Part Two: Universal Wisdom
Chapter Four: Panaceas of the Soul: Comenius and the Dream of Universal Knowledge

'The Pansophical Vndertaking is of mighty importance. For what can bee almost greater then to have All knowledge. If it were with the addition to have All love also it were perfection'- Joachim Hübner, cited in Ephemerides 1639, HP 30/4/12A.

Origins of the Pansophic Project

From Moriaen's first surviving letter to Hartlib, it is evident that when he arrived in Amsterdam he already had a deep - indeed a missionary - commitment to his friend's project to fund and publicise Pansophy, the vision of universal wisdom being worked out by the Moravian theologian and pedagogue Jan Amos Komensky, or Comenius.[1] This scheme was the main preoccupation of both men in the first few years of their correspondence. Moriaen repeatedly expressed his commitment to it in fervent and explicitly religious terms: it was 'the labour I have taken upon myself at God's behest and which I can now make my sole occupation for the common good. I have as it were set myself aside for it and devoted myself to it'.[2] Their expectations were spectacularly high. Moriaen approvingly quoted back to Hartlib the latter's conviction that 'nothing more useful has ever been offered to the world than this very work, since through it the schools, and by their means the Church, the State and the world can and should be reformed'.[3] Before a detailed account is given of the project and Moriaen's involvement in it, some analysis is called for of what it was that was being promoted, and how it came to be seen as of such epochal significance.

Born in 1592, Comenius studied at the Reformed academy of Herborn, before spending a year at the more traditional University of Heidelberg.[4] Heidelberg was also Moriaen's university, though it is not known whether his time there overlapped with Comenius's. Herborn was among the many higher educational establishments founded in the late sixteenth century by Reformed German princes in which a new educational ethos was being forged.[5] In most cases of the 'conversion' of small German states to the Reformed religion there was a signal lack of enthusiasm for the new faith among the general populace, and the leaders bent on persuading them saw education - through school, academy and pulpit - as a powerful tool for doing so. As the confessional divisions within Protestantism widened and took on clearer definition, such rulers benefited from an influx of Reformed preachers and educationalists evicted for their beliefs from their posts in Lutheran territories within the Empire, as well as the exodus from Switzerland, the Netherlands and England.[6] A further stimulus to Protestant educational reformers of all stripes was provided by the undisputed success of the rival Jesuit <102> colleges, with their relatively traditional curricula, founded in the latter half of the sixteenth century.[7] As J.A. Pöhmer observed to Hartlib, 'I am often astounded at the fatal diligence of the Jesuits: had they pursued the study of nature as thoroughly as the compulsion of conscience they might have done much good'.[8] Deploring the lack of support for Hartlib's educational projects, Dury observed bitterly that 'If he was among the Iesuites, they would find him both worke & meanes to follow it out, but wee [i.e. the Protestants] are dead in things of such a nature'.[9]

The Reformed educational tradition - or, one should perhaps say, new departure - played a crucial role in shaping the thought of Comenius, as of Hartlib and Dury.[10] Particularly significant in moulding the thought of the Pansophists was the influence of one of Comenius's teachers at Herborn, the encyclopedist Johann Heinrich Alsted. It should be emphasised that an encyclopedia, in Alsted's terms, was not merely a comprehensive list of facts and references (or at least was not supposed to be): it was, as the word implies, a unified whole, and a major part of Alsted's project was to work out the arrangement of his compendium of knowledge in a logical, coherent and harmonious fashion such that the student could proceed through the work in sequence, progressing always from the known to the unknown and from the general to the particular. It was not merely a reference source, it was a text book of universal learning. Comenius worked as Alsted's amanuensis while in Herborn, and the master composed a Greek poem lauding his student's love of universal wisdom.[11]

Such knowledge was not only to be compendious, it was above all to be 'useful'. 'Useful knowledge' became something of a catchphrase for the Hartlib circle and other 'Second Reformation' thinkers. It should not be misinterpreted as mere utilitarianism. For knowledge to be 'useful' or 'practical' did not simply mean that it would enable people to move around faster or increase crops or build better bridges - though all such things could be useful, provided they were directed to the right ends. It meant above all that it would have an application in the ethical and religious ordering of daily life. What increasingly came to be seen as the empty, abstract, semantic disputations of the scholastic tradition were to be replaced by knowledge that was of practical relevance to the behaviour and beliefs of the individual. 'Practical divinity' in particular, an especial enthusiasm of both Alsted and Hartlib, might not grow more turnips, but was emphatically regarded as 'useful'. 'Usefulness' lay not in the private gain of one individual at the expense of another, but in the mutual profit derived from enhanced social interaction, a profit which in turn redounded to the glory of the Creator whose last and perhaps most important commandment to his creatures was that they should love one another as themselves.

But it should be stressed that if the growing vogue for a curriculum grounded in the practical rather than the theoretical can be described as an important and characteristic feature of the 'Second Reformation' ethos, it was certainly not denominationally exclusive. Like Alsted before him, Comenius drew on a very disparate range of sources, some of them on the face of it mutually exclusive: on Aristotelians as well as Ramists, hermetic mystics as well as rationalists, and thinkers of every shade of Christian, or indeed non-Christian, confessional allegiance.[12] After the loss of his library in the sack of <103> Leszno in 1656, he himself singled out, as the authors whose works he most needed to recover in order to proceed with his work, Francis Bacon, Juan Luís Vives and Tomasso Campanella[13] - an Anglican and two Catholics. Nor was it only among the Reformed that he found acceptance. One of his warmest admirers in Germany was the Lutheran pastor Johann Valentin Andreæ. Andreæ's depiction of an ideal educational system, which occupies over a quarter of his Utopian novel Christianopolis,[14] foreshadows many of Comenius's educational ideas, such as universal infant education irrespective of gender or social status, appreciation of the fact that learning begins at birth if not before, the encouragement of enquiry rather than the inculcation of received wisdom, teaching in the vernacular rather than Latin, and the imparting of ideas through images and demonstrations rather than merely through words. Similar ideas are to be found in Campanella's Civitas Solis, debatably the inspiration for Christianopolis.[15] A number of German thinkers, particularly in Protestant territories, were pursuing reforms of the same sort. Among these was Elias Bodinus, whose influence Comenius later acknowledged, and whom Moriaen visited, together with Alsted's son-in-law Johann Heinrich Bisterfeld, in order to assess the spectacular claims he made for his image-based 'Art of Memory'.[16] Another such was Wolfgang Ratke or Ratich, whose method earned him an encomium from the great natural philosopher and pedagogue Joachim Jungius (another devout Lutheran).[17] A collection of didactic writings assembled by Ratke, including the report on his own method drawn up by Jungius and his friend Helvich, bore the epigraph 'Per inductionem et experimentum omnia' ('All things by induction and experiment').[18] This in turn is a phrase forcefully reminiscent of the terms used in Bacon's great manifesto for educational reform, The Advancement of Learning (1605). In all these works, the stress was on ways of making education practical, relevant to daily life, and compendious. Pansophy was not the product of any particular denominational allegiance, though it is true that the particular circumstances of the Reformed German principalities provided the most fruitful ground for putting such ideas into practice (or at least trying to), while elsewhere they tended to remain at the level of theory, manifesto or Utopian fiction.

The reformation of educational theory was crucial to the very notion of Pansophy. Universal knowledge could be attained only by an education that was itself universal, in the fullest sense of the word, teaching (as Comenius put it) 'all things to all people in all ways'.[19] Just as Bacon's Advancement of Learning was intended as a trail-blazer for the 'Instauratio Magna', the reformation of all science and knowledge, and just as Alsted's (supposedly) all-encompassing Encyclopædia grew out of a practical teaching course,[20] so all Comenius's educational work was conceived as so many steps on the path to the ultimate synthesis of Pansophy. Hartlib, significantly, played up the pedagogic origin of the project by having Comenius's 1639 Prodromus Pansophiæ - literally 'forerunner of Pansophy' - translated as A Reformation of Schooles (1642).

It was as a pedagogue rather than a Pansophist that Comenius first came to the attention of the European intelligentsia. He achieved considerable international fame through his educational writings, principally the Janua linguarum reserata (The Gateway of Languages Unlocked) (1631) long before he became popularly associated with the notion of Pansophy. At this time, Comenius was living in exile in the Polish town of Leszno, he and his co-religionists in the Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren) having been driven out <104> of their native Bohemia and Moravia by the occupying forces of Emperor Ferdinand II. Here, Comenius took charge of teaching Latin and music at the Unity's 'Gymnasium Illustre', and the Janua linguarum came about as a direct result of his teaching activity, in response to the paucity of teaching material and the unimaginativeness of the teaching methods he encountered at the Gymnasium. From the outset, however, the work was designed as more than merely a language course. It aimed to exemplify the principle that language education should be an integral part of the broader curriculum rather than a separate discipline, and that the teaching of words should be - and could best be - effected through the teaching of 'things', not alongside it. Instead of memorising irrelevant and uncomprehended phrases and grammatical rules, pupils might far more readily and far more profitably absorb new structures and terminology - either in their own language or in another - in the context of an intrinsically interesting and useful course. And this course was to be, true to the ideals Comenius had imbibed at Herborn, practical, ethical, and encyclopedic.[21]

Others at the school were highly impressed by Comenius's tentative first draft and persuaded him to publish it on the Unity's press. In a remarkably short time, the work achieved a colossal international success, appearing the same year in German, French and English versions.[22] Comenius, to his own mild alarm, suddenly found himself a celebrated figure among the educationalists of Europe, bombarded with congratulations, eager enquiries and expressions of interest.[23]

Encouraged as well as intimidated by this surge of interest, he found himself contemplating an extension of his project to make it still more practical and compendious. As he later described his reaction:

I came to this point in my thoughts: if it seemed good that the words of a language should be learnt through the guidance of things, it were better that things themselves should be taught through the guidance of words already known. That is, that, when by the help of my Janua linguarum youth had learnt to distinguish things from outside, it should thence become accustomed to explore that which is within things, and to comprehend what each thing is in its essence.[24]

Herein lay the germ of his 'Pansophy': 'a general book […] exhibiting in it all necessary things so that all shameful ignorance would be excluded'.[25] Such a work would be called, on the model of the Janua linguarum, the Janua rerum or Gateway of Things. Like Alsted before him, he found what had initially been intended merely as a school book developing under its own momentum into a vision of universal learning.

It was the Janua linguarum that brought Comenius to Hartlib's attention, and in about 1632 he began to correspond with and subsidise the Moravian.[26] Hartlib was greatly enthused by the idea of the Janua rerum. He urged Comenius to send him a plan of the proposed work, and was rewarded, in 1637, with a rough draft outline in manuscript.

Hartlib had settled in England almost a decade earlier, in 1628, full of zeal to further the educational plans of the secret quasi-Rosicrucian society 'Antilia' he had been involved with in Elblag, which sought nothing less than the reformation of the world.[27] Quite how it intended to bring this about, or <105> whether indeed it had any clearly formulated programme for doing so, will probably never be known, but it is clear that it proposed to start by reforming education, and that Hartlib's mission lay partly at least in this field. Johann Fridwald, Hartlib's main contact in Antilia, wrote to him shortly before his departure, 'as regards Antilia, it has been decided that the teaching of children [or boys] is to be made a priority and laid as the foundation stone of the endeavour'.[28] J.A. Pömer, another leading figure in the society, hoped to speak to Hartlib in person about the subject before the latter left for England, 'since you are to perform something extraordinary in this field'.[29] Shortly after his arrival in England, Hartlib founded an academy in Chichester 'for the Education of the Gentry of this Nation, to advance Piety, Learning, Morality, and other Exercises of Industry, not usual then in common schools'. This was surely his first attempt at accomplishing his pedagogic mission, and the school's almost immediate failure must have been a bitter disappointment to him.[30] Comenius's programme provided a fresh opportunity to make a contribution in his appointed field, not this time as an instigator, but in the role he was to excel in throughout his subsequent career, as a promoter and populariser of other people's schemes. He took it upon himself to act as catalyst in the development of Comenius's ideas, not only in intellectual but in strictly practical terms.

Perhaps his most important contribution was to publish the manuscript Comenius had sent him as the Conatuum Comenianorum præludia (Oxford, 1637). He published it, or so he claimed in the preface, because it had aroused so much interest that he had not had scribes enough to produce the requisite copies. Typically enough, it had not occurred to him to ask Comenius's permission to do this, and it was a considerable shock for the Moravian when he suddenly received an unsolicited copy of a book by himself which he was quite unaware had gone to press. As he told Hartlib in the above-mentioned letter of January 1638, the printing had been undertaken without his knowledge, let alone consent: had he been asked, he would never have allowed the work to appear in this imperfect form. At the same time, however, he was evidently flattered and encouraged: he thanked Hartlib for his interest and support, and observed that if his Pansophy ever came to light, it would be due to Hartlib's incitement. And since the work was out, the best thing he could do was to rework it and have it republished in a more satisfactory form as the Prodromus Pansophiæ, also published by Hartlib but this time with Comenius's authorisation, in 1639. Hartlib having thus set the wheels in motion, Comenius was to spend the rest of his life labouring to produce the book of universal wisdom he had proposed in this sketch. Hartlib for his part, together with like-minded friends such as Dury, Haak, Hübner and Moriaen, devoted himself single-mindedly throughout the 1630s to raising funds for Comenius, to disseminating his work, and above all to his great goal of attracting Comenius himself to England to supervise the 'great instauration' of learning he believed was about to take place there.

The Notion of Pansophy: Beyond Bacon and Alsted

Comenius repeatedly cited Francis Bacon as an exemplar and an inspiration. As has been mentioned, Bacon was one of the three authors he most <106> wished to recover after the loss of his library in 1656. Just before his visit to England in 1641,[31] he wrote to Hartlib in passionate terms that this was the time for the great Lord Verulam's [i.e. Bacon's] plans to be put into effect, and even suggested that Hartlib adapt Bacon's supplication to James I in Book II of The Advancement of Learning to be addressed to Charles I.[32] Hugh Trevor-Roper, indeed, goes so far as to see Bacon as the primary influence on the thought of all the 'Three Foreigners' (Hartlib, Dury and Comenius), though he also maintains they completely misunderstood their hero.[33] He avuncularly describes the thought of the Hartlibians (or Comenians) as 'vulgar Baconianism':[34] a somewhat frantic, disordered assembling of scraps of knowledge, with a lowbrow Puritan emphasis on practical utility and a constant worry that the job might not be finished in time for the Apocalypse:

Bacon's great philosophical synthesis had been fragmented: his 'experiments of light' had been transformed into inflamed apocalyptic speculations, his 'experiments of fruit' into the uncontrolled elaboration of gadgets. Still, it was Baconianism of a kind, and the men of the country party took it seriously.[35]

This is not the place to venture an analysis of the full range of Bacon's multi-faceted thought and the even more various interpretations that have been put upon it. But it should be pointed out that the fact that many of the Hartlib circle took a lively interest in Bacon does not mean they followed him (or their conception of him) slavishly or uncritically. In Moriaen's case, there is no firm evidence he had read Bacon at all, and nothing to suggest he set much store by him if he had. The only mention of him in all the surviving letters is a less than ecstatic reaction to a catalogue Hartlib had sent him of Bacon's extant manuscripts: 'there will doubtless be many excellent things among the writings left by Verulam'.[36] Furthermore, I would suggest that there are elements in the pansophic programme that are not so much misunderstandings of Bacon's views as conscious adaptation of or even reaction against them.

What is particularly relevant here is that in at least one important respect Baconian inductivism was recognised as the antithesis of pansophic universality. Inductivism, by definition, proceeds from the particular to the general, requiring long and diligent labour in what Bacon called the 'inclosures of particularity'[37] before proceeding to establish more general axioms. It is true that, in speaking of the ultimate goal of his preliminary Natural Histories, Bacon made promises as grandly universal as any of the claims of Pansophy:

let such a history be once provided and well set forth, and let there be added to it such auxiliary and light-giving experiments as in the very course of interpretation will present themselves or will have to be found out; and the investigation of nature and of all sciences will be the work of a few years.[38]

Yet after all the enthusiasm of his descriptions of data-collection and experimentation, the 'investigation of nature and of all sciences' in 'a few years' sounds here oddly perfunctory, almost an anti-climax. Bacon is more convincing when presenting his method as a quest never to be concluded, 'an <107> endless progress or proficience'.[39] Aubrey's story that Bacon caught his death of cold while trying to refrigerate a chicken is a fitting tribute to the man's devotion to experimental minutiae.[40] In any case, for the purposes of the comparison I am drawing here, it is irrelevant whether Bacon saw the achievement of such an overarching synthesis as a grand culmination of his programme or as a distant and not very interesting prospect. In either case, his agenda for the foreseeable future involved a slow, meticulous and cautious progress through particularities that was wholly at odds with the intellectual climate of the 1630s.

Among Hartlib's papers is an anonymous catalogue of natural creatures and phenomena, set out in what is clearly supposed to be a typological sequence, preparatory no doubt to something approaching a Baconian Natural History, and bearing the appealingly self-deprecatory title, 'An imperfect Enumeration of natural thinges'.[41] No 'Natural History', however well conducted, could aspire to higher status. There will always be more to know, and any inductively established rule can only be accounted a hypothesis not yet disproven: once an exception to it is discovered it loses its validity, or at least its universality. Bacon, it has been argued, was more optimistic than this, and genuinely did expect his method to attain ultimately to a standard of absolute verification.[42] This claim, however, met with considerable scepticism from many of the thinkers under discussion here, to whom inductivism seemed a highly unsatisfactory tool for uncovering ultimate, absolute and universal truths. Comenius, for instance, specifically remarked in the Prodromus that Bacon's proposals, though laudable, were inadequate for the project he had in mind. Bacon's inductive method

requireth the continuall industry of many men, and ages, and so is not onely laborious, but seemeth also to be uncertaine in the event and successe thereof […] it is of no great use, or advantage towards our designe of Pansophy, because […] it is onely intended for the discovery of the secrets of Nature, but wee drive and aime at the whole universality of things.[43]

Inductivism (by this analysis at least) starts at the bottom, in the realm of raw data, and works its way up tentatively and speculatively to more general rules that can never be more than provisional. This will seem to some an over-simplification of Bacon's ideas, to others a valid critique of their ability to deliver what they promised. In either case, it was the view Comenius took, and that is the point at issue here. What Pansophy set out to do was to discern from the outset a pattern whereby the lineaments of infinity might be conceptualised, and to grasp (insofar as human capacity permitted) the principles according to which the universe is ordered. This of course presupposes a conviction that the universe is ordered, and my contention is that the mounting (though still largely unformulated) sense that the explosion of information and technology was beginning to undermine that conviction, or that article of faith, was the challenge that made the reassurance of Pansophy seem so urgently necessary. The question raised by much reading of pansophic texts is: if these people are so confident of universal harmony and order, why do they reaffirm it so insistently?


