed much more of a circumscription of Comenius's activities than Moriaen thought reasonable. Though he was given official sanction to proceed with his pansophic studies, this was with the rider that he should publish nothing without first submitting it to the Synod and receiving their approval. Moriaen was immediately concerned that Comenius would be driven, like Jungius (he drew the comparison explicitly), to commit himself to a doctrinal camp, compromising the treasured ideal of impartiality: 'the freedom to write the truth as he perceives it with his own heart and soul is thereby taken from him; he will be forced to commit himself to a party and by that token be the less acceptable to any other'.[89]

He seems to have been in no doubt that Hartlib would view the situation similarly: indeed, he went on to suggest that Hartlib was providing a means of side-stepping this censorship by receiving copies of Comenius's work without the Synod's knowledge, thus ensuring the survival of the original, undoctored versions: 'the best of it is that you [Hartlib] receive his things before they fall into the hands of the censors; if they will then not permit them, the right thing may be still be done'.[90] Whether Comenius was aware of such machinations to protect his work from the supervision of his own church is unfortunately not known, though it is certain that Hartlib did not, in the event, publish anything the Synod had censored. Indeed, the only thing they did forbid Comenius to publish was the book of prophecies Lux in tenebris, about which Hartlib and Moriaen themselves had considerable misgivings, and in this instance Comenius went against both the orders of his superiors and the advice of his friends, and had the thing published at his own expense anyway. But it is striking to find Hartlib being presented in this fashion as guarantor of Comenius's freedom of speech, protecting him and his work, in effect, from his own confessional allegiance.

Most unequivocal of all such statements was Moriaen's reaction to a report of the arrest in England of a number of anabaptists. As usual, he gave no indication as to whether his sympathy for the detainees extended to their opinions or merely to their right to hold them, but he observed most forthrightly that that right was inalienable, and that the English Parliament was being hypocritical by condemning religious compulsion on the one hand (in such manifestations, presumably, as the Laudianisation of the Church of England and the Catholicisation of the Palatinate) while exercising it on the other against these hapless anabaptists. It was an action

which becomes them most ill who condemn compulsion of conscience in others. It were well done to encourage the release of these people at once, if they have indeed been apprehended only for their beliefs and are not otherwise criminal.[91]


This is, surely, a broad hint that Hartlib should use his contacts in Parliament to sue for the prisoners' release.

It was this steadfast refusal to make any concessions to partisanship or sectarianism that led, if not exactly to a falling out, at least to a marked difference of opinion and cooling of relations with Dury, with regard to the strategies to be adopted in the quest for church unity. Where Moriaen parted company with Dury was in that the latter, seeing 'incidentals' as unimportant, was prepared ostensibly to espouse (or reject) any of them at any given time in order to win round a given candidate to the cause of reconciliation. Rather than pick and mix, Moriaen consistently distanced himself from the lot.

Dury's idea was to draw up, as it were, a new and more inclusive Formula of Concord, an elucidation of the fundamental truths of Christianity to which all the Evangelical churches would be willing to subscribe. Having achieved this, he would persuade them all to agree publicly that freedom of conscience on all other issues should be granted, and that no one should criticise anyone else for holding a different view on such incidentals. To this end, he engaged for half a century in what was effectively a form of shuttle diplomacy, devoting a quite extraordinary amount of time, money and energy to travelling around England, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, conducting negotiations with the ruling bodies of the assorted Protestant groups and attempting to present each side's views to the others in as favourable a light as possible. As one of his less well-disposed chroniclers puts it, 'His powers of boredom had wearied a continent'.[92] To Moriaen's suggestion that he would do better to settle down in one place and devote himself to private study, Dury retorted without a trace of irony that he quite agreed and had every intention of settling in Bremen at the first opportunity, but needed first to conclude a few outstanding negotiations in Lübeck, Helmstadt, Rostock, Hamburg, Denmark, England and Holland.[93]

