Chapter 4: 'The Macrocosm.'

The early modern discoveries in the microcosm of the body were mirrored by even greater discoveries in the macrocosm of the 'terraqueous globe', but they generated similar doubts and anxieties. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were a great period for European voyages of discovery, culminating in the three Pacific voyages of Captain James Cook (1728-1779). Travel narratives became important volumes in the libraries of the literati, the virtuosi and the philosophes. Europeans travelled in Africa, the Americas, the Near East, the Pacific, India, Australia and the Orient unfolding as they went the secrets of the natural world. Back at home natural philosophers, natural historians, theologians, historians and antiquaries worked with the information and discoveries brought back and added it to their own domestic researches. Indeed, to 'travel in one's study' became an oft-applied accusation levelled at those who had read more in books than they had ever seen in travels of their own. But this process of writing, reading and disseminating the ideas and information contained in travel literature, and the growing awareness of, and relationship with, a wider world beyond western Europe and the Mediterranean, has been recognized as an important feature in the European Enlightenment. By the mid-eighteenth century, systems ruled, with the Swedish natural historian Linnaeus leading the field in the systematization of the natural world.[1] He sent his disciples off around the world on often dangerous voyages, to collect and catalogue plant and animal life from all its corners. Travel in its many forms was thus closely associated with the period's fascination with ordering and classifying the world, a process of collecting and organizing data which, as we have seen, had foundations in Baconian natural history and philosophy. Bacon's own lifetime had likewise been an amazing period of travel and discovery and he read the accounts of these voyages. A contemporary of Sir Walter Raleigh's, he remarked with awe upon 'the opened bosom of the ocean, and the world travelled over in every part, whereby multitudes of experiments unknown to the ancients have been disclosed, and an immense mass added to Natural History'.[2]

Empirical observation became a hallmark of the scientific revolution, and the Royal Society laid great store by the accounts of overseas travellers. The Society exercised an important role in promoting the collection and collation of travel accounts, and by so doing influenced the intellectual framework of researches such as Stukeley's. The Society's interest in travellers' reports can be seen as early as the first volume of the Philosophical Transactions, which in January 1666 carried an essay providing 'Directions for Seamen, bound for far Voyages'. These stated the Society's aim 'to study Nature rather than Books, and from the Observations, made of the Phaenomena and Effects she presents, to compose such a History of Her, as may hereafter serve to build a Solid and Useful Philosophy upon.'[3] In his History of the Royal-Society the future bishop of Rochester, Thomas Sprat (1635-1713). remarked on the importance to natural philosophy of travellers' material. In defending the Society against criticisms of its purpose and achievements, he ventured 'to lay down a brief draught of their most remarkable particulars.' These included 'The Queries, and Directions' given to those travelling abroad, which were carefully prepared in advance by the Fellows before being distributed 'into all Quarters, according as they have the convenience of correspondence'.[4] These esquires had been sent and replies received from as far afield as the West Indies, China, north Africa, east and west Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland and Greenland. Another Fellow, Robert Boyle, also published directions for travellers abroad, which he described as 'General Heads for the Natural History of a Countrey, Great or Small; Drawn out for the Use of Travellers and Navigators.' These laid out those particular areas of interest to the Society, distinguished 'into those things, that respect the Heavens, or concern the Air, the Water, of the Earth.' One voyager with an eye for such detailed information was the buccaneer-turned-author William Dampier (1651-1715), who in 1697 dedicated his hugely successful New Voyage Round the World to Charles Montagu, the Royal Society's President. Then in 1698 the Society even commissioned a ship, the Paramore, to undertake a voyage of scientific exploration in the Atlantic, with Halley as its captain. The whole world thus lay at the feet of adventurous Europeans, and they believed it was God who had put it there for them to utilize, cultivate and civilize.[5]