The amount of knowledge available to the scholar was increasing at an unprecedented rate, thanks to the rapid advances in the technology both of scientific investigation itself and of its dissemination in print. Acceptance of the Copernican-Galilean model of the universe did away with the notion of a bounded, and hence potentially knowable, sub-lunary sphere. (Comenius himself throughout his life stubbornly refused to accept the evidence for heliocentricity.) Meanwhile, exploration and microscopy were revealing a hitherto unimagined wealth of subjects for investigation and a hitherto unimagined complexity in what had previously seemed simple and comprehensible organisms. Above all, the enormous increase in the output of literature was making it, for the first time in history, impossible for an educated and tolerably wealthy individual to keep broadly abreast of the current state of knowledge on all subjects in the known world. It was the consequent rise of specialisation, and the increasingly clear demarcations drawn perforce between different branches of knowledge, that led to this sense of losing a grip on the totality, coherence and fundamental unity of Creation. As Comenius put it in the Prodromus,

Good God! what vast volumes are compiled almost of every matter, which if they were laid together, would raise such heapes, that many millions of years would be required to peruse them? […] Hence comes that (so commonly used) parcelling and tearing of learning into peeces, that men making their choyce of this, or that Art, or Science, take no care so much, as to looke into any of the rest.

Who knowes not that this is so? and who sees not, that this distribution, and sharing of Arts, and Sciences, proceeds from this supposition, That it is not possible for the wit of one man to attaine the knowledge of them all?[44]

J.V. Andreæ, an acknowledged inspiration to and keen supporter of Comenius, was similarly distressed by the sheer quantity of information humankind was confronted with, and lamented (to cite another Hartlib-sponsored translation):

Now in the worlds weaknesse, most humane affairs are committed to Learning, the masse whereof is become infinite, which fills not the world so much with truth as falsehood, not so much with solidity as curiosity.[45]

There was, for some Pansophists at least, altogether too much 'curiosity' in the inductive method championed by Bacon: too much emphasis on data and not enough on the broader and nobler vistas promised by their conception of 'right method'. He was, as it were, looking through the wrong end of the newly-invented telescope. Bacon had emphasised that no detail should be omitted from the Natural Histories, specifically prescribing the inclusion of

things the most ordinary, such as it might be thought superfluous to record in writing […] things mean, illiberal, filthy […] things trifling and childish […] and lastly, things which seem over subtle, because they are in themselves of no use.[46]


At least one proponent of 'vulgar Baconianism' found this concern for 'things mean, illiberal, filthy' too vulgar to take:

To mangle tyrannise etc over the Creatures for to trie experiments or to bee imploied so filthily about them as to weigh pisse etc as Verul. prescribes is a meere drudgery curiosity and Impiety and no necessity for it.[47]

The same commentator, who I strongly suspect is Hübner,[48] pursued this criticism of Bacon's excessive zeal for detail:

It is sufficient if wee had a true History out of every country of the meere outward shapes operations etc. and so of all Mechanical things and their several manners of working […] This would not require a sæculum as Verul. projects but within 10. years come to a very great perfection if it were set down by every Country.[49]

There is a suggestion of urgency, or at least of hurry, in this which points up another important ingredient in the positively missionary fervour with which Pansophy was preached, and that is the idea of preparing the way of the Lord. It is important to avoid over-generalisation. Not all Pansophists were millenarians and not all millenarians were Pansophists. Comenius, like Alsted, certainly did hold millenarian views, but that does not mean everyone who supported his overall programme agreed with him on this particular point. As has already been argued, it is not possible to determine what stance either Hartlib or Moriaen took on this subject, and the same can be said of Hübner. It was not, however, necessary to accept any particular exegesis of Biblical prophecy to share a widespread sense that some sort of culmination of human history impended - especially not for men whose homeland was experiencing what was at the time the most destructive war in European history. It was a political and intellectual atmosphere that provided a constant reminder to all readers of Scripture to guard against the error of the foolish virgins of Matthew 25, who were not prepared for the moment of the Bridegroom's arrival, and were shut out from the wedding.[50] The likes of Moriaen and Hübner may not have been committed chiliasts, but the intensely religious terms in which they discussed Pansophy strongly suggest that they viewed it as an essential part of the required preparation. We cannot be sure, and cannot be sure they were sure, what exactly they were preparing for or when exactly they expected it to happen. But we can be fairly sure they thought such preparation incumbent upon them as a matter of some urgency.

A 'sæculum', therefore, could seem an uncomfortably long time. Bacon's choice of a motto from Daniel - 'many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased'[51] - carried an unmistakeably apocalyptic resonance, for this increase of knowledge was to take place in 'the last days'. Comenius in the Prodromus refers twice to the same citation, pointing up the millenarian implications.[52] For those convinced that the last days were already upon them, or might well be, the leisurely time spans envisaged by Bacon for the accomplishment of his research programme were simply not available.

The mere amassing of knowledge, then, was only part of the task in hand: more fundamental, and far more urgent than the inductive method allowed for, was the arrangement of it in such a fashion that the parts might contribute to the comprehension of a whole that was more than their sum. Hence the obsession with 'right order', 'true Logick' and so forth.[53] The aim of Pansophy, however much its proponents might disagree about the means, <110> was to discern the divine pattern governing Creation, to gain access to the heavenly architect's blueprint.

Again, this runs directly counter to the spirit of Bacon, who, with regard to the study of 'the book of God's word' (the Bible) and 'the book of God's works' (Nature), exhorted people to beware that 'they do not unwisely mingle these things together'.[54] Indeed, this was precisely the objection to the Præludia made by Hieronim Broniewski, a lay elder of the Unitas Fratrum, against which Comenius had to defend himself before the synod of the Brethren in 1638 and 39.[55] But for the pansophists, the dangerous presumption of too many thinkers was precisely to leave God out. Comenius's objection to the Pansophia of Peter Lauremberg (Rostock, 1633) was that it 'contained nothing appertaining to divine wisdom or the mysteries of salvation' and was consequently 'unworthy of so sublime a title'.[56] The gravest defect of contemporary education identified in the Prodromus was that studies were 'not sufficiently subordinate to the scope of eternity'.[57] The agriculturalist Gabriel Plattes, whose works abound in strictly utilitarian self-help schemes for the common man,[58] was anonymously criticised because he was 'too confident for the improvement of those secondary meanes as if men should be the lesse beholden to God and so inclines to Atheisme'.[59] It was an error that was becoming alarmingly common:

The greatest philosophers should addresse themselves more to God in prayers and in a holy life and so they should finde out more the secrets of Nature then ever they have done.

Eg. wee see it in Cartes glasses [i.e. Descartes' parabolic lenses] though his demonstrations bee never so punctual yet it will not doe the reason is because that God is so little regarded in this matter as if humane wit were able to accomplish all. And it may bee an obvious smal matter is only wanting which God hides of purpose from his and other eys.[60]

Another important diversion from Bacon, which I suspect may well be a conscious modification of his portrayal of the world, is that to his 'book of God's word' and 'book of God's works', which between them comprehend the whole of knowledge could we but learn to read them aright, Comenius added the book of Man's mind.[61] As he was fond of pointing out, Man was made in God's image. Man is a microcosm, not only of the universe but of God himself. The universe is comprehensible to the individual because the individual mind contains it, and contains God's knowledge of it, in miniature:

[Man] being the last accomplishment of the creation, and the most absolute Image of his Creator, containing in himself onely the perfections of all other things, why should he not at last habituate himselfe to the contemplation of himselfe, and all things else?[62]

The slightly hysterical insistence on order, pattern and universality in the writings of the pansophists represents the microcosm-macrocosm theory in its death throes.

In Hübner's memorably surreal simile,

Truths or things being knowen out of their due order are like to an Elephant's Snout or proboscis. The vse of them cannot bee so evidently <111> and fully bee [sic] perceived as when they are linked together which the Pansophia will best performe.[63]

The sense of this, I take it, is that a stray and unrelated piece of data is as redundant and absurd as this 'proboscis' must have appeared to Europeans seeing an elephant for the first time, but that just as the trunk turns out to be not only useful but absolutely integral once the organic context of the elephant is grasped, so 'due order' will illuminate the interdependence and mutual relevance of all fragments of knowledge. Comenius was to make almost exactly the same point, albeit more prosaically, when defining what he called the 'syncretic' method of analysis:

to understand things in isolation, as men generally do, is a minor part of [the learning process], but to understand the harmony of things and the proportions of all the related parts is the vital factor which brings pure and all-pervading light to men's minds.[64]

The key was method. This quotation is strongly reminiscent of the encyclopedic ideas of Keckermann and Alsted. But it was becoming increasingly apparent to the younger generation that Alsted had not gone nearly far enough in the methodising of his compendium. And Comenius, much as he respected his former teacher, surely had him among others in mind when he complained

that as yet in all the bookes that ever I saw, I could never find any thing answerable unto the amplitude of things; or which would fetch in the whole universality of them within its compasse: whatsoever some Encyclopædias, or Syntaxes, or books of Pansophy, have pretended to in their titles.[65]

What was needed, but had never been attempted, was a method that would so

square and proportion the universall principles of things, that they might be the certain limits to bound in that every-way-streaming variety of things: that so invincible, and unchangeable Truth might discover its universall, and proportionate harmony in all things.[66]

One anonymous German correspondent of Hartlib actually cited Alsted as an exemplar of unmethodical writing, incidentally providing a vivid description of the sense of distress and confusion induced by lacking a predetermined sense of order:

there are many things that one does not know where to put. And so is obliged to leave them buried in the dung of many scattered useless aphorisms, or with Alsted to submit I know not what idiotic farragoes of arts and particulars of systems to the usual misbegotten arrangement, as the confusion of his Encycopædia ought sufficiently to have shown him.[67]

'Farragoes of arts' is a sarcastic reference to the seventh and last book of Alsted's Encyclopædia (1630), entitled 'Farragines disciplinarum' (lit. <112> 'Farragoes of Disciplines'), to which Alsted consigned all those disciplines - from alchemy to 'tabacologia' (the study of tobacco) - which he could not fit into his scheme anywhere else. The writer would have agreed with Howard Hotson, who argues that this represents a disintegration of Alsted's entire system.[68] Hotson well summarises the growing disillusion with Alsted and the encyclopedic tradition among 'the generation of English natural philosophers which reached maturity in the mid-seventeenth century',[69] though as this quotation suggests the trend was by no means exclusive to England.

Another commentator, writing in favour of the notion of Pansophy (though not in this instance with particular reference to Comenius), observed that a work might contain the greatest confusion that had ever been seen in writing, but nonetheless, provided the author treated his proposed subjects solidly and thoroughly, 'we shall nonetheless think him worth more than a thousand Alsteds with all their supposed methods'.[70] Hübner too provides a good example of this growing disillusion: many of Alsted's works, he complained, had 'no direction or reality of notions in them but I know not what at random scribled'.[71]

Ironically, this can now seem a very apt description of much of Hartlib's papers, particularly the Ephemerides in which the remark is recorded. There is an unresolved dichotomy between a genuine appreciation of the multifariousness of raw fact and a passionate need to discern the divine order that would reveal its coherence. Hartlib collected stray facts with tireless zeal, and can often seem less than meticulous in applying Bacon's precept that 'whatever is admitted must be drawn from grave and credible history and trustworthy reports'.[72] But he was generally assiduous in noting his sources, thus providing himself with a means of verification when it came (as it never did) to assembling his database in due order. Maddening as it may be for the later scholar to come across six consecutive entries attributed to 'id.' when the entry preceding them is not attributed to anyone at all, it would be unjust to assume that Hartlib himself would not have known whom he meant. His 'vulgar Baconianism' was not nearly as silly, and certainly not as trivial, as it often looks in the shipwrecked form in which it has come down to us. His papers are the fittingly incomplete record of a desperate last-ditch attempt to reconcile the widening scope of seventeenth-century factual knowledge with faith in the notion of a symmetrical, harmonious and comprehensible universe.

'To Leave No Problem Unsolved': The New Mathematics as a Model for Pansophy[73]

The bullfinch, if J.S. Kuffler's report in the Ephemerides of 1656 is to be believed, is

One of the most Musical birds and that is most susceptible to bee taught any kind of melodies or songs […] as Mr Morian hath found by experience who himself hath taught him Psalms etc etc for which hee hath beene famed over all Amsterdam.[74]


However much this report owes to the inventor's fertile imagination, it is a telling and rather attractive image of the idea of Moriaen built up by his correspondents in England. And it is certainly not inconceivable that Moriaen tried to teach a bullfinch psalm tunes, and possibly believed he was making progress with the project. To persuade a bird to apply its God-given voice to explicitly divine melodies would have provided a splendid example of the divine spark latent in all created things, and of the potential for humankind to apply its divinely-appointed dominion over Nature to the specific end of glorifying God.

Music was regarded at this period as a branch of mathematics - which is emphatically not to say it was seen as a merely abstract or intellectual process. On the contrary, the divine spark discernible in music extended throughout its parent discipline, offering unique insights into the lineaments of Creation. In the idealised pansophic educational programme of J.V. Andreæ's Christianopolis, the mathematical part of the course, described in chapters 61 to 63, begins with arithmetic - for whoever does not know arithmetic knows nothing -, proceeds to geometry - which teaches us to understand 'the pettiness of our little body in the narrow confines of the grave and the tiny ball of this little earth' -, and concludes with the 'secret numbers', comprehensible only by revelation, which provide an insight into the means by which God has measured the universe. From this course, the Christianopolitans proceed directly to music (chapters 64-66), which is depicted as a form of spiritual sustenance.

Moriaen's love of music figures in miniature, like a microcosm, his love of mathematics, and the expansion in the purview of mathematics taking place at the time in turn figures the expansion of learning in general that he and Hartlib anticipated. It was harmony that fascinated him in mathematics, as in music, the abstract beauty of numerical patterns - though in his eyes these patterns were not abstract, they were applicable in all fields of learning, including those that would today be considered the least 'scientific', and were simply easier to discern in this area than in others. Mathematics provided the reassurance that there was an ordered harmony to the universe, for 'in this errant and deceitful world, there is hardly anything sure and certain left us besides mathematics'[75].

The music of the spheres might no longer literally be believed in, since the spheres in question had turned out not to exist, but their metaphorical charge - the concept of universal harmony - was redeemable by mathematics. Moriaen was captivated by the idea that an infinite number of problems can be solved by a single verified principle, and saw in this the model for all subjects after the pansophic reformation of learning. He observed with specific regard to mathematical works sent him by Hartlib that

all my life I have been eager beyond measure for such things, but now even more so, since through them I can picture forth the possibility of Pansophy to myself and others. By this means I have already stopped the mouths of many gainsayers and convinced many doubters.[76]

It was this passion that informed his interest in and sustained support for the leading mathematician among the pansophists, John Pell.[77]


During his lifetime, Pell (1611-85) was held in colossal esteem as a mathematician. As a young man he became a schoolteacher and for a few months in the latter half of 1630 served in Hartlib's abortive school in Chichester. After this folded in November that year, the two men remained friends, and Hartlib finally persuaded the mathematician to settle in London in 1638.[78] Here he became, along with Dury, Haak and Hübner, an intimate of the pansophic group centred on Hartlib. His friends were eager to advance him, but Pell was temperamentally incapable of making any effort for his own promotion or of bringing any project to a conclusion. Or as Aubrey more kindly put it, he was 'naturally averse from suing or stooping much for what he was worthy of', 'no Courtier' and 'a most shiftless man as to worldly affaires'.[79]

From as early as 1639, Moriaen was active in seeking opportunities in the Netherlands for the mathematician, who numbered Dutch among the many languages he was fluent in. His efforts on Pell's behalf earned him the one mention in print that can ever have caught the eye of non-specialists: a passing reference by Haak preserved in Aubrey's Brief Life of the mathematician:

[Pell] communicated to his friends his excellent Idea Matheseos in half a sheet of paper, which got him a great deal of repute, both at home and abroad, but no other special advantage, till Mr John Morian, a very learned and expert Gentleman, gave me [Haak] notice that Hortensius, Mathematical Professor at Amsterdam, was deceased, wishing that our friend Mr Pell might succeed.[80]

This reason the post became vacant was not in fact that Hortensius[81] had died, but that he had been called to Leiden University, though in the event he did die almost immediately after his move. Moriaen recommended Pell as an 'Architectus Pansophiæ' and an ideal replacement for Hortensius to the Burgemeester Albert Burg, and to the English resident at The Hague, William Boswell. Through Hartlib, Moriaen urged tirelessly - and fruitlessly - that Pell should produce concrete evidence of his talents to lend weight to these recommendations. It is a sign of the slight regard in which mathematics was held by traditional academics and the majority of students that the Athenæum's authorities seriously considered letting the post lapse after Hortensius's departure, since his lectures had been so poorly attended,[82] and it was indeed left vacant for four years. But in April 1644, despite Pell's continuing failure to publish anything, Moriaen's persistent lobbying at last bore fruit. At Moriaen's suggestion, Pell took the gamble of moving to Amsterdam in order to recommend himself in person, and was duly offered a probationary year. According to Moriaen, Pell's inaugural lectures were received 'magna cum laude' and the celebrated scholar G.J. Vossius personally congratulated Moriaen on his recommendation.[83] Pell remained in Amsterdam until 1646, when he was invited by the Stadholder Frederik Henrijk to the newly-founded academy at Breda.