Dury's somewhat uncritical biographer remarks with supreme understatement that his 'method of presenting his cause varied from time to time'.[94] His devoted scribe and future brother-in-law Heinrich Appelius meant to compliment him by writing that he 'imitated Paul labouring to become all things to all men, that hy might in any respect gett et gaine men to the trueth'.[95] But a good many others profoundly mistrusted him (as many at the time had mistrusted Paul) for precisely this reason. To the Puritan William Prynne he was a 'time-serving Proteus and ambidexter divine',[96] while Caspar Heinrich Starck's staunchly Lutheran Lübeckische Kirchen-Geschichte (Church History of Lübeck) is no less scathing of this 'ill-starred peacemaker and as it were Apostolic Nuncio of the Reformed' and his 'irenical, or rather ironical counsels'.[97] His conscious policy throughout his 'irenical' projects of presenting whatever face he thought a given interlocutor would find most appealing, in order to alienate none of them, more often than not had precisely the opposite effect and alienated them all. Moriaen himself became quite exasperated with Dury, not indeed because he thought him a hypocrite, but because he saw how counter-productive his strategies were.

Not only did Moriaen consider that Dury was wasting time, energy and money that might be devoted to more useful causes on his endless diplomatic journeys, he also felt that Dury's personal involvement in the endeavour was positively detrimental to the aim of reconciliation. Some account has already been given of the very low esteem in which Dury was held on both sides of <91> the doctrinal divide. Moriaen repeatedly stressed how poor Dury's reputation was in the Netherlands, on account, presumably, of his extensive and very public contacts with Anglicans and Lutherans: 'most people here disapprove of his project and are suspicious of his person'.[98] After Moriaen had repeated this point three times in less than a month, Hartlib apparently objected to this assessment of his friend, for a little later Moriaen carefully dissociated himself from these condemnations of Dury and assured Hartlib, 'Nor do I neglect to redeem his honour and defend his good name as often as the occasion arises'.[99] Nonetheless, while protesting his own confidence in Dury's personal integrity, he continued to cast doubt on the feasibility of his pacification work and to express his disappointment that Dury would not accept some settled post and devote himself to private scholarly activity for the furtherance of Pansophy.

Dury has been celebrated as an 'Advocate of Christian Reunion'.[100] But as Anthony Milton points out in his shrewd and precise analysis of the 'politics of irenicism', virtually everyone in Christendom was an advocate of Christian reunion: 'most thinkers of this period accepted that religious unity was a good idea, in the same way that they believed sin was a bad idea'.[101] The devil, of course, was in the detail. Dury had no great difficulty in persuading Protestants to agree, in principle, to agree, but the question of what to agree about was somewhat thornier. Milton observes, with regard to English Puritans, that 'those divines who were most enthusiastic for union with the Lutherans on the level of theory were most likely to be those least capable of achieving it in practice'.[102] Moriaen made exactly the same point, though in more general terms: 'once one comes down to details and the conditions for reconciliation, there will be far more to be done, and those who seemed most favourable in general terms may well turn out to be the most unwilling'.[103]

It is this letter that provides Moriaen's fullest and most considered criticism of Dury's approach. Negotiation, Moriaen pointed out, had so far served rather to exacerbate than to diminish mutual resentments over contentious details. At least during the earlier part of his correspondence with Hartlib, Moriaen staked his hopes for reconciliation on Comenius's notion of Pansophy, a new way of looking at the world that would teach humanity to put aside all dogma and see everything afresh, unblinkered by received ideas. If Pansophy could not achieve this, declared Moriaen in almost so many words, God would have to do it himself: 'if people can be convinced by this means, reconciliation will follow of its own accord; if not, we must wait on a higher power'.[104]

Hartlib passed this detailed and apposite analysis on to Dury, who replied somewhat huffily and at equal length, but without in fact addressing Moriaen's main point.[105] The gist of his response is a tautology: once people have been persuaded to commit themselves not to argue about incidentals, they will find themselves bound by their own word not to argue about incidentals. He gave no straight answer to the question of how people were to be persuaded to agree on the definition of an incidental. Dury was very prickly, and for good reason, about charges that he was behaving like a mere diplomat, a political negotiator interfering with the balance of temporal power: he 'declared his passionate determination to avoid "worldly wisdome" precisely because it was a constant temptation for him.'[106] This aspect of <92> Dury's character comes to the fore in his high-handed dismissal of the objections to his schemes made by Moriaen and others:

they do imagine a thing which is more humane and politic then I aime at therefore theire doubts are to them true difficultyes, but to mee none; because I walke not in the sphere wherein theire apprehension of the matter doth stand.[107]