Yet despite their lofty ambitions, the material gathered from distant countries rarely provided easy answers to the philosophical questions of the age, and invariably raised troubling new ones. A notable danger from new discoveries in the natural world was that they could lead to the undermining of Biblical authority. The ancient authors of the books of the Old Testament as well as the classical geographers inevitably had a far narrower and more unsophisticated world-view than the moderns. A particular range of questions that led to much argument and debate from the seventeenth century onwards was the precise age of the Earth and the origins of the human race. Some ancient philosophers had postulated that the world was eternal, without beginning or end but the Bible had given a strict account of Creation. But could the universe really have been created in six days by God? Were Adam and Eve the parents of all human beings? And, if this last was true, how had their offspring apparently reached the furthermost corners of the globe, and how could the differences in the races of Mankind be accounted for? The ancient civilizations of Egypt and China were particularly troubling if the world was no more than 6,000 years old, as Archbishop James Ussher had recently calculated.[6] Robert Hooke was an early skeptic of the biblical account, observing that the histories of these two ancient nations 'tell us of many thousand Years more than ever we in Europe heard of by our Writings, if their Chronology may be granted'.[7] This same testimony of great Egyptian antiquity had troubled St Augustine early in the Christian era. In The City of God he had simply accused the Egyptians of 'abominable lyings' in claiming 'for their wisdom an age of 100,000 years.'[8] In 1656 the French Protestant scholar Isaac de La Peyrère (1594-1676) published an infamous book, Men Before Adam, which faced these problems head on. He observed:

It is a natural suspicion that the beginning of the world is not to be received according to that common beginning which is pitched in Adam, inherent in all man, who have but an ordinary knowledge in things: for that beginning seems enquirable, at a far greater distance, and from ages past very long before; both by the most ancient accounts of the Chaldeans, as also by the most ancient records of the Egyptians, Ethiopians and Scythians, and by parts of the frame of the world newly discovered, as also from those unknown countries, to which the Hollanders have sailed of late, the men of which, as is probable, did not descend from Adam.[9]

La Peyrère suggested that the biblical account of the creation of Adam applied only to the origin of the Jewish people, and that there had been another race of people, the 'Preadamites', who existed long before Adam and Eve. Even before him Giordano Bruno had suggested that 'Because men are of many colours … [they] are not similar as progeny and are not the descendants of one original parent.'[10] Bruno was for his various unorthodoxies burnt at the stake by the Catholic Church, though La Peyrère was more fortunate: following his arrest he was obliged to publicly renounce his views before the Pope.

But these questions could not be driven away so easily. The physical remains of the world posed profound, controversial problems for biblical scholars and natural historians alike. The Flood as described in Genesis became a particular issue in the debate between biblical apologists and deistical, atheistical or simply sceptical critics. Fossils also posed a particular problem. Their increased collection in later seventeenth-century England led men such as Ray and Hooke, as well as the Oxford antiquary Robert Plot (1640-1696) and the physician John Woodward (1665-1728), to realize that many plants and animals found embedded in stone represented species which no longer appeared to exist. They also questioned how the remains of marine animals could be discovered in rocks and stones at the tops of mountains, in mines and quarries hundreds of feet beneath ground, or thousands of miles from their natural (often apparently tropical) habitat. Some speculators argued that fossils were simply ludus naturae -- 'games of nature' which grew in the earth in the same way gall stones grow in the human bladder, or in the way minerals and gemstones were thought to grow naturally in the earth. Hooke went so far as to suggest that some species had become extinct, and even that new species now existed that once had not.[11] But the serious possibility of the extinction of any species would have suggested an imperfect creation, and thus the theological impossibility of an imperfect God. As Stukeley noted around 1720, 'even at this Day (which is very wonderfull) we know not of any one kind of Creature lost since the Creation.'[12] Additionally, the length of time that might be thought necessary to turn animal remains into stone threatened the traditional Christian chronology. So whilst Genesis -- attributed to the pen of Moses himself -- was considered to contain the history of God's creation, the physical evidence increasingly and urgently demanded more sophisticated explanations.

Theories of the Earth

In response to these problems, a number of natural philosophers in England published books attempting to explain the origins of the Earth in both physical and religious terms. Thomas Burnet's Sacred Theory of the Earth (1684) was one of the earliest of these. Burnet (1635?--1715), a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, and Master of the Charterhouse, rejected arguments for the eternity of the Earth and kept within the traditional chronology, though he doubted whether Moses had made an accurate and truthful account of the Creation, He pictured a world that was passing in distinct stages from creation to ultimate conflagration. According to his scheme, the biblical Flood had occurred when the smooth surface of the Earth broke open like an egg, waters pouring out from its centre. The subsequent mountainous world which had existed ever since this Flood was, he explained, simply 'the ruins of a broken world', remains of an event which displayed the 'magnificence in Nature, as from old Temples and broken Amphitheatres of the Romans we collect the greatness of that people.'[13] By contrast, Whiston in his New Theory of the Earth (1696), which he dedicated to Newton, defended the whole truth of the Mosaic account. But Whiston argued that Genesis applied only to the making of the Earth, and not to the whole of the universe. His book was well received, with Locke remarking that he had 'not heard any one of my acquaintance speak of it, but with great commendations, as I think it deserves'.[14] Burnet's original but idiosyncratic Sacred Theory, however, was described by Halley as 'jarring as much with the Physical Principles of Nature, as with the Holy Scriptures'.[15]