Moriaen was one of Pell's first contacts in Amsterdam, and helped the shiftless mathematician to settle in to his new surroundings, taking it on himself to find him lodgings[84] and, no doubt, introducing him to new friends and showing him round the city. The two men remained in close contact during Pell's nine years in the Netherlands (he finally returned to England in 1652 and subsequently became a diplomat under Cromwell, thanks this time to a recommendation from Haak), and were friends for the rest of Moriaen's life. Moriaen deplored the poor remuneration Pell received for his teaching <115> work, and always hoped he might distinguish himself sufficiently in print to attract a patron who would allow him to devote his time entirely to mathematical research and Pansophy.

This was a vain hope. Pell published little besides the Idea mentioned by Aubrey, which is not in itself a mathematical work, and which, furthermore, was brought out not on Pell's initiative but on Hartlib's. His biographer in the old DNB severely remarks that 'Pell's mathematical performance entirely failed to justify his reputation'.[85] But in the late 1630s and early 1640s, Pell was seen as one of Pansophy's rising stars, and after Comenius himself, it was he, Dury and Hübner who were most often cited in Hartlib's publicity material as worthy recipients of prospective sponsorship and likely producers of genuinely pansophical work. His Idea of Mathematics was distributed by Hartlib alongside Dury's writings on exegetical and Hübner's on political method as an exemplar of and advertisement for the vision of universal learning adumbrated in Comenius's Præludia and Prodromus.

Pell's Idea, which Hartlib published in 1638,[86] can fairly be described as an 'idea' in the modern sense of an innovative suggestion, since it consists of a set of concrete proposals for a state-sponsored programme to improve mathematical education and research. But the word 'idea' would have been understood at the time in a rather more elevated and philosophical sense, akin to Comenius's 'præcognita'.[87] It meant the prior conception of the nature of a discipline in broad and abstract terms, the conceptual framework that was to be fleshed out with more specific knowledge. For in the course of suggesting means toward the advancement of learning in this particular field, Pell also depicted an ambitious and distinctly pansophic ideal of what mathematics could and should become. His work argues for three main developments: first, the compilation of a comprehensive mathematical encyclopedia and bibliography; second, the foundation at state expense of a universal mathematical public library-cum-museum containing 'all those bookes, and one instrument of every sort that hath beene invented',[88] to foster interest in the uninitiated and provide research facilities for the expert; and finally the writing of three new text books comprehending the whole of mathematical theory. It is the proposal for the third text book that strikes the truly pansophic note, as this is to deal not only with all past and present mathematical problems but all conceivable problems whatsoever, being

An instruction, shewing how any Mathematician that will take the paines, may prepare himselfe, so, as that he may, though he be utterly destitute of bookes or instruments, resolve any Mathematicall Probleme as exactly as if he had a complete Library by him.[89]

This work was distributed around Europe by Hartlib and Haak:[90] among the recipients were Marin Mersenne and René Descartes. Both these French scholars thought the design a worthy one, but balked at the scale of it. What struck them as unfeasible was not, interestingly, the final pansophic vision of universal method (which Pell himself foresaw would 'perhaps seeme utterly impossible to most'[91]), but the enormous size and expense of the proposed library. Mersenne, however, after making contact with Pell personally, was won round by his arguments and became a wholehearted advocate of the plan.[92] Moriaen received a copy soon after the work's <116> publication in 1638, and it excited him as much as anything Hartlib sent him. This, he thought, was the sort of concrete evidence needed to convince people that workable pansophic schemes could be and were being produced. He was zealous in distributing copies of the tract, and specifically requested other works of a mathematical bent, including those of Thomas Harriott and William Oughtred, for the same purpose of promoting Pansophy.

It was the universal validity of mathematical principle that made it illustrative of Pansophy. The notion that mathematical principle is universally and abstractly valid was itself a relative novelty at the time. Jacob Klein suggests in an illuminating study that the very concept of number was undergoing a radical transformation at precisely this period.[93] Numbers were coming to be seen as concepts in their own right, rather than merely as a means of measuring or counting determinate objects. This he sees as the crucial shift in conceptualisation that made possible the development of modern symbolic algebra. Those who see an infant stage of algebra in the ancient Greek mathematicians are, according to Klein, reading the Greeks anachronistically, according to their own 'intentionality' (that is, 'the mode in which our thought, and also our words, signify or intend their objects'[94]). Euclidean presentation

is not symbolic. It always intends determinate numbers or units of measurement, and it does this without any detour through a 'general notion' or a concept of a 'general magnitude'. […] It does not identify the object represented with the means of its representation, and it does not replace the real determinateness of an object with a possibility of making it determinate, such as would be expressed by a sign which, instead of illustrating a determinate object, would signify possible determinacy.[95]

Modern mathematics, by contrast, which Klein sees as originating with Vieta, Stevin and Descartes, 'turns its attention first and last to method as such. It determines its objects by reflecting on the way in which these objects become accessible through a general method'.[96] Consequently, the focus of mathematical investigation shifts from the solution of given problems to the consideration of how, in the abstract sense, problems are solved: from the ontological to the epistemological. The concept of indeterminate number which makes such a shift of intentionality possible is seen by Klein as first being given conscious, formulated expression in the work of one of Pell's heroes, the earliest of Klein's three founders of modern mathematics, François Viète, or Vieta (1540-1603). It was just such a shift of 'intentionality' that Pell and Moriaen anticipated in the impending establishment of a new, pansophic epistemology.

Pell was not alone in seeing Vieta as an epochal figure in the field. Marin Mersenne, one of the foremost mathematicians of France, who corresponded regularly with Haak and Pell in 1639 and '40, was eager for a single-volume edition of Vieta to be brought out, and commissioned Abraham and Bonaventura Elsevier of Leiden to print it.[97] In 1639 they published an appeal for manuscripts to complete their planned edition.[98] Pell, in his usual fashion, took note of this appeal but did nothing about it. Three years later, he wrote to Hartlib that he had supposed the whole project forgotten 'till Mr Morian's letters to you told us, not only that they [the Elseviers] still continue in the <117> same mind, but also they looked upon me, desiring to know how able or willing I am to further that design of theirs.[99] This is typical of Moriaen's frequent attempts to chivy Pell into producing something, both for his own and the common good. Pell, however, advised that he could 'hear of nothing of Vieta's in manuscript in England but such pieces as are already printed' and, equally typically, recommended other mathematicians who might be able to provide notes.[100]

Jungius's closest friend and colleague at the Hamburg Gymnasium, the mathematics professor Johann Adolf Tassius, was another correspondent who followed enthusiastically the progress of the pansophic project, and he too received a copy of Pell's Idea from Hartlib.[101] Whether he knew the work was by Pell is uncertain (it was published anonymously), but he was certainly as convinced as anyone else of Pell's credentials. He too hoped to see Pell contribute to the Vieta edition, and likewise stressed the transcendent importance of method. His comments are preserved in a report from Dury, who wrote that Tassius

entreated Mr Pell to elaborate the Analyticall Method which Vieta hath begun to shew but hath not perfected. For if wee have (sayth hee & it is true in all Sciences) The true principles once of Theory & the Method of proceeding from principles to find Conclusions infallibly & sufficiently made knowne wee neede noe more for the resolution of all questions that can bee propounded of what kind soever they bee. For Questions & Cases in all Sciences are infinite but the Rules to find out truth in every thing are few.[102]

This perceived centrality of Vieta and the enthusiasm for him shared by both Pell and Moriaen is important to my argument here because Vieta exemplifies with particular clarity how the new mathematics, the new focus not on individual problems but on method as such, could be seen as a model for Pansophy. To quote Klein one last time:

In Vieta's 'general analytic' this symbolic concept of number appears for the first time […] The condition for this whole development is the transformation of the ancient concept of arithmos and its transfer into a new conceptual dimension. The thoroughgoing modification of the means and aims of ancient science which this involves is best characterized by a phrase […] in which Vieta expresses the ultimate problem, the problem proper, of his 'analytical art': 'Analytical art appropriates to itself by right the proud problem of problems, which is: TO LEAVE NO PROBLEM UNSOLVED' ('fastuosum problema problemarum ars Analytice […] iure sibi adrobat, Quod est, NULLUM NON PROBLEMA SOLVERE').[103]

This is precisely the ultimate goal proclaimed (a little less portentously) in Pell's Idea: to 'resolve any Mathematicall Probleme'. It was cited too - verbatim this time - by Moriaen, soon after receiving a copy of the Idea, when enquiring how far Pell's method extended: 'I should be glad to know whether Mr Pell's logic extends as far as Vieta's nullum non problema solvere'.[104] That is to say, was Pell himself capable of putting his Idea into practice? If he was, then surely it would be possible - and this is where the leap of faith comes in - to apply analogous means to attain the same end in all other <118> branches of knowledge. It would be possible, as Dury insisted in a letter to Cheney Culpeper, to produce a treatise showing 'the universall method of ordering the thoughts, to finde out by our own industry any truth as yet unknown, and to resolve any question which may be proposed in nature as the object of a rationall meditation'.[105]

Again, the contrast with Bacon is instructive. Revelling in the concrete and the specific, Bacon clearly thought mathematics rather a bore:

For it being in the nature of the mind of man, to the extreme prejudice of knowledge, to delight in the spacious liberty of generalities, as in a champagne region, and not in the inclosures of particularity; the Mathematics of all other knowledge were the goodliest fields to satisfy that appetite.[106]

But to Moriaen, Dury and Tassius (assuming Dury quoted him accurately), mathematics was not a matter of 'spacious generalities', it was a paradigm of 'right method' such as might be applied in any subject, theology not excepted.

This application of 'method' and the extent to which it was novel, even revolutionary, in the mathematics of the period, is exemplified in Moriaen's mild boast about his own abilities as a mathematics teacher: in a fifteen minute lesson, he claimed, he could teach anyone tolerably competent in addition and multiplication to calculate any power of any number, the secret being that he did not attempt to teach by rote but from first principles.[107] This can only mean that traditional teachers were wasting an extraordinary amount of time on making their students learn powers by rote, like basic multiplication tables - little wonder that 'hardly anyone advanced far beyond the cube'[108] - and that Moriaen's breakthrough was to advise them to calculate powers instead of memorising them. Like many bright ideas, it is staggeringly obvious once it has been seen, yet Moriaen claimed to have caused widespread astonishment with the success of his 'method'. The moral was that the application of proper method would produce results both far more easily and far more reliably than the uttermost exertions of memory. Pansophy similarly aimed not to cram the totality of knowledge into a single head, but to establish a method, a way of looking at the universe, which would enable the student to draw infinite conclusions from the natural symmetry of all things, just as a mathematician using only the basic principles of multiplication can extend a pattern of numbers into infinity:

I say, we would have such a booke compiled, which alone, instead of all, should be the Spense, and Storehouse of Universall Learning […] by reading whereof, Wisdome should of its own accord, spring up in mens minds, by reason of the cleare, distinct and perpetuall coherence of all things […] that so all things which may be known (whether Naturall, Morall, or Artificiall, or even Metaphysicall) may be delivered like unto Mathematical demonstrations, with such evidence and certainty, that there may be no roome left for any doubt to arise.[109]

Dury too, seeking an epistemological tool with which to produce a foolproof method of Scriptural analysis, turned to mathematics as a paradigm. This he described in his Analysis demonstrativa, which Hartlib sent Moriaen in manuscript in March 1639.[110] This method Dury explicitly compared to the <119> infallible procedures of mathematics: it too is 'Methodus […] demonstrandi rem quamlibet a priori cognito' ('a method of demonstrating any thing from a prior knowledge'), and

the end of this Method which I vse is to apprehend it [the wisdom of Scripture] demonstratively that is infallibly./ Soe that a man shal be able to demonstrat every thinge which he doth apprehend to be certainly true a priori noto et infallibili [from things previously and infallibly known] till he come to the first principle of infallibility which noe man can deny, for that by a continuall orderly concatenation of apprehentions the vnderstandinge is ledd by infallible degrees from one intellectual obiect to another till it gather them all vp together in one summe soe that it can all at once apprehend the whole, and all the parts thereof distinctly & conionctly in theire severall relations each to other and each to the makeinge vp of the whole, and I can not compare the manner of proceedinge better then to an arithmeticall addition or multiplication wherein one summe beinge added to another maketh vp the third and many summes or numbers beinge added into one, make vp a greate totall summe, soe it is in this method of apprehendinge intellectuall obiects one obiect is added to another to make vp a third which is common to both and many obiects are reckoned or summed vp together to make a totall summe and generall conclusion of some intellectuall matters[.][111]

Just as Vieta and Pell maintained that the application of right method to mathematics would leave no problem unsolved, so Dury thought the same could be done for the exegesis of Scripture. It seems these musings had their genesis as the resolution of a personal crisis of faith at least four years earlier, at a time when Dury almost despaired of resolving the inherent ambiguities of natural language: 'Dury himself,' wrote Hartlib in 1635, could at one time

finde no certainties almost in any thing, though hee was able to discourse as largely of any thing as any other. Yet solidly and demonstratively hee knew nothing, till hee betooke himself to the Scriptures and lighted upon the infallible way of interpreting them.[112]

Dury apparently claimed to have confuted Descartes' scepticism to his face with this method: though the French philosopher denied the possibility of such certain knowledge, Dury stuck to his guns and Descartes, 'being brought to many absurdities, left of'.[113] This is almost certainly the germ of the idea that later developed into the Analysis demonstrativa, but the ideas and the language used in this later work bear the clear imprint of the Comenian Præludia Hartlib had just published when Dury wrote the Analysis. The mathematical analogy provided Dury with the assurance he needed that a merely human language could be interpreted with absolute and universal certainty, at least so long as it had the guarantee unique to Scripture of an originally divine inspiration. And he pushed the analogy rather further than Comenius had done. Though he foresaw the obvious objection that natural language does not correlate directly to extra-linguistic reality in the same way that mathematical language does, he denied it - not, significantly, by argument, but by an assertion of faith in method:


But here you will say howe can this be done aswell and demonstratively in obiects intellectuall as in arithmeticall numbers? I will answere you that the one can be done aswell as the other yf the right obiects be represented to the minde, and yf the right method of summinge vp the same, be made vse of. For I in this businesse must doe as Mathematicians in theire demonstrative sciences vse to doe, I must take a postulatum to be given or granted vnto me, vpon which the whole grounde of these demonstrations will rest, Nowe this Postulatum is a thinge which I suppose noe rationall man will denye, vizt that yf the vnderstandinge can apprehend truely the simple axiomes of a discourse, and that yf those simple axiomes truely apprehended, be rightly ioyned together, that the compound which resulteth from the same in the vnderstandinge cannot be false; vpon this one Postulatum (which yf neede were might be proved by a Mathematicall demonstration of lynes and figures) relyeth the whole demonstrability of this Analyticall Method.[114]

Dury's method of breaking Scripture down into simple unambiguous axioms, and then recomposing it by 'right method' to arrive infallibly at the text's true meaning met with Moriaen's warm approval, despite his habitual scepticism about Dury's irenical projects. What especially appealed to him in this work was no doubt the eschewal, so unusual in Dury, of consideration of particular doctrines as they had been elaborated, and the return instead to first principles and to a single true method that would transcend all doctrine. And he wholeheartedly agreed that mathematical principle could be applied to religion, despite the scepticism of misguided rationalists such as Descartes:

for many will believe only what they can see, and although they cannot but believe when shown a mathematical certainty, yet will they not believe that such a method can be discovered and practised in religious knowledge, and especially in theology; such a one is M. Descartes.[115]

It has to be said that mathematical concision is not one of the merits of Dury's system. I have quoted it at some length here to illustrate the insistent, almost defensive iteration of the mathematical analogy. Dury wanted to represent the literal sense of Scripture as a series of equations with incontrovertible solutions, and though he did go on to say that there is also a deeper sense accessible only to 'the Spirituall man who hath received vnderstanding to discerne Spirituall things Spiritually',[116] the clear implication is that such a 'spiritual' sense can only be discerned through a precise and unambiguous grasp of the literal.

The attraction of such a view was that if assent could be 'compelled' by 'mathematical' demonstration of the single unambiguous true meaning of Scripture, religious disputation could be done away with at a stroke. It is a strikingly passive form of analysis:

the only Prudency to be vsed in this Method is to bringe a mans vnderstandinge to a spirituall Captivitie vnder the sense of the Letter […] Soe that the vnderstandinge is ledd and becometh wholly passive[:] as an eye that seeketh somethinge is meerely passive in respect of the obiects that it reflecteth vpon, soe must the vnderstandinge be in respect of the words of sacred scripture.[117]


This distinctly echoes the mathematical analogies of the Præludia, and foreshadows the passive assent to mathematical demonstration recommended by Comenius in Panaugia (Universal Light), the second part of the Consultatio:

The ways of light have been so well designed by God's skill that there is nothing vague about them.

They have been made to conform to such unchanging laws that everything about them can be proved with mathematical certainty.