Later, Moriaen lost faith in Pansophy, or at least in the prospect of Comenius's providing an adequate formulation of it, and looked rather to the experimental investigation of Nature for a frame of reference on which humanity might agree to build afresh a new and unifying religious vision of the world. Dury features with significantly less frequency in his later letters, and in mid-1657 Moriaen remarked that he had lost touch with him altogether.[108] Moriaen's attitude to the irenical scheme, however, remained unchanged. He commented on it a last time at the beginning of 1658 by damning it with faint praise: so long as Dury kept up his efforts, he wrote, the lovers of truth and peace would at least be able to say no stone had been left unturned.[109]

This disagreement with Dury over the strategies to be adopted in the promotion of ecumenicism goes to the heart of Moriaen's ideological outlook. Dury's mistake, as Moriaen saw it, was to attack the symptoms of discord instead of the cause. Dury wanted to negotiate about details, about outward forms and ceremonies, to achieve compromise between the different sects on the externals of religion, and thus by paring back such externals to demonstrate that all these branches grew from the same stem. Moriaen, though never so overtly radical as Boreel or Felgenhauer, shared their desire to go back further, to set aside all sectarianism and begin again from the root. Whether or not he shared the millenarian and chiliastic views of many of his friends and associates, he certainly anticipated, and believed he was contributing to, a new and more fundamental Reformation. The time for quibbling over niceties was over: what was needed now was to look at the whole Creation afresh, to learn a new and truer reading of Scripture, of Nature and of Mankind itself.

In sum, the Dawn of Wisdom will hopefully soon break, for all things in all places point so promisingly towards it. God grant that the Sun of Justice may create a new day, enlightening in sanctity the whole pitch dark world.[110]

He spent his whole life watching for the dawn.

[1] HDC, 248; Dorothy Dury to Hartlib, n.d., HP 3/2/143A-144B. The pamphlet Hartlib published, Madam, although my former freedom (London, 1645), consists of letters from both John and Dorothy Dury (or Dorothy Moore as she then was) to Dorothy's niece Katherine Ranelagh concerning their reasons for deciding to marry. Though rare, the publication is not lost (as I mistakenly said it was in the print edition of this book) and there is a copy in the British Library. On Dorothy Moore/Dury, see Lynette Hunter (ed.), The Letters of Dorothy Moore, 1612-64: the friendships, marriage and intellectual life of a seventeenth-century woman (Aldershot, 2004). The letter in question is reproduced on pp. 69-73 (from the copy in the Hartlib Papers, HP 3/2/118A-121B); see also pp. 79-81 for Moore/Dury's impressively ferocious reprimand to Hartlib (HP 143A-144B). This edition of Moore's letters, however, consists almost entirely of direct lifts (with added errors) from the Hartlib Papers CD-ROM, and the introductory essay presents a gross misreprepresentation of Moore's views. Dorothy Moore/Dury was a very interesting and original thinker who deserves a serious academic study.

[2] William Newman, 'Prophecy and Alchemy: The Origin of Eirenæus Philalethes', Ambix 37 (1990), 97-115, pp. 101-2.

[3] See Mark Greengrass, 'Samuel Hartlib and Scribal Publication', Acta Comeniana 12 (1997), 89-104.

[4] Moriaen to Hartlib, 20 Oct. 1639, HP 37/44A.

[5] Moriaen to Hartlib, 23 Jan. 1640, HP 37/53B.

[6] Moriaen to Worsley, 27 Jan. 1651, HP 9/16/1A.

[7] Hartlib to Winthrop, 16 March 1660, HP 7/7/3A.

[8] Hartlib to Boyle, 24 July 1649, Boyle, Works VI, 78. The first mention of Moriaen in their surviving correspondence occurs on 9 May 1648 (ibid., 77).

[9] Poleman to Hartlib, 5 Dec. 1659, HP 60/4/159A, and see below, p. 171.