One of the greatest obstacles for any defence of a universal Flood on rational rather than supernatural grounds was answering the question of where all this water could have come from to engulf the Earth to the tops of mountains, as the Genesis account demanded. Burnet overcame the problem by arguing that mountains were only a feature of the disrupted, post-Delugian landscape. The latitudinarian theologian Edward Stillingfleet (1635-1699) used a different theory to explain this problem away. In Origines Sacrae (1662) he suggested that though the Flood was 'universal to Mankind', this did not mean that it must have covered the whole Earth, 'unless it be sufficiently prov'd that the whole Earth was Peopled before the Flood: which I despair of ever seeing prov'd'.[16] Stillingfleet did not believe, for example, that America had been peopled by humans until after the Flood, and suggested that America could have been unaffected. This also meant that Noah's Ark would not have had to accommodate all the many species of American animals, the problem of space being another puzzle troubling defenders of the Genesis account. Stillingfleet suggested that the waters of the Flood may have originated from a great 'Abyss of subterraneous Waters … in the body of the Earth'.[17] Newton, however, speculated that the Earth continually lost water through the 'diminution caused in the humid parts by vegetation and putrefaction … by which means the dry parts of the planets must continually increase, and the fluids diminish, nay in sufficient length of time be exhausted, if not supplied by some such means.'[18] He suggested that this lost water was replaced by comets -- which he believed carried water in their tails -- passing close to the earth. The realization of the periodicity of comets -- that, like the planets, they revolve in long orbits around the sun -- had only been discovered in the winter of 1692 by the astronomical observations of Flamsteed, Newton and Halley, a fact which Halley subsequently proved by predicting the date of the return of the comet which bears his name. Whilst comets continued to possess the prognostic and apocalyptic warnings they had held since the appearance of Halley's comet back in 1066 (and no doubt earlier), Newton and others realized that comets could be interpreted as natural phenomena that could be providentially used by God to enact his divine will upon the Earth -- such as the Flood or the Apocalypse.[19] Comets thus became fashionable devices in natural philosophical circles for attempting to explain the divine operation of the Universe in 'reasonable' terms. In a paper presented to the Royal Society in 1694 containing 'Some considerations about the cause of the universal Deluge' Halley suggested that a comet 'or other transient Body' had caused the Flood, by colliding with the Earth.[20] Whiston also cleverly used Newton's theory of comets to explain the origin of the Flood in the New Theory. He suggested that the Earth had passed through the tail of a massive comet (rather than having been struck by it), inundating it with water. What his theory did not satisfactorily answer (other than presumably by Newton's slow process of gradual loss) was where the flood water subsequently went. But in spite of this omission, by 1717 Whiston could declare that a 'Philosophical Solution' to the origin of the Deluge 'is now, I think, become so plain, evident, and certain, from the Phaenomena of Comets, with their Atmospheres and Tails, now fully discovered'.[21]