By the same theory the intellectual light of wisdom can rightly be governed by unchanging laws of method so that in the process of teaching and learning nothing is left vague and uncertain but everything operates with mathematical precision.[118]

If you use your eyes, you will see the same thing as I do and there can be no difference between us.[119]

Such was the vision: the laws of method would teach people to see, and once they had learned to see they would realise they were all looking at the same thing. Comenius too repeatedly stressed the irenical nature of his Pansophy, which he predicted would lead to the healing of all schism within Christianity and the conversion of the infidels.[120]

All academic and doctrinal disputes would fall away, the Aristotelian would lie down with the Ramist, the Galenist with the Paracelsian, the Lutheran with the Calvinist, the Jew with the Christian; all would assent to the self-evident truth as meekly and dispassionately as they could all assent to a demonstrable mathematical equation. In fact, as Dury and Moriaen were well aware, people did not always assent meekly to mathematical demonstrations but that, presumably, only meant that at least one of the disputants had not fully grasped the right method. All that was lacking was a proper, incontrovertible exposition of that method, and doubt and division would be at an end, the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the Lord[121] and the stage set for the Second Coming. First, however, that method had to be definitively worked out and humankind in its wilful blindness persuaded to consider it impartially. It was a task Comenius compared to nothing less than the construction of the Tabernacle of the Ark of the Covenant in the wilderness.[122] Moriaen adapted this image to apply it to himself. He cast himself not as one of the craftsmen who actually fashioned the sanctuary, but as someone called to the humbler yet no less necessary task of gathering the material resources necessary for it: 'not only Bezaleel and Aholiab are required for the holy work, but also those who fetch what is needed for the labour.[123]'.

The Collection in the Netherlands

It is not clear whether Moriaen and Hartlib were already in touch when the latter set himself up as a champion of Pansophy, or whether it was the quest for people through whom to distribute copies of the Præludia that first inspired Hartlib to contact Moriaen (perhaps on the recommendation of Dury or Haak). In either case, it is evident from the earliest of Moriaen's surviving letters to Hartlib (13 December 1638) that he had been fairly bombarded with <122> enquiries and publicity relating to the project. The warmth of his response must have been gratifying. Together with Johann Rulice (Rulitius), who was a preacher in the English Church at Amsterdam when Moriaen arrived and moved shortly afterwards to the German,[124] Moriaen soon became the principal agent in the Netherlands for the Hartlib network and all its multifarious activities, particularly the collection for Comenius.

His previous experience of relief work for the Palatine exiles, and the contacts he had made during his previous career, must have made him an ideal candidate for such a role. His years in Frankfurt and Cologne had given him access to the largely clandestine information network of the German Reformed Church, and in the early years of his correspondence with Hartlib, references recur to largely unspecified sources of information in those cities, notably to an agent ('Comißarius') in Frankfurt, and one Budæus in Cologne, through whom he distributed literature sent him by Hartlib.[125] Between May and September of 1641, he and Odilia spent some three months in Cologne and Frankfurt, but no account whatsoever is given of their activities there.

Fundraising for Comenius had been Hartlib's principal occupation since the early 1630s - well before the appearance of the Præludia. His goals, as has been said, were to relieve Comenius's personal circumstances, to publish his works, to supply him with amanuenses and to enable him to visit England. Hartlib also supplied material for the pansophic project: in 1633, Comenius thanked him, through his then collaborator Jan Jonston, for promising to send manuscript copies of (unspecified) works by Bacon.[126] In 1634, a Bohemian student and Austin Friars protégé in London, Jan Sictor, complained to the Austin Friars consistory that Hartlib was organising a private collection for Bohemian exiles.[127] Quite what Sictor had against this is unclear. Perhaps, since he specifically remarked that there were Bohemians who could organise such collections better, this is an example of the rivalry which Ole Grell suggests existed between the different refugee groups,[128] or perhaps he doubted the probity of such privately administered relief work. As Grell remarks, 'Hartlib's claim that he was only obtaining a few pounds for the publication of a work by Comenius hardly sounds credible', - though it should be added we only have Sictor's word for it that Hartlib did make such a claim.[129] It is probably true that Hartlib's collection was for ends related directly to Comenius rather than the exiles in general, but it is doubtful whether the sums involved were as small as Hartlib apparently suggested and certain that his ambitions extended beyond the publication of one book (presumably, as Turnbull suggests, the Præludia[130]).

Similar efforts by Hartlib on behalf of Comenius personally and the promotion of his work continued until 1641 and are partially documented among his surviving papers,[131] but the extent of the efforts made in the Netherlands and Germany, and the network through which they were organised, have hitherto been little investigated. Apart from the spectacular contributions secured from the de Geer family, these efforts admittedly met with only limited success, but that does not diminish their moral value or historical interest.

In 1639. Moriaen approached the newly-arrived Reformed minister in The Hague, Caspar Streso. As a student in England, Streso had benefited from the charity of Austin Friars, and he was later commissioned to distribute donations from the church to the exiles in Anhalt.[132] Streso was initially sceptical of the pansophic project, suspecting the cause was tainted with Socinianism, but Moriaen won him round and established him as the <123> principal organiser of the collection in The Hague. Moriaen was keen to cast the net as far afield as Danzig and approach his friend Georg Sommer, who was preacher there, though this suggestion does not seem to have been followed up. He hoped to persuade the diplomat Johann Heinrich Bisterfeld to encourage his master, Prince Gÿorgÿ Rakóczi of Transylvania, to contribute, though there is no evidence he did so. Moriaen himself repeatedly tried (though again with little success) to coax contributions from the Dutch West and East India companies. A visit from two diplomats from Cologne (to whom Moriaen had presumably been recommended by old colleagues or friends there) provided another opportunity to publicise the cause.[133] As has been mentioned, Moriaen in 1639 arranged publication of a petition entitled An Exhortation for the Worke of Education Intended by Mr Comenius, which has since vanished without trace.[134]

The clearest indication of the leading role played by Moriaen and Rulice in the Continental campaign for Comenius is Hartlib's use of them to distribute the Moravian's work. He gave away almost three hundred copies of what he described as 'the new Comenian Booke' - evidently one of the works he had himself commissioned publication of, either the Præludia, or more probably (Moriaen's letters suggest), its second edition, the Prodromus. Moriaen features twice on Hartlib's list of people to whom he sent this work, first as recipient of five copies, then - doubtless in response to his repeated statements that the more publicity he received the better - as co-recipient, with Rulice, of fifty, the largest single consignment by a considerable margin from the total of almost 300 distributed.[135] Streso was sent five copies by Hartlib and more by Moriaen, who also sent some of his copies to Budæus in Cologne for further distribution.

In more concrete terms, Moriaen could report that by 24 March 1639 he had raised 200 Imperials, which he sent directly to Comenius to cover his immediate needs while waiting for more to come in.[136] This is equivalent to something approaching £50,[137] a substantial sum for a charitable contribution to a single person. Hartlib in the same year passed on £42 7s. 6d. to Comenius from his collection in England.[138] Between them, therefore, Hartlib and Moriaen had raised almost the £100 which an anonymous correspondent whose advice on the funding programme Hartlib had canvassed proposed as adequate annual provision for a reasonably frugal scholar.[139] Hartlib would appear to have passed this suggestion on to both Moriaen and Comenius for comment, since Moriaen was initially confident that 'God willing, we shall indeed find means to provide for two or three collaborators at £100 each'[140] and could later declare himself pleased to hear that Comenius considered either £200 or, at a pinch, precisely this sum, £100 a year, sufficient for his needs.[141] However, the long-term goal was not simply to see Comenius himself tolerably comfortable, but to provide both for him and his family, to employ amanuenses and assistants, and to guarantee the peace and leisure he needed to complete his Pansophy. With this in mind, Moriaen's strategy, like Hartlib's, was to gather in not just one-off contributions, but subscriptions committing the signatories to regular support over a period, the longer the better. This, not surprisingly, proved harder to achieve, but on 14 August 1639, having campaigned for over eight months, he triumphantly reported 'that I have now, God be praised, made a start on the subscription, and can only expect matters to improve. It has been a bitter <124> struggle to reach this point. God be praised it is over, and may He continue to grant his blessing'.[142]

And as Moriaen had anticipated, once the ice had thus been broken, the subscription progressed steadily, if less impressively than he had hoped, for the next three years, until the support of Comenius was single-handedly undertaken by Louis de Geer, the Dutch/Swedish philanthropist Moriaen had first encountered when organising relief work for Palatine exiles in Nürnberg,[143] who was easily the biggest catch of Moriaen's (or, indeed, Hartlib's) quest for patronage. By the end of 1640, Moriaen had enlisted regular support from the four Reformed Churches of Amsterdam (the German, Dutch, French and English).[144] Unfortunately, no statistics are available for the sums promised or collected, apart from Moriaen's mention of securing 40 Imperials from the Amsterdam consistory in March 1640,[145] sending a further 50 Imperials in mid-July 1640,[146] and raising £25, earmarked especially for Hübner, by 13 January 1641.[147] Hartlib's accounts also mention that 'Mr Moriaen sent Libr. 4' in 1641, though this relatively small sum probably represents a personal contribution rather than the proceeds from his collection.[148] He also lent 100 Imperials out of his own pocket for Comenius's family on 23 December 1641.[149] This last piece of generosity turned out, in Moriaen's eyes at least, to be superfluous, as Comenius's plea for funds for his family had also reached de Geer, who had sent 100 Imperials independently. However, the Comeniuses apparently found a use for the full 200, as the debt seems not to have been settled until 1648. In Comenius's letter of 11 September 1647 dismissing his assistant Cyprian Kinner, one of the wide assortment of grounds listed is that he could not afford to pay Kinner on account of his debts, especially to Moriaen, whom he owed 100 Imperials.[150] (An unimpressed Kinner added the marginal note, 'Huh! do you want to take away the salary I have already earned? Settle your debts yourself.'[151]) Moriaen finally reported receipt of the money on 3 February 1648. Comenius appears to have benefited from an interest-free loan for rather more than six years, which may be one of the reasons why Moriaen became perceptibly cooler towards him during the 1640s.[152]

Comenius was never intended to be the sole beneficiary of the collection. Moriaen was keenly aware - as was Comenius himself - that an enterprise of such magnitude could hardly be accomplished by one man, and that Comenius badly needed competent assistance and informed constructive criticism if he was to produce anything more than alluring sketches of his Temple of Wisdom.[153] It would also, he repeatedly pointed out, take more than alluring sketches to persuade sceptical spirits that such an edifice was feasible at all and that Comenius was capable of supervising its construction. In these respects, his views chimed closely with those of Joachim Hübner, who was at once one of Comenius's greatest admirers and severest critics,[154] and it is little wonder Moriaen had such a high regard for the young man's intelligence and perspicuity, and was keener to see him than anyone engaged as Comenius's assistant. Hübner and Comenius between them, he declared, would convince all doubters of the viability of their reform programme.[155] (As things turned out, Hübner never did take up such a post, since de Geer disapproved of him, probably on account of his outspoken refusal to commit himself to any doctrinal allegiance.) Comenius was viewed as first among equals in the pansophical undertaking, and Moriaen was given to reminding Hartlib that there were other needy scholars too: he was particularly keen to see funds <125> provided for Hübner and, above all, Pell, who he hoped would be a direct beneficiary of the Dutch collection:

I hope to send something over, for a start, with my next, that Mr Pell may be kept well disposed and not given cause to rein in the mathematical spirit that seems to be native to him and to turn it to another course, perhaps against the promptings of his own heart and spirit.[156]

Indeed, Moriaen stressed so frequently that the proceeds of the collection should not go to Comenius alone that it seems fair to conjecture he thought Hartlib needed persuading, or at least encouraging, on this point. Comenius made for good publicity, partly no doubt because of the fame of his Janua linguarum and partly because of his representative role as senior of the exiled Unity of Brethren, a community remarkably adept at arousing the sympathy of other Protestant denominations for the sack of their country and their persecution by the Habsburgs without alienating them through doctrinal quibbles or political partisanship. Yet Moriaen urged in almost so many words that while the contributors might think they were donating money for Comenius personally, the administrators of the collection should discreetly see to it that a more equitable distribution was effected:

We ought, as far as possible, to gather whatever comes in here and there into a common purse and distribute it according to need, and not let people send their contributions directly to Mr Comenius himself, otherwise we shall not know where we are, and everything being under his name, he would receive everything and others nothing.[157]

What both men were firmly agreed on was that Leszno was not the place for Comenius. His duties as minister to the Brethren were regarded by many of his West European admirers as a distraction from his far more important pansophic work, worthy enough in themselves but not fit to occupy the time and intellectual resources of a Comenius. As Hübner lamented in 1637: 'I am very sorry to hear that Mr Comenius is now so distracted from his pansophic meditations. If he gives the work up there will hardly be found another to hit on such far-reaching thoughts'.[158] There is also a distinct sense that an eye needed to be kept on the Pansophist. As one collaborator noted, though Comenius had a 'searching pate et vniversal' and was 'very Expedit et Laborious', he was also 'very Inconstant et sicke et changeable. very credulous et easy to bee persuaded and therfore not good to be alone'.[159] He was prone, Moriaen and many others feared, to allow himself to be side-tracked by such subsidiary labours as the writing of school text-books and, worse still, polemical tracts which rendered him partisan in the eyes of his potential audience and thus compromised the universality of his message. This concern was to become an all too familiar refrain among Comenius's supporters as time went on. As late as 1661, Hartlib could complain to John Winthrop that 'Mr Comenius is continualy diverted by particular Controversies of Socinians & others from his main Pansophical Work'.[160] Moriaen's gravest concern as regards the Comenian tendency to wander down blind alleys was aroused by his efforts to invent a perpetuum mobile or perpetual motion machine.


This was a subject Comenius had worked on at least as early as 1632, and to which he kept returning obsessively to the very end of his life.[161] Not that Moriaen ruled out the possibility of such a thing or considered it unimportant. On the contrary, his informed interest in the Drebbel-Kuffler perpetuum mobile in Pfalz-Neuburg has already been mentioned, and he himself had made a practical study of the same problem. This was presumably during his time in Cologne or Nürnberg, though his letters reveal no more about his experiments than that they were unsuccessful.[162] L.E. Harris, in his account of Drebbel's apparatus, maintains that the term was not, at the time, taken literally, but was used to mean merely something that would keep moving of its own accord for an exceptionally long time.[163] This may be true of Drebbel and the Kufflers, for whom the profit motive was a more important spur to invention than philanthropy or philosophic delight (which is not to deny them a measure of the latter qualities). Their primary concern was to satisfy their customers, a goal which in this case would be achieved by devising a motion that approached more nearly to the eternal than the customers themselves. What Comenius and Moriaen were talking about, however, does indeed appear to have been a mechanism which, barring accidents, would keep moving until the end of time. An equally important distinction drawn by Harris, which he claims was not drawn at the time, is that between a machine which maintains itself in motion entirely of its own accord and one which relies on the application of some external force such as variation in atmospheric pressure (which he believes Drebbel's depended on) or the use of chemical reactions. But, as Milada Blekastad's account of Comenius's perpetual motion theory makes plain, Comenius did draw such a distinction, and was quite clear that the application of an external, cosmic and inexhaustible force was the only possible solution to the problem:

He worked on it according to his own theory that no earthly force could power this machine, since all earthly things are transient. By a method not known to us, he aimed to transfer the cosmic 'emanation' or radiance onto three balls of different sizes and different metals, in order to harness 'the power that moves the stars'.[164]

As so often in the schemes of the group - as, indeed, is intrinsic to the very notion of Pansophy - the practical and the metaphysical were inextricably connected.

The Ephemerides are full of excited (and often self-promoting) speculations by a wide range of inventors about the uses to which a perpetuum mobile could be put, most of them assuming (though obviously not in so many words) that it would not only sustain but impart energy. One of the most imaginative was William Potter, who in 1652 claimed to foresee that

by it the vse of Horses will be taken away in reference to Coaches, wagons etc. The ships shal be driven with any wind as swift as any swift Gale. A Fort shal be caried along the seas and doe all manner of execution […] Whole Townes shal bee made a floating vpon the seas. Some thousands of swords shal bee wilded by it to cut slash all manner of ways and to destroy whole Armies.


All manner of Musical Instruments shal be made most harmonically to play by it.

By it may be made to flye throughout the aire.[165]

Moriaen, rather more realistically, recognised that, provided the motion were perfectly regular, it could be used to solve the problem of establishing longitudes, one of the greatest scientific (and commercial) desiderata of the day. What was preventing the establishment of exact longitude was the lack of a sufficiently accurate chronometer with which to establish the relative timings of given celestial phenomena in different places at sea level. If the motion was perpetual and regular, there could be no question of its running down, and hence it would serve as just such an infallible chronometer.[166] But at least as important to Comenius as any such potential practical application was the idea of connecting with the harmony of the cosmos and demonstrating the most basic tenet of all his thought, that humankind is capable of comprehending the universal (and, significantly, the term motus universalis was used interchangeably with motus perpetuus). Though Comenius did not expressly say so, the implication is surely that since God created the Universe as, in effect, a gigantic perpetual motion machine, humankind should be able to replicate this in the 'little world'. He explicitly compared his vision of Pansophy to a perpetuum mobile in which every part is connected with and conducive to the operation of every other.[167] As Blekastad puts it, 'Purely as confirmation of the correctness of a philosophical system it was of the greatest importance'.[168] Moriaen, too, believed that if a truly successful demonstration could be made, it would serve, by analogy, like Vieta's and Pell's universal algebra, to demonstrate the truth of Pansophy. He was more concerned, however, about the converse: a public failure would appear to bring the whole pansophic scheme into disrepute, supplying the likes of Broniewski with additional ammunition to use against Comenius.[169]

It was not, then, the study of perpetual motion itself that Moriaen thought misguided. His argument was that such study should be deferred until the forthcoming reformation of learning had furnished the materials and experimental conditions needed to undertake it successfully. Just as in the case of Descartes' parabolic lenses, dreaming up plausible theories was a pointless activity in the absence of an adequate means of testing them experimentally. In the meantime, Comenius would be far better employed in directing his talents to bringing that reformation about. He was, as it were, trying to display the products of Solomon's House before it had even been built.