[10] Hartlib to Boyle, c. June/July 1658, Boyle, Works VI, 111.

[11] 'zeithero meinem Iungsten hatt es Gott gefallen mein ainiges Kindt mit kranckheit zue besuchen vnd endlich von dieser welt abzuefordern, welche kranckheit tod vnd begräbnus vnd was demselben anhängig mich eine zeit hero zue hauß gehalten, vnd an gewunschter fortsezung gehindert hatt' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 12 Aug. 1639, HP 37/36B-37A.

[12] 'niemand sich behelffen sondern vollauff haben will wie mans beÿ guten zeiden gewohnet hatt' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 24 Aug. 1657, HP 42/2/18B.

[13] 'zu ihrer wollust vnd geitz' - Moriaen to ?, 31 Jan. 1651, HP 63/14/4A.

[14] Moriaen to Hartlib, 1 Sept. 1639, HP 37/39A.

[15] HDC, 244-9, and see especially Dorothy Dury's letters to Hartlib of 1644-5 (just before and after her marriage), HP 21/5/18A, 21/5/22A, 3/2/144A. She told Hartlib shortly after the marriage, 'I doe professe I will part out of the contry from him; if hee bringes her to torment mee for shee hath enough already begun to devide our affections' (HP 3/2/144A).

[16] Moriaen to Hartlib, 5 April 1640, HP 37/62A.

[17] 'konde mich so bewegen das nicht ein bluts-tropfe an seinem ortt bliebe' - Moriaen to ?, 17 Oct. 1653, HP 63/14/22A.

[18] 'die Bethaw diese lange zeit ganz under waßer gelegen kombt nun wieder so grun herfur das ein lust anzuesehen ist Gott mach uns danckbar für seine genade' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 2 April 1658, HP 31/18/15A.

[19] 'noch nicht unerträglich' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 25 June 1658, HP 31/18/37A.

[20] Eph 48, HP 31/22/29B.

[21] Hamilton to Hartlib, 16/26 Nov. 1650, HP 9/11/27A.

[22] Hamilton had become friendly with Dury and Hartlib in 1647 and not long afterwards added his signature to their pact with Comenius committing themselves to mutual support both moral and financial in their efforts for church unity and the reform of learning (HP 7/109/1A-2B, transc. HDC, 458-460). Ten years later he fell out with them and was released from it (HP 9/11/31A-34B). See HDC, 262-3, 287-9. He had left England to avoid having to sign the 1650 Act of Allegiance and was seeking employment in the Netherlands.

[23] Figulus to Hartlib, 2 Nov. 1658, HP 9/17/43A, transc. in Blekastad, Figulus Letters, 235.

[24] 'ein freundlicher vnd aufrichtiger Man […] deßen man wohl genießen kan so viel ich vermercke' - Brun to Hartlib, 13 June 1649, HP 39/2/9A.

[25] Sadler to Hartlib, n.d., HP 46/9/23A.

[26] 'ein sehr stattlicher gottliebender, welthassender, erfahrner, auch lustiger und conversabler mann' - Kretschmar to Hartlib, 1 Aug. 1659, HP 26/64/4A.

[27] Hartlib to John Winthrop, 16 March 1660, HP 7/7/3A.

[28] Winthrop to Hartlib, 25 Oct. 1660, HP 32/1/9A.

[29] 'Daß Her Morian mehr rechte philosophie beÿ sich habe, als er selber wiße, solches kan gar wol sein […]; so aber Her Morian solche philosophi in seiner eigenthümblichen Scients hatte, so würde er vom Glaubero nicht können bethöret werden; aber es mag wol seÿn, daß er magk sehr wichtige wißenschafften in Scriptis haben' - Poleman to Hartlib, 19 Sept. 1659, HP 60/4/101A.

[30] 'H Worslej urtheilt recht von mir dz ist mein mangel und fehler dz ich so leicht glaübe und des besten mich zue anderen versehen thue und das hatt mich umb das meinige gebracht sonst würde Ich izund niemands nötig haben. Ich habe der einfalt der dauben mich allezeit mehr beflissen als der Schlangen klugheit die mir nicht gegeben ist' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 14 June 1658, HP 31/18/29B; cf. Matthew 10:16.