Fossils themselves could also be used as evidence for a universal Deluge. Samuel Clarke, in affirming the reality of the Flood in his Boyle Lectures of 1705, considered fossils 'such apparent Demonstrations of the Earth's having been some time or other (the whole Surface of it at least) in a state of Fluidity; that whosoever has seem the Collections of this kind made by the very ingenious Dr Woodward and others, must in a manner abandon all Use both of his Senses and Reason, if he can in the least doubt of this Truth.'[22] John Woodward, antiquarian, naturalist and Professor of Physick at Gresham College, London, used his collection of fossils in his researches for his Essay Toward a Natural History of the Earth (1695), another important volume in the quest for a natural philosophical theory of the origins of the Earth. In his Essay Woodward argued that fossils had been deposited in the post-diluvian mud relative to their weight according to their specific gravity, and this has led some to see a Newtonian element in Woodward's work, but this is a mistake. Woodward used the term 'gravity' in an Aristotelian rather than Newtonian sense, and Newton's critic John Edwards praised Woodward's account for being 'Founded on Real and Visible Experiments' rather than the 'Occult' action of gravity. Edwards considered it 'a Great and most Valuable Demonstration of the Universal Deluge' and thought that when the finished work becomes 'a compleat Body … it will be one of the Greatest Master-Pieces of Natural Philosophy'.[23] Woodward believed that collecting should have a real purpose and he would have been pleased with Clarke and Edward's remarks, as he was critical of those who only collected for the sake of collecting, 'without Design of Building a Structure of Philosophy out of them, or advancing some Propositions that might turn to the Benefit and Advantage of the World.'[24] Woodward bequeathed his extensive collection to Cambridge University, and endowed a professorship with the aim of 'setting forth the wisdom of God in the works of nature, the advancement of useful knowledge, and the profit and benefit of the Publick.'[25] Conyers Middleton, a former fellow of Trinity College and the first holder of the new Woodwardian chair, duly pointed out in his inaugural address of 1731 how fossils could be used to confirm the history of the deluge.[26]

Collections such as Woodward's were clear products of the Baconian taxonomic imperative. Stukeley visited Woodward's 'Musaeum', and wrote that he had been 'very conversant' with Woodward (though he described his character as 'a most unaccountable mixture. He has a great deal of knowledg in most parts of learning, but so blended with the most egregious coxcomb, as scarce to be paralleled.'[27]) Stukeley also collected his own small 'musaeum', which included numerous antiquities, coins and fossils. The popularity of such 'cabinets of curiosity' led to criticisms from the wits, with Joseph Addison wondering at learned men 'wholly employed in gathering together the Refuse of Nature … and hoarding up in their Chests and Cabinets such Creatures as others industriously avoid the Sight of.'[28] But, as the Royal Society had hoped, this culture of collecting stimulated important debates in natural history. The collections had significant repercussions upon ideas of the world and, along with the discoveries of far-travellers, contributed to a revolution in ideas of the antiquity of the Earth which had implications comparable to those that Copernicus's heliocentric system had had upon conceptions of Man's place in the Universe.[29] Whiston's book went through six editions between 1696 and 1755, and, with Woodward and Burnet's contemporaneous but conflicting arguments, dominated the debate surrounding theories of the Earth in the first half of the eighteenth century. But this debate continued to be characterized by hypothesis and disagreement, argument and counter-argument, with real implications for orthodox theology. Burnet's works, for example, were adopted and adapted by the writer Charles Blount in the 1690s to support his deistic theory of a universal natural religion as against a miracle-working, Old Testament God of prophecy and revelation. It was this co-opting of natural philosophy by freethinkers such as Blount and Toland which had led Whiston to found his New Theory on Newtonian theory and uphold the system in Scriptural terms, and he was not the only Newtonian to take an interest in reconciling natural philosophy with scripture: Bentley, Cheyne, Clarke, Derham and the Keill brothers were all involved in what came to be known as the physica sacra, the study of the history of creation as presented in Genesis and the works of Newton.[30]

The Fossil 'Crocodile'

Despite the difficulties of reaching a conclusive, rational argument for its origin, it was commonly supposed that the Flood could account for the remains of marine creatures discovered at the tops of mountains, or the fossils of tropical plants and animals found in temperate climates. It was this theory that Stukeley defended in an unpublished paper he read to the Royal Society on 7 February 1719 'on the fossil crocodile'.[31] As Simon Schaffer has shown, in the eighteenth century natural philosophy existed as 'public spectacle', associating it with theatre, audience and thus the act of showing.[32] Whilst in the following discussion I shall be concerned with the examination of a written text, it is necessary to be aware that this and other papers by Stukeley were written as lectures, and would often have been supported or stimulated by objects, be they the fossil 'crocodile' in this case, or antiquities. What we witness in this paper is Stukeley's defence, within the conversational arena of the Royal Society, of a Newtonian philosophy that was neither wholly dominant nor untainted with hints of heterodoxy.