Comenius's Visits to England and the Netherlands

Hartlib finally succeeded in persuading Comenius to move to England in 1641, having spent some five years pestering him to do so.[170] This visit, and his subsequent move to Sweden at the invitation of Louis de Geer are already amply documented.[171] None of the extant accounts, however, properly brings out the fact that the whole business was a protracted saga of misunderstandings and conflicting agendas. It is almost impossible to ascertain how far Comenius appreciated the centrality of the role Hartlib was <128> casting him in. He can hardly have believed, as he later claimed he did, that he was being asked to undertake, 'for the glory of God', a sea voyage of over a thousand miles merely for the sake of a few days' private conversation.[172] But it seems equally unlikely he would have embarked on such a venture without making any provision for his wife and family or for the future administration of his ecclesiastical duties if he had seriously anticipated settling indefinitely in England and overseeing an altogether epochal transformation of education and science, all which is clearly no less than Hartlib expected. I incline to the view that he was responding to what he genuinely believed was a divine summons without having any clear idea what it was a summons to.

On arriving in England in September 1641, he promptly formed the mistaken impression that he had been summoned by order of Parliament. The grounds he later gave for this assumption, of which he was never disabused, were that he had been shown a copy of a sermon preached before Parliament on 17 November the previous year by John Gauden, which concluded with warm praise of Comenius and Dury and exhorted the members

to consider, whether it were not worthy the name and honour of this State and Church to invite these men to you [… and] to give them all publike aid and encouragement to goe on and perfect so happy works, which tend so much to the advancing of truth and peace.[173]

If it was not Hartlib himself who told Comenius he had been summoned by Parliament, he evidently did nothing to correct the notion. One of the things that particularly impressed Comenius about the sermon was that Parliament had ordered it to be printed: no one seems to have pointed out to him that this was fairly common practice in the case of Parliamentary fast-day sermons. As Comenius himself recalled the business:

'Friends,' said I, 'ye have acted with more caution than candour in that ye have concealed these things [the supposed parliamentary summons] from me. Had I been apprised of them beforehand, I know not whether I should have been of such a mind as to suffer myself to be brought forward into a theatre so great […] But this I beg of you […]: let us alone among ourselves be known to one another for the few days that we have, for I must be returning.' They answered that my return was impossible this year. For the King was gone into Scotland for the coronation of the Queen: Parliament was adjourned until the King's return […] For me this was grievous hearing.[174]

Trevor-Roper's assertion that Gauden was probably unfamiliar with Comenius's work, and was merely parroting what Pym and other Parliament men close to Hartlib had told him to say, is less than just.[175] Gauden had been a recipient of the 'new Comenian Booke' and on 3 March 1641 he donated £5 to Hartlib's Comenius fund.[176] A letter from Dury which it seems altogether likely is to Gauden suggests a more than passing acquaintance. Obviously written at the time Dury was preparing to leave Amsterdam for England (c. January 1641), it expresses his thanks that 'of yr owne accord yow were pleased to recommend to the most honorable Court of Parlament my negotiation'. Dury intended to set out for England the <129> moment the weather permitted, for 'My eares do tingle at the Newes which I heare of the Parliament'. Meanwhile, Hartlib would advise the addressee of Dury's recommendations as to what should be 'thought vppon in my worke'.[177] Gauden was certainly not an intimate of the circle, and, as Trevor-Roper points out, there is no evidence of his having any further connection with them after Comenius's arrival. It may well be that Pym or his allies proposed him as preacher and knew more or less what he was going to say. That does not mean, however, that he was mouthing a prepared script on a subject he knew nothing about.

There can be no doubt that Gauden's sermon had an impact. The printed version included a marginal note advising that anyone inclined to undertake the promotion of Dury and Comenius might find 'a faire, easie, and safe way of adresses to them both, opened by the Industry and fidelity of Mr. Hartlibe [sic], whose house is in Duks-place in London'.[178] Cheney Culpeper, who was to become one of Hartlib's firmest allies in Parliament, later told him that

I often rejoyce in that hower in which (by a meere occasionall readinge of Dr Gaudens sermon) Gods prouidence brought me to your acquaintance, & hathe synce & dothe still by it bringe me to the acquaintance of others.[179]

But Trevor-Roper's report that as a result of the sermon Hartlib was 'approached' and 'told to invite both Dury and Comenius in the name of "the Parliament of England"' is pure speculation.[180] Hartlib had allies in Parliament who were keen to attract Comenius to these shores, and it may well be that he misrepresented this, deliberately or otherwise, as an official summons, but there is no evidence anyone told him to do so. It is not inconceivable, but neither is it verifiable.

Something must have happened, however, to make Hartlib's oft-repeated invitation take on in June 1641 the extra urgency and sense of divine imperative that proved too much for Comenius to resist. I would suggest that the convening of the Long Parliament in November 1640, followed up by the impeachment of Laud in December and the execution of Strafford the following May, and the apparent prospect of Parliamentary support for educational reform schemes, persuaded the ever-optimistic Hartlib, probably after consultation with Pym and his allies, that the time was ripe to confront Parliament with the appearance of Comenius and Dury in England as a providential fait accompli. The best efforts of Hartlib and Moriaen in the way of private subscriptions were falling far short of the projected £500 a year to maintain Comenius and some four assistants plus funds for printing, binding and distributing the products of their labours. Once Parliament saw Comenius and Dury not just as hypothetical worthy causes otherwise engaged in foreign countries, but as a golden opportunity within its grasp, a physical presence in England free of other commitments and ready to set to work at once on a practical programme, it would surely not balk at voting the modest sum necessary for a work so manifestly worthy and beneficial. No matter if Comenius himself was a little confused about the sequence of cause and effect, provided the divinely appointed goal was attained.

This was the purpose of the petition presented by the group immediately after the reconvening of Parliament on 20 October 1641 - that is, at the first possible opportunity after Comenius's arrival.[181] It was hoped in particular that Parliament would fund a complete overhaul of some educational establishment, recasting it as a centre of experimental and pansophic learning, <130> a 'College of Light' such as Comenius set out to describe in the Via lucis (Way of Light), written during his visit to England. And for a brief while, until the outbreak of the Irish rebellion and the civil wars put paid to all such notions, it must have seemed the plan would indeed bear fruit. Parliament proposed to earmark the Anglican Chelsea College for just such a project.[182] The plan was doubtless to install Comenius as head of this visionary new establishment, or at least as a prominent member of it. At a stroke, the problem of Comenius's maintenance would be solved, and a major step forward taken in the reformation of schooling that in time would spill over into a reformation of the world.

Moriaen, however, while he fully agreed with Hartlib that a semi-permanent transfer of Comenius to north-west Europe was devoutly to be wished, had very different ideas about what should be done with him once established there. Though an enthusiastic backer of the collection from private individuals, he never held with the idea of thrusting Comenius onto the public stage in an attempt to secure state funding. Throughout the discussions on the subject, he repeatedly stressed that the aim must be for Comenius to be relieved of all distractions and allowed to devote himself to his meditations. As he reported having told Burgemeester Burg, 'In my opinion the common good would be better served by his settling in a solitary, out-of-the-way place rather than a populous and much-frequented one'.[183]

But Comenius had his own agenda too, one understandably played down in his biographical accounts, which were composed principally as descriptions or defences of his pansophic work. He was, first and foremost, a minister of the Unity of Brethren and, as Blekastad puts it,

a member of a church in which 'none belongs to himself', its spokesman and senior representative. In these circumstances, his work on Pansophy had to be combined with the greatest responsibility towards the Unity as a whole - or abandoned.[184]

Comenius was given a commission by the seniors of the Brethren to go to England to promote a collection for the exiles. This work had originally been assigned to two other members of the Unity, Daniel Vetter and Jan Felin, who in 1641 were engaged on a similar collection in the Netherlands, but Comenius replaced them as the community's ambassador to England. Comenius later implied that this plan was agreed by the elders merely as a pretext to free him from his ecclesiastical duties for his pansophic mission.[185] This does not strike me as very convincing, nor does it accord very well with his simultaneous claim that he only expected to stay in England for a few days. What interest had the Unity in the reformation of Chelsea College in London? But in any case, whether it was a pretext or not, fund-raising was his official mission, and while there was undoubtedly a strong personal appeal for him in the prospect of meeting such fervent admirers as Hartlib, Hübner, Haak and Dury and discussing his work with them, he was also well aware that these were seasoned and effective organisers of charitable collections. Besides the money they had provided for Comenius himself, Hartlib and Haak in particular had been prominent figures in the relief operation for refugees from the Palatinate. It is evident enough now that the success of that operation depended not so much on the organisational skills of any individual fund-raisers as on a royal sanction gained through the political influence of the senior members of the Austin Friars church and the marshalling of public <131> opinion behind the cause of the Palatine Protestants. But whether this was evident in Leszno in 1641 is very much to be doubted.

Just after his arrival in England, Comenius received yet another invitation: to Sweden this time, to live - indefinitely, it would seem - as the guest of Moriaen's old associate Louis de Geer. The motivation behind de Geer's proposal is harder to pinpoint. His offer of accommodation and funding was issued, through Hotton and Rulice, in late summer 1641, probably in September, just as Comenius was on his way to England.[186] The Dutch entrepreneur was then resident in Finspång, near Stockholm, and eager to gather about him a group of learned and pious men, among whom he hoped Comenius would feature.[187] There is no evidence exactly what form and function de Geer envisaged for the group, but such societies were very much in vogue at the time. Patronage of them tended to be the province of the nobility: typical examples are Prince Moritz of Hessen's 'Orden der Temperanz' (Order of Temperance), Prince Ludwig of Anhalt's 'Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft' (Fruit-bearing Society), and Princess Anna Sophia von Schwarzburg-Rudolfstadt's 'Tugendliche Gesellschaft' (Virtuous Society); at the same time that de Geer was casting around for pious and learned company, J.V. Andreæ was doing his utmost to interest Duke August the Younger of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel in fulfilling a similar role for his projected 'Societas Christiana'. De Geer, a Swedish citizen since 1627, was ennobled as Baron of Finspång in 1641 for services to Sweden (principally loans of money for the war effort). The inauguration of such a society would have set the seal on his new status, besides constituting another of the good works which, as a devout Calvinist, he was assiduous in performing (throughout his career, ten per cent of his profits were set aside for charity). Moriaen, however, was firmly convinced that de Geer, out of the sheer goodness of his heart and devotion to his God, expected nothing at all from Comenius for himself, not even his conversation: he simply wished to enable him to continue laying the foundations of the reformation envisaged by Moriaen and Hartlib, either in Sweden or elsewhere, as might be deemed best by Comenius himself and his collaborators.

The kindest description that can be given of Hartlib's reply to de Geer, ostensibly at least on Comenius's behalf, is polite prevarication.[188] Its gist is this: delighted as he is by the invitation, Comenius's commitments to the friends in England he has travelled so far to see, together with his obligations to the Moravian exiles whose cause he is to plead there, not to mention his advanced years[189] and need of privacy, compel him to remain where he is for the time being at least. These excuses, especially coming from Hartlib, are not overly convincing.

Hartlib's account of Comenius's situation contrasts strikingly with Comenius's own. Though there can be no doubt of the genuine friendship and affection between the two men, there were certainly times when Comenius felt he was being pushed around by Hartlib. Some years later, upset by a lapse in Hartlib's correspondence, he gave a rather ponderously jesting depiction of himself as a recalcitrant ass and Hartlib as a driver who had given up shouting at the beast because doing so had no effect.[190] If there is a healthy dose of self-mockery in this, it is not exactly complimentary to Hartlib either, and in the years 1637-41, the driver had been shouting his loudest. First, he published the Præludia without bothering to ask for <132> Comenius's authorisation, then (seconded by Moriaen, Hotton and others) he pestered him into setting off for England: if Comenius's account is accurate, one might almost say bullied him into it.[191] Finally, having persuaded him to come, he exposed him at once to the full glare of public attention, in direct contradiction to his express wishes. Comenius later told Hartlib bluntly - and it must have hurt:

If there be one man who has brought hindrance to the pansophic study, you are he, friend, in not allowing me to do what I had to do in peace, but dragging me forth into so broad a light, and setting me in the midst of such great crowds.[192]

Effectively, Hartlib was telling de Geer that Comenius was not prepared to go through any of the things Hartlib himself had just put him through.

Comenius was highly suggestible to the idea of divine imperatives, terrified of contravening the will of God. It was a side of his character that later became particularly obvious, and particularly damaging to his reputation, in the business of the composition and eventual publication of the prophetic book Lux in tenebris. Comenius had begun collecting the visions of Christoph Kotter and Christina Poniatovská in the 1620s.[193] These were overtly political and explicitly topical prophecies dealing with the restoration of Friedrich V of the Palatinate, the liberation of Bohemia and the overthrow of the Habsburgs. In 1633, a synod of the Unity placed a ban on such controversial material. Nonetheless, despite the fact the ban had not been lifted, Comenius supplemented his collection some twenty years later with a new set of visions in the same vein, this time from another member of the Unity, Mikulás Drabik (Drabicius), who was insistent Comenius should bring them to press. The publication of all three bodies of prophecy, under the title Lux in tenebris, took place in 1657, after a long inner struggle as Comenius debated with himself whether the visions might not be inspired by evil spirits (he had ruled out the possibility of fraud on the grounds that none of the visionaries was educated enough to perpetrate one so convincingly). In the end, Drabik's insistence that the same God who had sent him the visions demanded also that they should be published was more than Comenius's scepticism could withstand. There can be no doubt that there was a political motive to the timing of the publication, which was part of the propaganda drive behind the bid to replace the recently deceased Emperor Ferdinand III, whose only son had narrowly and fortuitously predeceased him, with a Protestant emperor such as Carolus Gustavus of Sweden, or at least an anti-Habsburg such as Louis XIV of France. But this is not to deny a genuine religious impulse to Comenius, for whom religious and political considerations were indivisible. If God chose to act in the world by issuing self-fulfilling prophecies, it was not for Comenius to obstruct him.[194] Wilhelmus Rood goes so far as to say that Drabik 'urged Comenius with threats to publish his visions',[195] but it was God, not Drabik, whom Comenius was afraid to contradict.

The relevance of the Lux in tenebris controversy to the much earlier visit to England is that if Drabik can be accused of morally blackmailing Comenius (for whatever motives), Hartlib employed very similar pressures in persuading him to visit this island. That the visit to England has generally received so much better a press than Lux in tenebris, both from contemporaries and subsequent commentators, does not alter this fact. <133> Comenius's own account of the event makes very clear how shrewdly Hartlib played on his sense of divine mission:

now he invited me to London, now to Amsterdam, or to Hamburg (yea even to Stettin or Danzig, if I wished); he would come there with his friends. But it could not be, because I was now tied to my place by the character of the office I had undertaken.[196] At last in 1641 in the month of July, I received three letters from him (written in the same tenor but dispatched by three different routes), in which he insisted on my coming to him at once, and thus he concluded: 'Come, come, come: it is for the glory of God: deliberate not longer with flesh and blood.' What could I do?[197]

At this stage at least, Hartlib saw Comenius as a lynchpin of the divine purpose he thought was being worked out before his eyes. Throughout his life, he was much taken with the idea that England would be the launching pad of the Third Reformation. For him, Comenius was the right man, England the right place, and 1641 the right time, and having finally, with considerable effort, succeeded in establishing him there, he was extremely reluctant to relinquish him.

Moriaen, thanks perhaps to the perspective lent by distance, seems to have discerned more clearly than Hartlib the way the situation in England was developing, even though it was Hartlib who was his principal informant on the subject. This is not to claim any particular subtlety or insight for Moriaen's political thought. His comments on the developments on the eve of the civil wars follow the standard Puritan line: Strafford, Laud and their supporters are the villains of the piece, who have misguided the King and led him into a factitious quarrel with Parliament based on misunderstandings and misrepresentations. What he foresaw more clearly than Hartlib was just how severe that quarrel would become. He interpreted such matters in distinctly apocalyptic terms:

We can guess for ourselves how the true-hearted among you must be feeling. We shall be eager above all to hear what the book with seven seals will bring to light, and we suppose that each of the seven seals will signify a particular woe which will be brought down on the head of such or such a one.[198]

But whereas Hartlib in mid-1641 seems to have believed that with Strafford and Laud out of the way and the Long Parliament convened things had taken a decisive turn for the better, Moriaen - though he had initially favoured England as a destination for Comenius - remained sceptical.