[31] See Kvačala, 'Über die Schicksale der Didactica magna', MCG 8 (1899), 129-144.

[32] 'es ist durch auch [sic, for durchaus] rathsam vnd nötig das alles inter amicos privatim auffs fleisigste examinirt vnd censurirt werde, ehe mans vnder die leuthe vnd ans liecht kommen laße' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 5 Dec. 1639, HP 37/49A.

[33] For a full account of this, see Anthony Fletcher, The Outbreak of the English Civil War (revised edition London, 1984), 6-17.

[34] Moriaen to Hartlib, 18 April 1641, HP 37/85A.

[35] 'Nun müßen wir mit großen betrubnus vernehmen das das haubt vnd der leib getrennet werden' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 27 Jan. 1642, HP 37/101A.

[36] Moriaen to Hartlib, 31 Dec. 1640, HP 37/74A.

[37] Moriaen to Hartlib, 2 Dec. 1641, HP 37/96A.

[38] 'Wan Faber in Frankreich todes verfahren so ist ein betrieger weniger in der Welt' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 24 April 1654, HP 31/13A. Fabré had been physician to Louis XIII, and according to Partington wrote 'a large number of little-esteemed works' (Partington II, 181), his speciality being alchemical interpretation of Classical myths. See also the equally dismissive notice in Thorndike VII, 194-5, and for a more sympathetic account, Bernard Joly, La rationalité de l'alchimie au XVII siècle (Paris, 1992). Moriaen was misinformed about his death: Erasmus Rasch wrote of visiting him on his sick-bed two years later (HP 42/9/1B). Rasch was equally unimpressed by his iatrochemical abilities, remarking that his illness was proof in itself of their limitations.

[39] Starkey to Moriaen, 30 May 1651, HP 17/7/1A-2B.

[40] Eph 51, HP 28/2/18A.

[41] Hartlib to Boyle, 28 Feb. 1654, Boyle, Works VI, 79-80.

[42] Ibid., 80.

[43] 'Es ist schade und Iammer dz der Mensch sein verstandt nicht beßer anlegt zum guten lieber als zuem bößen aber das ist fast aller solchen geschwinden ingenien artt das sie sich lieber auff Ejtelkeit legen als dem guten obligen andere die es gern thun wollen sindt mit solchem verstand nicht begabt' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 1 Jan. 1658, HP 31/18/3A. William Newman and Lawrence Principe have questioned my reading of this passage, considering that by 'der Mensch' Moriaen meant humankind in general rather than Starkey in particular: see their Alchemy Tried in the Fire (Chicago and London, 2002), 258, n. 175. Out of context, this seems a more plausible reading, but Moriaen did sometimes use 'Mensch' to refer to specific individuals, as when he spoke of Glauber as 'ein Mensch voller verstand' ('a person of great understanding', HP 37/121A), and in this instance the context suggests to me that Moriaen was specifically speaking of Starkey (or, perhaps, Starkey and Clodius). Moriaen was trying to obtain, through Clodius, the recipe for Starkey's powder against quartain fever, and remarked that he would ask Starkey for it himself if he knew how to contact him, for 'he is still so much in my debt that he would not refuse me it if there is any modesty left in him' ('Er ist mir noch woll so viel obligirt das Er mirs nicht versagen würde wan noch einige bescheidenheit in ihm ist'). The above-cited passage follows immediately from this rather bitter remark.

[44] Evelyn to W. Wotton, 12 Sept. 1703, The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. William Bray (London, 1879) IV, 33. 'Methodus mendichandi' is a rather laboured pun on methodus medendi (art of healing), which was a popular rhetorical circumlocution for 'medical practice'.

[45] See esp. Moriaen to Hartlib, 24 May 1658, HP 31/18/25A.

[46] Hartlib to Boyle, 7 Jan. 1658, Boyle, Works VI, 99.

[47] Boyle, Works VI, 122.

[48] Hartlib to Boyle, 26 Nov. 1659, Boyle, Works VI, 134.

[49] HP 60/4/69B, copied by Hartlib from a letter of 19 Sept. 1659.