Stukeley had received from a friend, one Robert Darwin, a lawyer of Lincoln's Inn whom he described as 'a Person of Curiosity', an account of 'An Human Sceleton (as it was then thought) impressd in Stone found lately'. Stukeley had gone in search of a description of this curious object, and actually finally succeeded in obtaining the fossil itself. He donated it to the Society's museum, 'whence such remarkable Appearances are best preserved & deservedly so'. Observing that it was 'a Rarity the like whereof has not been observd in this Island to my Knowledg', he offered 'to confirm a Conjecture of what it has been'. By comparing it with the skeleton of a crocodile also kept in the Repository, he concluded that his so-called 'human' fossil 'seems to be of that Species.' He explained, 'Some may wonder how That Creature should ever visit a Country so far distant from its natural Region,' but noted that 'a very little while ago the Society had an account of a Crocodile much less than ours found in Stone after the like Manner in the higher Mountains of Germany in the Quarrys there … I suppose the same Solution accounts for both.' This 'solution' was, of course, the Flood, which -- if proven to have occurred by this 'ocular evidence' of 'plants shells & parts of living Creatures found in Rocks & Quarrys' -- would also account for 'some obvious & remarkable appearances in the external Face of the Globe consequent to its formation as sett forth in the Mosaic account, & of some changes it sufferd at the Universal Cataclysm'. One argument against the Flood theory for the presence of fossils on mountain tops was the assumption that the marine creatures thrown to their summits would have been washed back down again by the receding waters. Stukeley rejected this, countering that they would have been able to survive in pockets of water left behind as the waters receded, a reasonable argument given that this is a common result of river flooding. The 'prodigious quantitys of Shells & those sorts of Things' discovered in 'all the Quarrys about the Country', could only be explained by this theory of (brief) survival. He argued that the crocodile he was displaying had survived as an entire fossil because it had been able to live for some time after the Flood before it died, and so 'this Amphibious or marine creatures sceleton fell intire into the bed of clay or its fissures which has since turn'd into stone … & intombd those pregnant tokens of that general Innundation.' This was all fairly conventional stuff. But in a long passage he proceeded to apply Newtonian science to the fossilization process. His thesis proceeded thus:

Sr Issac Newtons Doctrine of the Attraction of the particles of matter according to the quantity of its Solidity, proximity & surface, especially that its infinitely greater in the point of contact upon which depends its cohesion & all the varietys will easily direct us to a Notion of petrification, we learn how a proper degree of heat or cold, moisture, motion rest & Time promote this Principle from the common experiments of Chrystallization & freezing before the Fire & many chymical Mixtures: whence we cannot be ignorant of stone growing in the quarries not by any fancyd Vegetation tho' there is something like It in Coals & that sort of substances, but generally by apposition of parts to parts as is notorious in the floors of Subterraneous Grotts & Caverns. & in a long tract of Time so that we have no reason to doubt but what was clay & Earth 3000 years ago is now Stone or Marble according to the proportion of concurrence or such mentiond causes …[33]

This same 'Newtonian' argument could also be used to counter suggestions that it must have taken much longer than traditional biblical chronology would allow for animal remains to have been turned to stone. Stukeley offered practical examples of this petrification process taken from 'Travellers Works', whose accounts 'will persuade Us that the now barren & rocky Plains of the Countrys of Syria[,] Indiea and & Arabia is owing to natural Causes as well as an immediate Curse of God'. History seemed to suggest that geographical regions changed over time, and that 'the famous Countrys of Greece & Africa … so renowned for fertility in old Authors' were now barren in comparison. This, he proposed, was explainable by Newtonian physics: 'Where fore there may be some likelihood in the opinion of those who think in many Ages the whole face of the Globe will become one great Rock … & may induce us to believe Earth which at this day is manageable by the plow will in time assume the same density at least what is below the surface.' From this pseudo-scientific argument he drew the natural theological conclusion that fossils were 'pregnant evidences of Noahs Flood, so much the more conclusive because creatures not of our own Growth … had they been natives of England or Germany [they] would never have strayd so far from the channels of Rivers. but were burryd up by that General Disorder & Innundation, to the tops of Mountains.'