Moriaen learned of the invitation to Sweden on 3 October 1641, and wrote to Hartlib the same day endorsing the plan wholeheartedly.[199] The few mild reservations expressed probably sprang from a sense that Hartlib's feelings might be hurt, or his hopes disappointed, by the suggestion that London was not the ideal location after all, for he followed them with a resounding commendation of de Geer, and with more well-judged scepticism about the prospects for funding by the English Parliament. Writing to Comenius <134> himself a week later, he was totally unequivocal in his support for the Swedish plan.[200]

When he discovered what Hartlib's response had been, he made no attempt to disguise his annoyance, declaring roundly that Hartlib had completely misinterpreted the proposal, and heavily implying that he had done so wilfully. 'I wrote plainly', he observed, with unconcealed exasperation, 'that he would be without official obligations or hindrances there, committed only to company, conversation and counsel, with sufficient opportunity to devote himself solely and simply to his studies.[201] Rulice felt the same, and wrote in almost identical terms:

you have completely misunderstood us: Herr de Geer desires nothing in the world from Mr Comenius but the chance to talk with him from time to time. Mr Comenius is to be well provided for there, with ample opportunity to correspond with others at no expense, and leisure to perfect his meditations.[202]

Moriaen also had personal experience of the generosity de Geer was prepared to bestow on a cause he deemed worthy: as administrator of the Palatine relief project he had seen de Geer contribute over 20,000 Imperials to the cause.[203] Though every bit as convinced as Hartlib that to support Comenius was to undertake missionary work in the cause of world reformation, he was a good deal less optimistic about the potential of England to supply the necessary conditions for this. On 18 November, he again urged acceptance of de Geer's plan, which Hübner (who at this stage was seen as a likely beneficiary of it) by then also approved. He observed in somewhat more down-to-earth fashion this time,

I cannot see that things in England have yet reached the point I should like to see them at, and I fear that if God does not graciously prevent it there may be bloodied heads'.[204]

By this time, the Irish Rebellion had broken out, and in the end it was political circumstance rather than persuasive argument that determined the outcome. But Hartlib was still receiving donations and hoping for a positive response from Parliament;[205] as late as 23 December Moriaen was still nagging him to come to a decision.[206] By the spring of 1642 even Hartlib must have realised that major state subsidy from England in the near future was a forlorn hope, and Comenius's move to Sweden was settled, though his friends in England continued to insist he should return as soon as circumstances permitted.[207]

En route to Sweden, Comenius spent a month travelling round the Netherlands visiting friends and supporters there (June-July 1642). The event was, however, for Moriaen at least, something of an anti-climax. He would have liked to lodge Comenius himself, but de Geer's son Laurens was on hand to provide much more luxurious accommodation than Moriaen could run to. The crush to see the Pansophist was so great that personal conversation of any depth and intimacy was precluded. Perhaps it was some consolation to Moriaen that all this bore witness to the success of his propaganda drive, but there is no mistaking the sense of let-down in his accounts of their meeting.[208] He was set to work with Budæus (who had evidently joined Moriaen in Amsterdam) examining Comenius's perpetual motion theory, the very part of all the latter's undertakings he had always expressed the greatest scepticism <135> about, and he found it even less satisfactory than he had anticipated. Comenius had almost entirely neglected to provide any experimental demonstration, and Moriaen was openly scathing about the 'derisory models' ('liederliche modellen') he and Budæus were expected to improve on.[209] A few months later, the ailing Budæus was dead, and a somewhat jaundiced Moriaen declared himself heartily sick of perpetual motion, for which he now had 'little time and not much more stomach'.[210] The metaphysical dimension so prominent in his earlier speculations on the subject is conspicuously absent from this letter. In its place is redoubled concern that Comenius would be discredited if his work in the field became known, either through his own publications or through loose talk by his associates. The very thought of the device can only have served to call to Moriaen's mind his dead friend Budæus and his frustrated hopes of Comenius.

The Swedish project, too, failed utterly to live up to Moriaen's expectations. He had envisaged Comenius settled in comfort and tranquility, free from any distraction other than the stimulating conversation of scholars, secure in de Geer's disinterested munificence, supported by able assistants and labouring diligently at his Janua rerum, not producing sketches of Pansophy any more but the thing itself. In the event, Comenius spent only two months in Sweden, largely taken up with meeting dignitaries such as the effective ruler Chancellor Oxenstierna, the teenage Queen Christina, and Dury's old ally the Lutheran irenicist Johannes Matthiæ, Bishop of Strengnäs.

Oxenstierna came out against de Geer's plan to keep Comenius in Sweden, ostensibly on the grounds that his views on the fundamental goodness of human nature and his particular brand of chiliasm, envisaging a golden age on earth before the Last Judgment, would lead to ructions with the established Lutheran clergy. Instead he suggested Elblag, Hartlib's birthplace, at this time under Swedish occupation, where the climate of religious tolerance would provide a more congenial atmosphere for Comenius to work in.[211] There may have been some truth in this, but Oxenstierna's principal interest was almost certainly in having an informed agent in an area of crucial strategic importance to Sweden. Moriaen's second-hand report of this, summarising a letter from Louis de Geer, and of Oxenstierna's alleged suggestion that the Swedish state should bear some of Comenius's costs, is exceptionally bald and non-committal, in marked contrast to his passionate arguments in favour of the original plan.[212]

The nature of Comenius's undertakings to Oxenstierna remains unknown, but in the event either Oxenstierna changed his mind about state funding or Comenius balked at such an overt commitment to a nation whose intentions in the Baltic were viewed with suspicion, to say the least, by his own exiled brethren there, and it was de Geer who, having reluctantly followed Oxenstierna's advice and given up his plan for a learned society, nonetheless took the whole charge upon himself. He provided Comenius with 1000 Imperials annually, and agreed moreover to donate the same annual sum to the Unity of Brethren.[213] This still only amounts to about half the thousand pounds a year Moriaen had said de Geer could easily spare, but represents a far larger income than what Hartlib, and indeed Comenius himself, had declared adequate (though the funding of assistants remained a problem), and also meant that Comenius could claim a measure of success in his official fundraising mission.


Where Moriaen had completely misjudged de Geer, however, was in the matter of the return he expected on his investment. One of the often-invoked advantages of public collections, however troublesome they might be to organise, was that the contributors, not being an organised body, could lay no proprietorial claim to the recipient's work and exercise no control over it: they simply had to trust the organisers' judgment (and honesty) in the use of their money. Private patrons, however generous, were a different matter, and here de Geer turned out to be less exceptional than Moriaen had imagined. His (purely verbal) contract with Comenius, as the latter much later recalled it,[214] committed him to work in the first place on educational materials for Sweden. This was precisely the sort of commitment to sub-pansophic drudgery Hartlib had been so chary of, while Moriaen had strongly insisted no such risk was being run. Why de Geer suddenly became so interested in Swedish educational reform, which had not been mentioned in his original invitation, is not clear: perhaps he felt that if he was not to have his learned society he would distinguish himself in another way in the eyes of his adopted nation; perhaps he had simply never seen Comenius's mission in quite such exalted terms as the Hartlibians. Whatever the reason, the commitment was made.

Moriaen seems to have been completely unaware of this contract. Like many others associated with the business, he was surprised and deeply disappointed to find that Comenius continued to busy himself with schoolbooks. He had always nursed a fear that the high expectations he and his collaborators were raising might not be met: 'We have heaped great praise on him up to now, and raised high hopes in ourselves and others. I devoutly wish our hopes and praise may not be turned to scorn'.[215] During his first year in Elblag, Comenius asked his associates to keep correspondence to a minimum in order that he might not be distracted.[216] Having waited eagerly to see what fruits might be borne of this retirement, Moriaen found his worst suspicions realised:

I hear that he has only revised his Janua and Vestibulum, and put them into a different form: this is indeed a good work, but it is not what we have waited for so long and raised such hopes of in others. I hope there is more to it than this, or we should fairly be put to shame that nothing should come of it but such schoolbooks.[217]

This marked the end of Moriaen's active involvement in the pansophic project. In part this was because, thanks to the de Geers, the funding problem was substantially solved. But to a much larger extent, it reflected a deep disappointment, a loss of faith on Moriaen's part in Comenius's ability, or perhaps in his willingness, to fulfil the task. The very notion of Pansophy seems to have lost its appeal. Comenius mentioned in May 1646 that Moriaen was in a position to send Hartlib copies of his works as they came off the press in Amsterdam,[218] but there is no evidence of his having done so; as will be argued later, there is reason to doubt whether Moriaen was in touch with Hartlib at all at that date. His hopes were raised again somewhat many years later by an encouraging report from Magnus Hesenthaler of Comenius's work on the Consultatio catholica,[219] but the passionate faith of the late 1630s was gone for good. There is a very striking drop in the number of references to <137> Comenius from this point on, and as for the word pansophia, it never occurs again in Moriaen's surviving correspondence.

In 1656, a decade and a half after his visit to England, Comenius finally settled in Amsterdam, under the patronage of Louis de Geer's son Laurens, and remained there for the rest of his life. Moriaen evinced singularly little response to this event. Though Moriaen had by this time left Amsterdam for Arnhem, contact between the two would have been made a great deal easier than ever before had they so wished. Moriaen at least manifestly did not. On a visit to Amsterdam at the beginning of 1657, he did indeed briefly meet Comenius on the street, and arranged to spend the whole of the following day with him. He changed his mind, however (or so he later told Hartlib), because a chill was setting in and Odilia was eager to return to Arnhem. Instead of keeping his appointment, he went back home.[220] It should be said that the danger of becoming snowbound was not one to be taken lightly. Nevertheless, for a man in 1657 to cite the weather and his wife's wishes as grounds for breaking an appointment with someone whose cause he had earlier regarded as the defining purpose of his very existence must be seen as a conspicuous snub.

The notion of universal wisdom itself, however, by no means vanished from Moriaen's outlook. His disillusion was not with the ideal itself but with Comenius's particular scheme for realising it. His personal history after 1642 is dominated by a series of attempts to attain by other means the crucial pansophic goals of 'right method' and universal harmony.

[1] The secondary literature on Comenius is enormous. The fullest biographical account is Milada Blekastad's Comenius: Versuch eines Umrisses von Leben, Werk und Schicksal des Jan Amos Komensky (Oslo and Prague, 1969), which despite its modest title is a detailed and exhaustive account of his life and work, based heavily and usefully (though at times somewhat uncritically) on Comenius's correspondence and autobiographical writings. Still valuable are the many studies written nearly a century ago by Jan Kvačala, particularly Die Pädagogische Reform des Comenius in Deutschland bis zum Ausgange des XVII Jahrhunderts (Monumenta Germaniæ Pædagogica XVII (Berlin, 1903) and XXII (Berlin, 1904)). The standard English sources are Turnbull, HDC part 3 (342-464), Webster, Great Instauration and 'Introduction' to Samuel Hartlib and the Advancement of Learning (Cambridge, 1970), and Hugh Trevor-Roper's rather dismissive and anglocentric 'Three Foreigners: The Philosophers of the Puritan Revolution', in his Religion, the Reformation and Social Change (London, 1967), 237-293 (on Hartlib, Dury and Comenius and their impact in England). Wilhelmus Rood's Comenius and the Low Countries: Some Aspects of the Life and Work of a Czech Exile in the Seventeenth Century (Amsterdam, 1970) contains useful material on his stay in the Netherlands and his relations with the de Geer family (discussed later in this chapter). There are vast numbers of articles on more specific aspects of his life, thought and publishing history in the journals Monatshefte der Comeniusgesellschaft, Acta Comeniana and Studia Comeniana et Historica. See also Dagmar Čapková, 'Comenius and his Ideals: Escape from the Labyrinth', SHUR, 75-92, and, on the background to his thought, Howard Hotson, Johann Heinrich Alsted: Encyclopedism, Millenarianism and the Second Reformation in Germany (PhD thesis, Oxford, 1991), which has developed since this book was first published into Johann Heirich Alsted 1588-1638: Between Renaissance, Reformation and Universal Reform (Oxford, 2000). The references given below are to the thesis. Alsted's influence on the circle is further discussed in Hotson's 'Philosophical Pedagogy in Reformed Central Europe between Ramus and Comenius: a survey of the continental background of the "Three Foreigners"', SHUR, 29-50. See also John Sadler: Comenius (London, 1969), and Daniel Murphy, Comenius: A Critical Reassessment of his Life and Work (Cambridge, 1995). A critical and very stimulating account of Comenius's concept of education in the context of his millenarian Utopianism forms a major strand of James Holstun's A Rational Millennium: Puritan Utopias of Seventeenth-Century England and America (New York and Oxford, 1987).

[2] 'das werck, dz ich nach Gottes schickung auf mich genommen vnd nun mehr mein ganzes werck davon mache zum gemeinen besten […] ich hab mich gleichsam darzu abgesondert vnd devotiret' - Moriaen to ? (probably Hartlib), 16 June 1639, HP 37/25B.

[3] 'der welt nie nichts nuzlichers seÿe angetragen worden als eben diß werckh als dardurch die Schulen vnd vermittelst derselben Ecclesia respublica mundus reformirt werden sollen vnd können' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 28 Oct. 1641, HP 37/92A.

[4] Blekastad, Comenius, 23-48. He was at Herborn from 1611-13, at Heidelberg from 1613-14.

[5] See Hotson, Johann Heinrich Alsted, 23.

[6] Ibid., 17-20.

[7] See Peter Dear, 'The Church and the New Philosophy', Science, Culture and Popular Belief in the Renaissance, ed. Stephen Pumfrey, Paolo L. Rossi and Maurice Slawinski (Manchester and New York, 1991), 119-139, pp. 133-4. The curriculum covered (in order) Greek and Latin grammar and rhetoric, logic, ethics, mathematics (including optics and astronomy), physics and metaphysics. The prominent place of mathematics was a novelty, but in other respects this is very close to the standard university curriculum.

[8] 'Ich wundere mich offtmahl vber der Iesuiten industriam fatalem […] diese hetten wan sie sich die inquisition der natur so sehr angelegen sein laßen alß den dominium in conscientias, vill guts thun können' - Pöhmer to Hartlib, 25 March 1638, HP 59/10/7A.

[9] Dury to ?, 26 Nov. 1635, HP 3/4/37B.

[10] As is stressed (and demonstrated) by Hotson, Alsted, passim.

[11] Reproduced in KK II, 234; see Blekastad, Comenius, 33-35.

[12] Cf. Comenius, Pansophiæ prodromus (London, 1639), translated either by or by command of Hartlib, together with the Conatuum pansophicorum dilucidatio (London, 1639), as A Reformation of Schooles (London, 1642): 'Let even the Gentiles, and Arabians therefore be admitted to furnish us with such ornaments, as they are able for the beauty of this house of God' (p. 33).

[13] Comenius to [Hartlib?], 3 Aug. 1656, HP 7/99/1A: 'opus erit reparari jacturam eorum Authorum qvi mihi adhuc erunt consulendi […] Verulamii opera intelligo, & L. Vivis, & Campanellæ omnia, etc'. Vives (1492-1540) was one of the leading humanist scholars of his day and a favourite pupil of Erasmus: he particularly concerned himself with education and foreshadowed many of the ideas of Alsted, Bacon and Comenius, such as pre-school education, education of women, the primacy of sense impressions over intellect, the dignity of the vernacular and above all the importance of rendering learning applicable to life both practically and ethically. See Foster Watson, Vives on Education (Cambridge, 1913). Campanella (1568-1639) combined an idiosyncratic Neo-Platonism and a fascination with the Renaissance Art of Memory with impassioned championship of new experimental science. See Luigi Firpo's Introduction to Campanella, La Cité du Soleil (tr. Arnaud Tripet, Geneva, 1972) for a succinct but incisive account of his life and thought; also Frances Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (London, 1964) and The Art of Memory (London, 1966), and Paolo Rossi, Clavis Universalis (Bologna, 1983). On Campanella's reception among Comenians, see Martin Mulsow, 'Sociabilitas. Zu einem Kontext der Campanella-Rezeption im 17. Jahrhundert', Studia Bruniana et Campanelliana, forthcoming. My thanks to Dr Mulsow for supplying me with an advance copy of this very detailed and interesting study. On Bacon and Comenius, see below, pp. 105-10.

[14] Reipublicæ Christianopolitanæ descriptio (Straßburg, 1619). Of the hundred short chapters of this work, ch. 51-78 are devoted exclusively to describing the Christianopolitan education system, while more general educational ideas are discussed throughout. Andreæ translated a work of Vives on poor relief, De subventione pauperum, as Johann Ludwig Vives von Versorgung der Armen (Durlach, 1627).

[15] Campanella, Civitas Solis (1623, but written c. 1602). Andræ's Utopia is often regarded as a pale imitation of Campanella's, but seems to me more like a constructive criticism of it.

[16] HP 37/167 A-B and 37/5B-6A. On Bodinus's ideas, see W. Toischer, 'Die Didaktik des Elias Bodinus', Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für deutsche Erziehungs- und Schulgeschichte 9 (1899), 209-229 (but Toischer is wrong in his conjecture (p. 217) that Bodinus died soon after 1626; according to Blekastad he died in Prussia in 1651 (Comenius, 334)). It was his Bericht von der Natur- und Vernunfftmessigen Didactica oder Lehr-Kunst (Hamburg, 1621) that gave Comenius the idea of composing the original Czech version of his Didactica magna (Opera didactica omnia I, 3). The work bears the very proto-Comenian motto 'Omnia faciliora facit Ratio, Ordo et Modus' ('Everything is made easier by Reason, Order and Method').

[17] On Ratke, and the reactions to him of both Comenius and Jungius, see G.E. Guhrauer, Joachim Jungius und sein Zeitalter (Stuttgart and Tübingen, 1850), 23-43.

[18] Methodus institutionis nova quadruplex (Leipzig, 1617).

[19] A Reformation of Schooles, 77. Cf. the subtitle of the Didactica magna (Amsterdam, 1657, but written 1637-8): the work claims to exhibit 'Universale Omnes Omnia docendi artificium' ('the universal art of teaching all things to all people').

[20] See Hotson, Alsted, 91-158 on the genesis of the Encyclopædia.

[21] See Blekastad, Comenius, 170-76 for a fuller account of the genesis and ethos of the Janua, which Blekastad describes as being - in the Alstedian sense - 'eine kleine Enzyklopädie' (173). See also Comenius's own account in Continuatio admonitionis fraternæ de temperando charitate zelo […] ad S. Maresium (Amsterdam, 1670), English translation by Agneta Lunggren in Milada Blekastad (ed.), Comenius' Självbiografi (Stockholm, 1975), 144-6. This is Comenius's most important autobiographical work. The section dealing with his visit to England also exists in English translation in R.F. Young, Comenius in England (Oxford and London, 1932), 25-51. Despite its somewhat mannered archaism, Young's translation is stylistically far superior to Lunggren's (apart from a number of passages lifted verbatim from Young), which it is painfully obvious was never checked by a native speaker. However, Lunggren's is more literal and includes the whole text, and is furnished with excellent notes.

[22] Blekastad, Comenius, 200-203. As she argues, it was almost certainly the work's efficacy as a pedagogical tool that recommended it to the majority of teachers, rather than its philosophical underpinning.

[23] Comenius' Självbiografi, 145-147.

[24] Comenius' Självbiografi, 147.