[50] 'Mr Serrarius wensch ick een betere uytcoomste als ick wel hopen can door dien de partyligheyt hedens tags te seer groot is' - Moriaen to van Assche, 17 Jan. 1637, UBA N65d.

[51] HP 63/14/6B.

[52] 'so gar alles was nur von diesem Man kommen ist fur lauter Euangelium gehalten' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 7 Oct. 1650, HP 37/159A.

[53] 'daran aber nicht so sehr Luthero [… die Schuld] zuezueschreiben, sondern den Ienigen welche unbesonnenerweiß darfur gehalten es seÿe lauter heiligthum was von ihme außgehe' - ibid.

[54] 'Onpartijdig, katholiek, universeel: dat zijn de sleutelwoorden, waarmee het ideale christendom door hen wordt aangeduid' - van der Wall, Serrarius, 119.

[55] 'Er ist dem partheÿlichen wesen noch etwas zue sehr ergeben' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 13 Dec. 1638, HP 37/2B. The ADB comments on Bisterfeld's conversion from strong opposition to the Puritan party in Transylvania to ardent support for it (ADB II, 683).

[56] 'das zeugt von einem tieffsinnichen vnd grundlich verständigen vnd was beÿ mir das maiste ist, von parteÿligkeit befreÿten vnd der warheit allein begierigen gaist' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 7 March 1639, HP 37/11A.

[57] 'Ich spühre in diesem Mann schon sonderlichen gaben, vnd welches mir vor allem liebet ein freÿ vnd vnparteÿisch gemuth' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 14 April 1639, HP 37/18A.

[58] 'ein auffrichtig vnd vnparteÿischer der warheit liebhaber mit dem woll vmbzuegehen ist' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 2 Oct. 1639, HP 37/42A.

[59] The church was not nationally exclusive and included Moravians, Poles and others. Comenius himself was not Bohemian but Moravian.

[60] 'das nimbt ihm viel zeit weg vnd macht Ihn beÿ vielen parteijsch' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 11 Oct. 1640, HP 37/68A.

[61] Mein einfältiger Rath were das beÿ so verschiedenen sinnen vnd secten […] man […] so lang vnd viel müglich sich indifferent vnd vnparteijsch halten, in generalibus bleiben vnd sich ad particularia nicht begeben soll - Moriaen to Hartlib, 31 March 1639, HP 37/15B-16A.

[62] The heading for this sub-section is borrowed from Dury's self-justificatory tract A Peace-maker without Partialitie and Hypocrisie (London, 1648).

[63] Eph 48, HP 31/22/12B.

[64] Eph 48, HP 31/22/9A.

[65] See Webster Great Instauration, 302, and several mentions in Hartlib's letters to Boyle (Boyle, Works VI, 81, 85, 87, 94, 96, where his pseudonym is consistently mistranscribed 'Van Mussig').

[66] 'es hatt mir halb davon geschwindelt' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 30 Nov. 1657, HP 42/2/26B.

[67] See Michael Hunter, 'Science and heterodoxy: An early modern problem reconsidered', Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution, 367-96.

[68] 'ob es nun atheismus stricte dictus oder eine verwerffung der Heiligen Schrifft seÿe' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 30 Nov. 1657, HP 42/2/26B.

[69] 'H Boreel pflegt sonsten ex lumina Naturæ contra Atheos zue disputirn und dieselbe zue convincirn beides das ein Gott und das die Schrifft sein Wortt seÿe' - ibid.

[70] On Boreel and the Collegiant movement, see Walter Schneider, Adam Boreel: Sein Leben und seine Schriften (Giessen, 1911).

[71] See below, pp. 118-20, for a fuller discussion of this work.

[72] Browne, Religio Medici (1643), Works of Sir Thomas Browne, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (London, 1928, new edition 1964) I, 19.

[73] 'wir verwachten ommers naer syn belofde neffens den nieuwen hemel oock een nieuwen aerde daer rechtveerdigheit in wonen sal' - Moriaen to van Assche, 23 Sept. 1642, UBA N65f, fol. 1v; cf. Revelation 21:1.

[74] HP 37/34A, quoted at the end of this chapter, and HP 9/16/5A, the epigraph to Chapter Seven.

[75] See James Knowlson, Universal Language Schemes in England and France 1600-1800 (Toronto and Buffalo, 1975); Vivian Salmon, The Works of Francis Lodwick: A Study of his Writings in the Intellectual Context of the Seventeenth Century (Longman, 'throughout the world', 1972), and Comenius, Panglottia, trans. A.M.O. Dobbie (Shipton on Stour, 1989).

[76] 'die zeit wird verhoffentlich gekommen oder Ia nicht fern sein das wir nicht allein aus einem Charactere uns undereinander werden berichten und verstehen können sondern auch das wir mit einem mund Gott werden bekennen loben und preißen lernen, am tage der offenbahrung des Sohns des Menschen' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 19 Oct. 1657, HP 42/2/25A. Cf. Zephaniah 3:9: 'For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent'.

[77] This is particularly pertinent to a German speaker, as the German words for 'reveal' and 'Revelation' - 'offenbaren' and 'Offenbarung' - are even more obviously cognate than the English.

[78] Eph 52, HP 28/2/43A.

[79] See John Stoughton, Felicitas ultimi sæculi: Epistola in qua, inter alia, calamitosus ævi præsentis status serio deploratur, certa felicioris posthac spes ostenditur, & ad promovendum publicum Ecclesiæ et rei literariæ bonum omnes excitantur (London, 1640); Francis Potter, An Interpretation of the Number 666 (Oxford, 1642), and Joseph Mede, The Key of the Revelation, searched and demonstrated out of the Naturall and proper Characters of the Vision (London, 1643).

[80] Felgenhauer attacked Boreel on these grounds in his Refutatio paralogismorum Socinianorum (Amsterdam, 1656), and the now lost Perspicillum theologicum sive examen eorum qui theologi videri et audiri volunt, cum responsione ad librum illum qui inscribitur Ad legem et ad testimonium cujus autor est Adamus Borelius latine (date uncertain: Boreel's Ad legem et testimonium, a sort of Collegiant manifesto, appeared in 1645). See Wolters, 'Paul Felgenhauers Leben und Wirken' part I, 68.

[81] The arrest occurred in 1657; why Felgenhauer suddenly attracted attention at this time for a doctrine he had been preaching publicly for decades remains uncertain. In the event, the sentence was commuted to banishment from Braunschweig-Lüneburg, and the destruction of his books was ordered. Felgenhauer was as surprised as anyone that he was released from prison after only a year, for he had (not unreasonably) expected to remain there until his death. See Wolters, op. cit., part I, 68-70.

[82] This consisted of two letters to Daniel Stolzius, dated 6 May 1639 and 28 June 1640 (KK II, 17-33 and 36-65); it circulated in manuscript (as Moriaen's correspondence demonstrates) but was not published until 1662 as A dextris et sinistris (Amsterdam, 1662).

[83] Moriaen to Hartlib, 11 Oct. 1640, HP 37/68A.

[84] Published Hamburg 1638. See G.F. Guhrauer, Joachim Jungius und sein Zeitalter (Stuttgart and Tübingen, 1850), 110-11.

[85] Guhrauer, Jungius, 111. The remarks of this student, Vincenz Placcius, are recorded in Moller, Cimbria litterata III, 348.

[86] 'sagt von seiner Logica […] Es ist nicht meine sondern Hamburgensium Logica dan sie haben Ihme furgeschrieben wie Sie es haben wollen' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 23 June 1639, HP 37/29A.

[87] 'Das nun H Iungius wegen unbändigkeit der Ienigen under welchen er lebet, seinen gaist dempfen müßen vnd nicht freÿ herauß geben dürffen das ist zue Iammern für Ihn vnd vnß' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 13 Dec. 1638, HP 37/1A.

[88] Moriaen to Hartlib, 20 Oct. and 3 Nov. 1639, HP 37/44B and 37/46A.

[89] 'die Libertet nach seinem herz vnd gemuth zue schreiben wie Ers in der Warheit befindet ist Ihme damit schon genommen, wird sich auff eine parteÿ legen müßen vnd beÿ allen andern desto weniger gelten' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 23 June 1639, HP 37/29A.