[25] Självbiografi, 148 (cf. Young, Comenius in England, 31). See also A Reformation of Schooles, 46-7.

[26] See Comenius to Hartlib, 26 Jan. 1638, in O. Odlozilík, Casopis Matice Moravské 52 (1928), 164; condensed German translation by Blekastad, Comenius, 255-6. Comenius mentioned in this letter that he and Hartlib had been in touch for six years. Their first contact (a letter from Hartlib with a financial contribution) is described in Självbiografi, 149, but no exact date is given.

[27] See above, p. 19, and the literature cited there.

[28] 'das es in causa Antiliana dahin beschloßen das man institutionem puerorum vorauß treiben vnd alß ein fundament zu diesem legen müste' - Fridwald to Hartlib, 10 Feb. 1628, HP 27/34/1A.

[29] 'weill der H. hierinnen ettwas sonderliches præstiret' - ibid. See also Turnbull, 'John Hall's Letters to Samuel Hartlib', Review of English Studies New Series 4 (1953), 221-33.

[30] HDC, 16-19, 36-9.

[31] Described in detail below, pp. 127-34.

[32] Comenius to Hartlib, 17 Feb. 1641, in two scribal copies at HP 7/84/1B-3B and 7/84/6A-8A; English summary in HDC, 350.

[33] Trevor-Roper, 'Three Foreigners', passim.

[34] Trevor-Roper is very fond of this expression: cf. 'Three Foreigners', 258 and 289; 'Introduction' to Margery Purver, The Royal Society: Concept and Creation (London, 1967), xv and xvi.

[35] 'Three Foreigners', 258. This line of argument is taken furthest by Margery Purver, who sees the Royal Society as having resurrected pure, genuine Baconianism from the fragmented and trivialised form of it propagated by the likes of Hartlib and Haak. She sets out to remove this 'vulgar' stain from the Society's pedigree by denying they had any influence on its genesis at all: see her The Royal Society: Concept and Creation (London, 1967), especially Part Two, chapter 4, 'The Royal Society and "Pansophia"', 193-234. See also Webster's devastating essay review of the book, 'The Origins of the Royal Society', History of Scence 6 (1967), 106-128.

[36] 'vnder des Verulamij nachgelaßenen schrifften werden ohne zweiffel viel treffliche sachen sein' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 26 May 1639, HP 37/24A.

[37] Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning Human and Divine, in The Works of Francis Bacon, ed. J. Spedding et al. (London, 1857-74) III, 359.

[38] Bacon, Preparative Towards a Natural and Experimental History (Parasceve), Works IV, 252.

[39] Advancement of Learning, 268.

[40] Andrew Clark (ed.), 'Brief Lives,' chiefly of Contemporaries, set down by John Aubrey, between the Years 1669 and 1696 (Oxford, 1898) I, 75-6.

[41] HP 22/6/2A-5B, undated.

[42] See for instance Margery Purver, The Royal Society: Concept and Creation (London, 1967), which is very impatient with those who see Bacon as a mere fact-finder, and Lisa Jardine, Francis Bacon and the Art of Discourse (Cambridge, 1974).

[43] A Reformation of Schooles, 35.

[44] A Reformation of Schooles, 6.

[45] Johann Valentin Andreæ (trans. John Hall), A Modell of a Christian Society, (original Latin Societas Christianæ imago, Tübingen, 1620, translation London 1647), reprinted by George Turnbull in Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie 74 (1955), 151-161, 155. The original, preserved in a single printed copy in Wolfenbüttel and two manuscript copies in the Hartlib Papers reads: 'Nam cum hoc Mundi senio omnia propemodum humana, literis concredita sint, qvarum moles in immensum excrevit, & non tàm veritate qvàm falsitate, soliditate qvàm Vanitate Orbem adimplevit' (HP 55/19/5B).

[46] Preparative Towards a Natural and Experimental History, Works IV, 258-9. What is under discussion here, it should perhaps be stressed, is the description Bacon gave in this work of what the Natural Histories should be, not the content of the Natural Histories he himself actually produced, which hardly meet his own specifications.

[47] Eph 40, HP 30/4/54A.

[48] The remark is unattributed, but Hübner is much the most frequently cited source in the Ephemerides of 1639 and 40, something like half the entries being attributed him. The opinion and the blunt, somewhat truculent manner of its expression are consistent with Hübner's original writings.

[49] Eph 40, HP 30/4/54B.

[50] Matthew 25:12.

[51] Daniel 12:4, Authorised Version (Bacon cited the Vulgate: 'Multi pertransibunt et augebitur scientia'). Luther, interestingly, gives a completely different reading: 'So werden viel drüber kommen [i.e. über diese Schrift] vnd grossen verstand finden' ('Many will come upon it [this writing] and find great understanding in it'): I am advised that the Authorised Version is the more literal (my thanks to the members of Sheffield University's Classical Hebrew Dictionary Project).

[52] A Reformation of Schooles, 4 and 29. Cf. Popkin, 'The Third Force', 43-5, on the importance of this passage for the influential Millenarian William Twisse, whose Doubting Conscience Resolved (1652) was written for and published by Hartlib.

[53] Cf. Stephen Clucas, 'In Search of the "True Logick": methodological eclecticism among the "Baconian reformers"', SHUR, 51-74.

[54] Advancement of Learning, Works III, 268.

[55] See Blekastad, Comenius, 257-260, and Comenius's own somewhat hyperbolical accounts in a letter to Hartlib of autumn 1638, KK II, 34-36 and MPG I, 139-141 (in both cases misdated August 1639: see Blekastad, Comenius, 260, n. 174) and Självbiografi, 151. Broniewski's Annotatiunculæ quædam in præludia Comeniana ad Portam Sapientiæ are at HP 7/82/1A-4B and are reproduced in HDC, 452-7.

[56] Självbiografi, 148-9 (Young, Comenius in England, 32-33).

[57] A Reformation of Schooles, 6.

[58] Especially A Treatise of Husbandry (London, 1638) and A Discovery of Infinite Treasure (London, 1639), the treasure in question being the supposedly inexhaustible wealth of well-husbanded nature. The works are aimed emphatically at the ordinary farmer rather than the large landowner and are very practical (and pragmatic) in tone. Plattes was supported for a time by Hartlib but died in poverty. See the entry on Plattes in the Oxford DNB, and mine in Thoemmes Biographical Dictionary of Economists (Bristol, 2004); also Hartlib's Legacie of Husbandry (London, 1651).

[59] Eph 39, 30/4/18B; the remark is not attributed but it sounds to me like Hübner again.

[60] Eph 39, 30/4/26B. This is almost certainly Hübner. On 'Cartes glasses', see above, pp. 22-3.

[61] Conatuum pansophicorum dilucidatio: 'My intent was to epitomize those bookes of God, Nature, Scripture and mans Conscience' (Reformation of Schooles, 65); cf. Panaugia, trans. A.M.O. Dobbie (Shipton on Stour, 1987), 13; Pampædia, trans. A.M.O. Dobbie (Dover, 1986), 130.

[62] A Reformation of Schooles, 27. Cf. Panorthosia, trans. A.M.O. Dobbie (Sheffield, 1993), 25: I say that you must be Everything in yourself, as a genuine portion of mankind and a true image of God and Christ. For if every individual Being is an image of the Universe […] every member of human society ought also to represent human society as a whole, so that […] one may be or know or wish or do what all men are or know or wish or do.'

[63] Eph 39, HP 30/4/10A. There is again no clear indication that Hübner is being cited, but the style and content overwhelmingly suggest him.

[64] Pampædia, 85.

[65] A Reformation of Schooles, 15.

[66] A Reformation of Schooles, 15.

[67] 'vil sachen weist man nit wo man sie hin referiren soll. Mueß sie also entweder vnter dem koth, vieler Vnnützer zerstrewter Aphorismorum verborgen ligen laßen, oder mitt Alstedio, ich weiß nicht, waß vor narrischen farragines artium et particulas systematum den gemeinen Vngestalten systematibus subjungiren, welches ihme dan allein die confusion seiner Encyclopode [sic] gnugsam solt zue verstehen geben haben' - HP 36/4/50A: from a long anonymous tract on combatting atheism, undated but composed c. 1638/9.

[68] Hotson, Alsted, 156.

[69] Ibid., 147.

[70] 'wollen wir ihn doch viel höher halten, als 1000 Alstedios mit allen ihren vermeinten methodis' - Anon. to [Hartlib?], early 1638, HP 59/10/20B.

[71] Eph 39, 30/4/2A.

[72] Novum organum, second book of aphorisms, aphorism 29: Works IV, 169.

[73] An abridged version of this section appears under the same title in Acta Comeniana 12 (1997), 89-99.

[74] Eph 56, 29/5/89A.

[75] 'in dieser irrenden vnd verführischen welt [… ist] vnß extra Mathesin fast nichts sichers vnd gewißes vbergelaßen' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 31 Jan. 1639, HP 37/5A.

[76] 'Ich bin dieser sachen auß der maßen begierig all meine tage gewest nun aber desto mehr weil Ich mir vnd anderen possibilitatem Pansophiæ dardurch einbilden kan, damit Ich berait etliche wiedersprecher stumme vnd zweiffeler glaubig gemacht habe' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 24 March 1639, HP 37/13B.

[77] Since this book was first published, the study of Pell has been enormously advanced by Noel Malcolm and Jacqueline Stedall's excellent John Pell (1611-1685) and his Correspondence with Sir Charles Cavendish: the mental world of an early modern mathematician (Oxford, 2005), in the light of which I have made numerous revisions to this sub-chapter. That Moriaen's mathematical gifts were widely known and respected is evidenced by the fact that he was one of the expert witnesses Pell at least considered approaching for support in his controversy with Longomontanus over the latter's supposed quadrature of the circle. Moriaen did not in fact contribute to the debate (or if he did, Pell forebore to publish his contribution), but the suggestion puts him in the company of Descartes, Joachim Jungius, Adolf Tassius and the professors of Gresham College, all of whom Pell did approach. See Malcolm and Stedall, John Pell, 116.

[78] See Malcolm and Stedall, John Pell, 25-32 and 61.

[79] Aubrey, Brief Lives II, 127 and 129. The first two comments are from a memo to Aubrey from Haak.

[80] Aubrey, Brief Lives II, 130. On the 'Idea Matheseos', see below, p. 114.

[81] Martinus Hortensius (1605-39), mathematics professor at the Amsterdam Athenæum Illustre since 1634. See NNBW I, 1160-64.

[82] Moriaen to Hartlib, 26 Dec. 1639, HP 37/50A.

[83] Moriaen to Hartlib, 2 June 1644, HP 37/117A.

[84] Ibid. Unfortunately, this is the only surviving letter from Moriaen from the whole period of Pell's stay in Amsterdam. In the print version of this book, I lazily recycled the old DNB's statement that Pell was appointed in 1643, though I should have realised that this is incompatible with the evidence of Moriaen's letter, which describes the inaugural lecture as a recent event and mentions that Pell had not yet found settled accommodation. The appointment was in fact made on 27 April 1644. See Malcolm and Stedall, John Pell, 5 and 102-3.

[85] DNB XLIV, 262. The Oxford DNB entry is less damning but still distinctly luke-warm (and still gets the date of Pell's appointment at Amsterdam wrong). For a more balanced assessment and detailed analysis of Pell's mathematical achievements, based on his manuscript remains rather than his few printed works, see Jacqueline Stedall's 'The Mathematics of John Pell', which constitutes the second part of Malcolm and Stedall, John Pell (pp. 245-328).

[86] For the complete English text and the publication date of 1638, see P.J. Wallis, 'An Early Mathematical Manifesto - John Pell's Idea of Mathematics', Durham Research Journal 18 (1967), 139-48. Wallis's dating is borne out by Pell's reference in a letter of October 1642 which cannot be to anyone but Hartlib to 'my letter to you, which you caused to be published just this time four years' (Correspondance de Mersenne XI, 311). Various more or less wild conjectures have been made about the date of the Idea's original composition. According to a mock-up title page in the Hartlib Papers (HP 14/1/6A), it was written in '1634 or m.' (= 'or more' or 'or magis'?), but this only proves that Hartlib himself, possibly writing many years later, could no longer remember the date more precisely than that it was no earlier than 1634. Turnbull thought it might have been conceived as early as 1630, when Pell sent Hartlib 'a rude draught of his Method' (HDC, 88), but Noel Malcolm shows that this refers to a different and much less ambitious pedagogical 'method', possibly for language teaching (John Pell, 31). By Pell's own account, he wrote the work 'about 3 months' before Hartlib published it, i.e. in summer 1638 (Pell to Hartlib, August 1655, BL MS Add. 4364 f. 139r). Elsewhere, in a handwritten annotation to a Latin copy of the Idea, he dates the composition with still more precision to '23 July 1638'. See Malcolm and Stedall, John Pell, 69.

[87] Comenius derived this term from Alsted's precursor Bartholomæus Keckermann: it refers to Aristotle's assertion that all learning depends on prior knowledge.

[88] Pell, Idea of Mathematics, ed. P.J. Wallis, in Durham Research Journal 18 (1967), 139-148, p. 143.

[89] Ibid., 144.

[90] For a full account of its circulation, see Malcolm and Stedall, John Pell, 71-3.

[91] Idea of Mathematics, 145.

[92] Mersenne to Haak, 1 Nov. 1639, Correspondance de Mersenne VIII, 580-584; Pell to Mersenne, 21 Nov. 1639 (ibid., 622-630); Mersenne to Pell, 10 Dec. 1639 (ibid., 685-688). See also Wallis's useful summary of the early reception of the Idea, Durham Research Journal 18 (1967), 145-7.

[93] Jacob Klein, Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra, trans. Eva Brann (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1968).

[94] Ibid., 118.

[95] Ibid., 123. In all quotations from him, the italics are Klein's.

[96] Ibid., 123.

[97] The edition finally appeared in 1646 (see Correspondance de Mersenne VII, 33 and 106-9).

[98] Facsimile in Correspondance de Mersenne VII, facing p. 109.

[99] Correspondance de Mersenne XI, 308. The letter is also given in Robert Vaughan, The Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell (London, 1839) II, 347-54. The Moriaen letters in question are those of 2 and 9 Oct. 1642, HP 37/112A-114B, in which Moriaen stated that he had recommended Pell to the Elseviers and urged him to contribute to the edition.

[100] Ibid., 308-311.

[101] Hartlib to Tassius, 10 August 1638, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg, sup. ep. 100, 60-63; slightly edited transcript in KK I, 32-36. Hartlib said he was sending 'eine andre Idæam Conatuum Mathematicorum eines andern Authoris [than J.L. Wolzogen], darvon ich des H. vnparteyliches judicium mit dem ersten erwarte' (63r; KK I, 36), which given that this is precisely the period when Hartlib was distributing the Idea is almost certainly a reference to it.

[102] Dury to Hartlib, 13 September 1639, HP 9/1/95B.

[103] Klein, op. cit., 185, quoting Vieta, In artem analyticen Isagoge, 1591; the capitalisation is Vieta's.

[104] 'Ich wolte gerne wißen ob sich Mons. Pellii Logistica so weit erstrecke als des Vietæ Nullum non problema soluere' - Moriaen to [Hartlib?], 27 Dec. 1638, HP 37/166A.

[105] 6 Jan. 1642, Young, Comenius in England, 74.

[106] Bacon, Advancement of Learning, Works III, 359-360.

[107] Moriaen to Hartlib, 24 March 1639, HP 37/13B.

[108] 'fast niemand weit vber den Cubum kommen' - ibid.

[109] A Reformation of Schooles, 25. Similarly on p. 51: 'Neither in the delivery of these things, though evidently true, do wee presuppose any thing […] but we premonstrate rather, that is we deduce one thing out of another continually, from the first principles of Metaphysickes, untill we come to the last, and least differences of Things: and this with such evidence of truth, as the propositions of the Mathematicians have, so that there is a necessity of yeelding to the last as well as to the first, for the continuall, and nowhere interrupted demonstration of their truth.'

[110] Moriaen acknowledged receipt on 24 March, HP 37/14A. The Analysis consists of a compilation of extracts from letters to Joseph St Amand of November and December 1637 (HP 1/4/19A-22B), and is further elaborated in another letter to him of 26 February 1640 (HP 1/4/1A-8B). Moriaen intended to have it published, but whether he in fact did so remains unclear (see above, p. 39).

[111] HP 1/4/20A.

[112] Eph 35, HP 29/3/14A; transcript in HDC, 167. Cf. Popkin, 'The Third Force', 40-42. Popkin argues persuasively that it was the millenarian writings of Joseph Mede that first suggested to Dury the way out of his labyrinth.

[113] Eph 35, HP 29/3/14A.

[114] Dury, Analysis demonstrativa, HP 1/4/20A-B.

[115] 'dan beÿ vielen gehet der glaub nicht außer den augen vnd ob sie woll gleuben müßen dati certitudinem Mathematicam so glauben sie doch nicht das man einen solchen methodum in relig. scientijs sonderlich aber in Theologia finden vnd practisiren könne vnder welchen auch Mr des Cartes ist' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 24 March 1639, HP 37/14A: the remark is made with specific reference to Dury's Analysis demonstrativa.

[116] Analysis demonstrativa, HP 1/4/3A; cf. 1 Corinthians 2.

[117] HP 1/4/21B.

[118] Panaugia, trans. A.M.O. Dobbie (Shipton on Stour, 1987), ch. 11, para. 101, p. 71.

[119] Ibid., ch. 15, para. 42, p. 99.

[120] Reformation of Schooles, 26.

[121] Isaiah, 11:9, a citation also used by Comenius (Reformation of Schooles, 26).

[122] Reformation of Schooles, 24.

[123] 'zue dem werk des heiligthumbs nicht allein Bezaliel und Aholiab erfordert werden sondern auch die Ienige so herbeÿ schaffen was zur arbeit von nothen ist' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 13 Dec. 1638, HP 37/1B. Bezaleel and Aholiab were the craftsmen selected by God to build the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 31:1-6).