[90] 'das beste ist das der herr die sachen von Ihme bekombt ehe Sie den Censoribus in die hände kommen[;] wollen sie es dan nicht zuelaßen so kan gleichwoll geschehen was recht ist' - ibid.

[91] 'welches denen sehr vbel anstehet welche den gewißens zwang an andern improbirn Man würde woll thun wan man vnder der hand dieser leuthe erledigung beförderte wehren sie anderst allein vmb ihrer bekandtnus willen verhafftet vnd sonsten keine vbeltheter sind' Moriaen to Hartlib, 21 Jan. 1641, HP 37/77A.

[92] J.C. Whitebrook, 'Dr John Stoughton the Elder', Transactions of the Congregational Historical Society 7 (1913-15), 89-107 and 177-87, p. 183.

[93] Dury to Hartlib, 26 April 1639, HP 9/1/82A. The letter is largely given over to answering Moriaen's to Hartlib, 14 April 1639, HP 37/18A-20B. This use of Hartlib as intermediary in what is essentially an exchange between Dury and Moriaen is characteristic of the operation of the network, and the fact that a copy of a letter could reach Dury in Hamburg from Hartlib in London within twelve days of Moriaen's writing the original in Amsterdam is testimony to their efficiency.

[94] J. Minton Batten, John Dury: Advocate of Christian Reunion (Chicago, 1944), 94.

[95] Appelius to Hartlib, 23 August 1650, HP 45/1/42A; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:22-3.

[96] William Prynne, The time-serving Proteus, and ambidexter divine, uncased to the world (London, 1650).

[97] 'unglücklichen Friedemacher/ und gleichsam Nuntio Apostolico der Reformirten' … 'concilia irenica, oder besser ironica' - Caspar Heinrich Starck, Lübeckishe Kirchen-Geschichte (Lübeck, 1724), 860-61.

[98] 'ist sein furnehmen an diesem ortt von den maisten improbirt vnd seine persohn verdächtig' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 19 April 1639, HP 37/21A.

[99] 'Ich laße auch nicht seine ehr zue retten vnd guten nahmen zue verthätigen so offt es nur gelegenheit gibt' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 30 June 1639, HP 37/31A..

[100] J. Minton Batten, John Dury: Advocate of Christian Reunion (Chicago, 1944).

[101] Anthony Milton, '"The Unchanged Peacemaker"? John Dury and the politics of irenicism in England 1628-43', SHUR, 95-117, p. 96.

[102] Ibid., 101.

[103] 'wan man aber einst auff die particularia vnd Conditiones concordiæ kommen solte da wird man noch viel mehr zue thun vnd woll die Ienige am vnwilligsten finden die sich zuevorn in generalibus am besten angelaßen haben' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 14 April 1639, HP 37/19A.

[104] 'kan die vberzeugung dardurch gefunden werden so wird die Concordia sich auch woll finden wo nicht so muß alles von höherer hand erwartet werden' - ibid., HP 37/19B.

[105] Dury to Hartlib, 26 April 1639, HP 9/1/80B-83B.

[106] Anthony Milton, '"The Unchanged Peacemaker"?', 116.

[107] Dury to Hartlib, 26 April 1639, HP 9/1/82B.

[108] Moriaen to Hartlib, 20 July 1657, HP 42/2/12A.

[109] 'zum wenigsten kan ein solches den friedhäßigen undt unverständig eyfferigen alle entschuldigung benehmen die friedliebenden aber trösten das sie an ihnen, nichts haben erwinden laßen' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 18 Jan. 1658, HP 56/2/1B-2A.

[110] 'In Summa Aurora Sapientiæ wird verhoffentlichen bald anbrechen mußen weil sich alles an allen orthen so fein darzu schicket Gott gebe dz Sol Iustitiæ den folgenden tag machen vnd die gantze stockfinstere Weld dermal einst seliglich erleuchten möge' - Moriaen to ?, 21 July 1639, HP 37/34A. 'Aurora Sapientiæ' is the title of one of Felgenhauer's tracts (Magdeburg, 1628).

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