[124] He joined the English church in November 1635 and transferred to the German on 4 Dec. 1639 (Moriaen's letter of the following day, HP 37/49B); cf. O.P. Grell, Dutch Calvinists, 181.

[125] Blekastad (Comenius, 334 and Unbekannte Briefe, 18) cautiously suggests this may be the Swedish mathematician Niels Buddaeus (1595-1653), but this cannot be right, since Moriaen's Budæus died on 11 Sept. 1642, as he told Hartlib the following month (HP 37/112A).

[126] Jonston to Hartlib, Aug. 1633, HP 44/1/2A, published with English translation in William Hitchens, Adam Matuszewski and John Young (editors and translators), The Letters of Jan Jonston to Samuel Hartlib (Warsaw, 2000), 67 (original) and 106 (translation).

[127] Hessels III, no. 2311.

[128] Grell, Dutch Calvinists, 203.

[129] Ibid., 203. Turnbull in his account of the incident takes Hartlib's alleged word for it (HDC, 35).

[130] HDC, 35, n. 4.

[131] See Mark Greengrass, 'The Financing of a Seventeenth-Century Intellectual: Contributions for Comenius', Acta Comeniana 11 (1996), 71-87 and 141-57.

[132] Grell (who spells him Strezzo), Dutch Calvinists, 180; Hessels III, nos. 2569 and 2654.

[133] Moriaen to Hartlib, 13 Feb. 1640, HP 37/57A.

[134] It is not in Wing, nor in Turnbull's list of Hartlib's publications (HDC, 88-109), and is mentioned nowhere else in the surviving papers.

[135] HP 23/13/1B. I am almost certain the recipient of five copies is 'Morian', but the list is in Hartlib's very worst handwriting. It is certainly 'Morian et Rulit.' who received fifty. Turnbull (HDC, 343) thinks it likelier that the work in question is the Præludia, but Moriaen's acknowledgement of a number of copies of the Prodromus which had been passed on to him by Rulice (12 May 1639, HP 37/23A) would seem rather to suggest the latter. Hartlib's undated list may, however, refer to an earler consignment of Præludias not mentioned in the surviving letters.

[136] HP 37/13A.

[137] Exchange rates fluctuated, but the pound generally equated to something between 4 and 412 Imperials over the period of Moriaen's and Hartlib's correspondence.

[138] Greengrass, 'Contributions for Comenius', Acta Comeniana 11 (1996), 71-87 and 141-57, p. 75.

[139] HP 26/23/1A-8B; transcript in Greengrass, 'Contributions for Comenius', 146-57. The tract is undated but can be placed between Feb. 1639 and Sept. 1641 (ibid., 84). Turnbull gives what seems to me an unduly unsympathetic summary (HDC, 347-8), and Greengrass a rather more nuanced analysis (op. cit., 84-5).

[140] 'zue 2 oder 3 collaboratoribus Ieden auff ein hundert lib: geschäzt werden wir wills Gott die mittel woll finden - Moriaen to Hartlib, 7 March 1639, HP 37/11B.

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

[142] 'das Ich Gott lob nun mehr den anfang der vnderschrifft hab. vnd mir nun fort an allein guten succes einbilde. Es ist mir recht saur worden ehe Ichs so weit gebracht hab. Gott lob das es vberwunden ist. der gebe ferner seine genade' - HP 37/38A.

[143] See above, p. 14.

[144] This appears from the news that 'diese kirche sich am lezten vnderschrieben hatt' ('this church was the last to subscribe': 5 November 1640, HP 37/70A). It is not clear which church he means by 'diese' ('this'), though he would himself presumably have been most closely involved with the German, of which his friend Rulice was then preacher, but in any case the implication is clearly that all the others had already committed themselves.

[145] HP 37/60B.

[146] HP 37/66A.

[147] HP 37/76A.

[148] HP 23/12/2B. This and a record of the £25 for Hübner (HP 23/7B) are, rather surprisingly, the only mentions of Moriaen in Hartlib's surviving accounts.

[149] HP 37/97A.

[150] HP 1/35/3B.

[151] 'Hem! vis detrahere mihi salarium jam meritum? […] Solve tu tua debita ipsemet.'

[152] HP 37/127A. It is possible, of course, that this represents repayment of a different and later debt not mentioned in the surviving correspondence, but it seems a good deal likelier (given that the sum mentioned is exactly the same) that this was the money Moriaen had forwarded at the end of 1641.

[153] Or 'Temple of Christian Pansophy', described in the Dilucidatio: Reformation of Schooles, 64-84. It is an allegorical account of Comenius's proposed education system based on the structure of the temple in the vision of Ezekiel.

[154] There are excellent accounts of the relations between Hübner and Comenius in Kvacala, MGP II, 51-9, and 'Über die Schicksale der Didactica Magna', MCG 8 (1899), 129-144.

[155] Moriaen to Hartlib, 22 Sept. 1639, HP 37/40B.

[156] '[Ich] hoffe das mit nechstem zum anfang etwas remittirn werde damit Dn Pell in guter devotion erhalten bleibe vnd nicht vrsach bekomme seinen wie es scheint Ihme angeborenen Mathematischen gaist zue dempfen vnd anderwerts vielleicht auch wieder sein aigen herz vnd gemuth zue stellen' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 31 Jan. 1639, HP 37/5A.

[157] 'so müste man so viel müglich ist […] was hin vnd wieder einkommen möchte in einen gemeinen Beutell samblen vnd nach notturft der sachen ins gemein anwenden. vnd nicht zuelaßen das die leuthe von hauß aus Ihre subsidia H Comenio selbsten zueordnen sonst weiß man nicht woran man ist vnd weil es vnder seinen Nahmen gehet, so würd Er alles bekommen vnd andere nichts' - 26 December 1639, HP 37/50B. The grammatical inconsistency of my translation aims to reflect that of Moriaen's original.

[158] 'Von H Comenio Vernehme ich sehr Ungerne, dass er so gantz jetzo Von seinen Pansophischen Meditationibus abgerissen ist, wan er dass werk ubergibt, wird schwerlich so bald ein ander wider kommen, der auff solche weütleüffige gedankhen gerathen wirdt' - Hübner to Hartlib, 22 March 1637, MGP I, 78.

[159] Eph 34, HP 29/2/13A: the comment is attributed to Johann Christoph Berger von Berg, himself a Moravian exile, who was cited along with Hartlib as organiser of private charitable collections in the above-mentioned complaint of Jan Sictor to the Austin Friars consistory. See Webster, Great Instauration, 218 and 358-9.

[160] R.C. Winthrop (ed.), Correspondence of Hartlib, Haak, Oldenburg, and others of the Founders of the Royal Society, with Governor Winthrop of Connecticut, 1661-1672 (Boston, 1878), 10.

[161] Kumpera, 219-221; Blekastad, Comenius, 657.

[162] Moriaen to Hartlib, 31 March 1639, HP 37/15A: 'das Ich aber mehr vermuthe dz es Ihm mißluckhen als geluckhen werde, das geschicht auß aigener erfahrung in einer gleichmäßigen sache'.

[163] L.E. Harris, The Two Netherlanders, ch. 13 (149-159).

[164] 'Er arbeitete daran nach seiner eigenen Theorie, dass keine irdische Kraft Antrieb dieser Maschine sein könne, da alles Irdische unbeständig sei. Auf eine uns unbekannte Art wollte er den kosmischen "Dunst" oder die Strahlung auf drei Kugeln von verschiedener Grösse und verschiedenem Metall überführen, um an "die Kraft, welche die Sterne bewegt", anzuknüpfen' - Blekastad, Comenius, 303.

[165] Eph 52, HP 28/2/38B.

[166] Moriaen to Hartlib, 20 April 1640, HP 37/58A.

[167] Reformation of Schooles, 24.

[168] 'Schon als Bestätigung der Richtigkeit eines Weltsystems war es von grösster Wichtigkeit' - Blekastad, Comenius, 304.

[169] See especially Moriaen to Hartlib, 31 March 1639, HP 37/15A-B.

[170] HDC, 342.

[171] See especially Självbiografi, 149-165, HDC, 342-370, and Blekastad, Comenius, 299-339.

[172] Självbiografi, 152 (Young, Comenius in England, 41); fuller quotation below, p. 133.

[173] John Gauden, The Love of Truth and Peace: A Sermon Preached before the Honovrable Hovse of Commons Assembled in Parliament Novemb. 29. 1640 (London, 1641), 40-41. Comenius first made the claim publicly in the introduction to Opera didactica omnia (1657). Again in the dedication of the Via lucis (1668) he stated that he had been invited 'by public authority' for discussions on the propagation of the Gospel. He expanded on the account (adding this quotation from the sermon) in the Continuatio admonitionis fraternæ (1669) (Självbiografi, 152-3; cf. Young, Comenius in England, 39-41, 52, 60).

[174] Självbiografi, 153 (Young, Comenus in England, 41).

[175] 'Three Foreigners', 262.

[176] HP 23/13/1A and 23/10A (the donation is also noted at 23/12/2B).

[177] HP 6/4/159A. The letter survives only in an undated and unaddressed copy, so it is not certain it is to Gauden, but he is the obvious candidate: cf. HDC, 219.

[178] The Love of Truth and Peace, 43.

[179] Culpeper to Hartlib, Dec. 1645, HP 13/110A-B.

[180] 'Three Foreigners', 262. Trevor-Roper omits to suggest who did the approaching and gives no source for his quotation. It is perhaps a paraphrase of Young's translation of the Continuatio admonitionis fraternæ: 'on entering London […] I learnt at length the truth: I had been summoned by command of Parliament' (Young, Comenius in England, 39).

[181] Englands Thankfulnesse, or, an Humble Remembrance Presented to the Committee for Religion in the High Court of Parliament (London, 1642): extracts in Webster, Samuel Hartlib and the Advancement of Learning, 90-97.

[182] See Webster, Great Instauration, 49, 71, 221; Självbiografi, 154-5 and n. 42; Blekastad, Comenius, 313-15.

[183] 'Meinem bedunckhen nach aber würde es der gemeinen Sache fürderlicher sein wan Er an einem einsamen vnd etwas abgelegenen als volkreichen vnd dem zuelauff vnderworffenen ortt sich enthielte' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 12 May 1639, HP 37/32A.

[184] 'Mitglied einer Kirche, in der "keiner sich selber angehört", […] ihr Wortführer und bedeutender Repräsentant. […] Seine Arbeit an der Pansophie musste unter diesen Umständen mit grösster Verantwortung für die gesamte Unität verbunden sein - oder aufgegeben werden' - Comenius, 302, cf. Självbiografi, 154.

[185] Självbiografi, 152 (Young, Comenius in England, 39). Comenius did not in fact mention the fundraising mission at all in this work, merely saying the Bishops agreed that he should go and that the co-rector and pro-rector who stood in for him at the school in Leszno in his absence should not know the real reason for his departure, i.e. the summons from Hartlib. The official fundraising mission is mentioned in Hessels III, nos. 2607 and 2673. Blekastad, Comenius, 302-3, draws the inference.

[186] HDC, 356; the Latin letter from Hotton on which Turnbull bases his account is at HP 9/7/2A-B. De Geer's letter of invitation (19 Oct. 1641) is reproduced in the appendix to Comenius' Självbiografi, 267.

[187] Moriaen to Hartlib, 3 Oct. 1641, paraphrased and discussed in HDC, 354-6. But note that Moriaen did not report 'that Louis de Geer, being anxious to have good Germans with whom to discuss, has invited Comenius to Sweden' (HDC, 354), which would be a very bizarre motive for a Dutchman to invite a Moravian to Sweden. Turnbull has apparently misread 'wackerer' as 'deutscher': Moriaen's words are 'that Mr Louis de Geer is desirous of worthy men with whom he might pursue good conversation, and Mr Comenius has been summoned to Sweden for that purpose' ('das H. Loys de Geer, wackerer leuthe begehrig were mit denen Er gute conversation pflegen möchte, vnd das herr Comenius zue dem ende nacher Schweden beruffen seÿe') (HP 37/88A).

[188] Hartlib to de Geer, 4 October 1641, draft version at HP 7/46/1A-2B, English paraphrase in HDC, 356-7.

[189] Comenius was forty-nine, not young by seventeenth-century standards, but hardly ancient. He had, in fact, another twenty-nine years before him.

[190] Comenius to Hartlib, 25 May 1646, HP 7/73/1A.

[191] See especially Självbiografi, 151-2 (Young, Comenius in England, 38-39), and see below.

[192] Comenius's self-quotation from a letter to Hartlib, Självbiografi, 157 (Young, Comenius in England, 49). Cf. Comenius to Hartlib, 25 May 1646, HP 7/73/1A-6B, and 21 Jan. 1647, Patera, Jana Amosa Komenského Korrespondence (Prague, 1892), no. 107 (pp. 126-9).

[193] Kotter was a Lutheran by upbringing, a tanner by trade and a Silesian by nationality. He learned to write for the specific purpose of setting his revelations down. Comenius met him in 1625 and translated his visions from German into Czech the same year. Poniatowska, the daughter of a Reformed minister, began experiencing visions in 1627, at the age of seventeen, having been driven, like Comenius, into exile from Bohemia to Leszno. Comenius proceeded to produce a Latin version of both her prophecies and Kotter's.

[194] For a detailed account of the circumstances leading up to the publication and its aftermath, see Blekastad, Comenius, 573-584. Blekastad tends, however, to play down the extent of the disapproval the work aroused, and takes at face value Comenius's totally unfeasible and indeed (as his correspondence with Hartlib abundantly proves) mendacious claim that the published work was intended only for the eyes of a few selected and responsible figures.

[195] Rood, Comenius and the Low Countries (Amsterdam, 1970), 170.

[196] I.e. the headmastership of the school in Leszno.

[197] Självbiografi, 151-2 (Young, Comenius in England, 38-39).

[198] 'Wir können an vnß selbsten abnehmen wie den guten herzen beÿ Euch zue muth ist […] fur erst wird vnß angenehm sein zue hören was das Buch mit 7 Siegeln an den tag bringen werde vnd machen vnß die gedanckhen das ein iedweders der 7 Siegel ein besonder wee bedeuten vnd dem einen oder anderen auff den kopff bringen werde' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 10 Dec. 1640, HP 37/71A.

[199] HP 37/88A-89B.

[200] Moriaen to Comenius, 10 Oct. 1641, HP 37/90A-B.

[201] 'Ich habe ja deutlich geschrieben das Er [Comenius] da ohne ambtsgeschäffte oder hinderung sein soll allein zue geselschafft ansprach vnd Rath mit genugsamer gelegenheit seinen conatibus einzig vnd allein obzueliegen' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 28 Oct. 1641, HP 37/92A.

[202] 'der H hatt uns gantzlich nit recht verstanden: H de Geer begehrt in der welt nichts von H. Comenio nur allein bißweilen mit ihm zu conversiren. […] H. Comenius solte alda gutten vnterhalt haben, recht gelegenheit ohn ander vnkosten mit andern zu correspondiren, vnd otium seine meditationes zu perficiren' - Rulice to Hartlib, 17 Oct. 1641, HP 23/9A-B, summarised in HDC, 357.

[203] Moriaen to Hartlib, 3 Oct. 1641, HP 37/88B.

[204] 'Ich sehe die Englische sachen noch nicht an dem ortt da Ich sie gern hette, vnd sorge wo es Gott nicht genadigklich verhutet das es noch blutige köpffe kosten möchte' - HP 37/94A.

[205] HDC, 360-61. But compare Dury's letter to de Geer of 19 Dec. 1641, promising that he and Hartlib would petition the Brethren in Leszno to grant Comenius leave to visit Sweden (Självbiografi, 268-9). Nevertheless, Dury, who had met with a cool reception from the Lutheran clergy in Sweden, was sceptical of the prospects for Comenius there.

[206] HP 37/97A-B.

[207] Självbiografi, 155 (Young, Comenius in England, 48).

[208] Moriaen to Hartlib, 3/13 July and 24 July 1642, HP 37/110A-111B.

[209] Moriaen to Hartlib, 24 July 1642, HP 37/111A.

[210] 'wenig zeit vnd nicht viel mehr muth' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 2 Oct. 1642, HP 37/112A.

[211] Blekastad, Comenius, 350; Oxenstierna to de Geer, 14 Sept. 1642 (Självbiografi, 271-2).

[212] Moriaen to Hartlib, 30 Oct. 1642, HP 37/115A, paraphrased in HDC, 367.

[213] Självbiografi, 164.

[214] Självbiografi, 164.

[215] 'Wir haben bißhero viel von Ihme [Comenius] geruhmt vnß selbsten vnd andern grose hoffnung gemacht, wolte mir von herzen lieb sein wan wir in vnserem ruhm vnd hoffnung nicht zue schanden würden' - Moriaen to [Hartlib?], 5 Dec. 1639, HP 37/49A.

[216] Moriaen to Hartlib, 22 Jan. 1643, HP 37/100A.

[217] 'höre Ich das Er nur seine Ianuam vnd Vestibulum revidirt vnd auff einen andern schlaag gebracht haben soll, welches ob es zwar ein gut werkh sein möchte so ists doch das Ienige nicht darauff man so lang gewartet vnd den leuthen hoffnung gemacht/ Ich hoffe Ia es werde was anderes dabej sein sonst müste man sich fast schämen das […] nun nichts anders als solche schuhl sachen herauß kommen solten' - Moriaen to Hartlib, 15 Oct. 1643, HP 37/116A.

[218] Comenius to Hartlib, 25 May 1646, HP 7/73/3A.

[219] Moriaen to Hartlib, July 1650, HP 37/163A-164B.

[220] Moriaen to Hartlib, 2 Feb. 1657, HP 42/2/2A.

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Professor Rob Iliffe
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Scott Mandelbrote,
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Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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