This whole debate on the possible origins of fossils continued through the eighteenth century, and would not be resolved until the nineteenth. Voltaire thought it unremarkable that an Earth that could of itself produce such marvellous plants and fruits should not also produce fossils as natural phenomena.[34] Another Frenchman, Henry Zollman, who sent fossil samples to Sloane between 1723 and 1730 even appears to have held both opinions of fossil origins, natural generation and Flood: a fossil gastropod in Sloane's collection bears the note 'From the smallness of these shells Mr Zollman supposes that they are not the remains of the Deluge, but rather generated in the Earth.'[35] But it appears that Stukeley's opinion regarding biblical explanations based upon philosophical observations changed after his ordination, or he abandoned the idea of its ever being proveable. In a letter to Sloane read at the Royal Society on 19 November 1730, he explained that although he believed God 'order'd' the Flood 'pursuant to many natural causes & made use of the concurrence of all, as far as they would extend. Yet in ye mean it was purely miraculous: & to pretend to solve it by Philosophical or Astronomical Principles is no less an impotent than an impious attempt and among other things has given a handle to the late Scepticks, who doubt of the Divine Authority of the Scriptures'.[36] A decade later, in conversation with Sloane at the Royal Society, Stukeley criticized the idea some people held 'of their being lusus naturae' and once more defended his thesis of their origin in the Mosaic deluge, 'when the water was supernaturally raised three miles perpendicular above the surface of the sea'.[37] His use of the term 'supernatural' here is significant, since it rejects the 'rational' theory of Whiston. At this 1740 meeting, Stukeley declared his belief that the discovery of fossils in coal strata 'plainly' showed 'that there has been a convulsive disorder in the bowels of the earth' brought about at the time of the Deluge, 'though nothing like what Woodward and Whiston would have.'[38] In 1757 he wrote a short unpublished essay on 'The Philosophy of Springs & Fountains', in which he suggested, after Woodward, that the centre of the Earth contained a 'central abyss of fresh water' which acted like the bladder [see fig. --]. The earth was filled with 'pipes, canals, & vessels' analogous to those found in the body, and served as the Earth's 'kidneys', removing salt from sea water that flowed into the central 'bladder'. But whereas Woodward suggested that subterraneous fires forced water upwards, Stukeley argued that the gravitational effect of the moon, acting 'the part of the animal heart', drew this fresh water back to the surface of the Earth. He suggested that this process was where the ancient philosophers had got the idea 'that the earth was a real animated body, end'd with sense & reason.'[39]

In a 1753 article published in the Philosophical Transactions on the biblical prediction by Thales of a solar eclipse, Stukeley utilized the idea of divine action explaining to the Society that whilst it was true that eclipses were 'natural and necessary phaenomena, consequent to the established motions of the celestial bodies', yet 'Providence can so over-rule the actions of us men, as to bring them to coincide with these fore-ordain'd and necessary motions, so as to prove himself the GOVERNOR both of the natural and moral world'.[40] But Stukeley's argument that God determined human actions to coincide with fixed celestial occurrences is not wholly satisfying. The ultimate ambivalence of his position on physical phenomena and biblical events, despite his own contributions to the debate, illustrates the difficulty in establishing a foolproof theological and philosophical theory in the face of limited yet increasing physical 'evidence'. As Janet Browne has observed, it seemed impossible for early modern commentators to justify any single aspect of the Scriptures 'without calling others into doubt.'[41] Stukeley was not alone in finally reverting to a miraculous explanation for the Flood. John Keill, who in 1712 became Oxford University's Professor of Astronomy, had in 1698 published a critical Examination of Dr Burnet's Theory of the Earth in which he vindicated a literal account of the Creation. In this book (which was republished in a new edition in 1724) Keill declared: 'These flood-makers have given the Atheists an argument to uphold their cause, which I think can only be truely answer'd by proving an universal Deluge from Mechanical causes altogether impossible … no secondary causes without the interposition of Omnipotence could have brought such an effect to pass.'[42]

The Creation

Stukeley made various attempts to defend the Mosaic account of Creation and the Flood through the mathematical philosophy of Newtonian science, participating in Whiston's attempt to vindicate Mosaic history through Newtonian mechanical principles. Whilst living in Boston he had made a detailed study of Whiston's New Theory of the Earth, carefully copying out its diagrams illustrating 'the Motion of the Comet which descending along the Plain of the Earths Course causd the Deluge of NOAH according to Mr Whistons Calculation'.[43] Another drawing in the same notebook showed how it was the effect of the near-passage of this comet which had changed the orbit of the Earth, for 'it was originally an exact Circle when the Year consisted of 355 Days equal to 12 synodical or 13 periodical revolutions of the Moon'. Ever since the 'Acceleration of the Earths motion by the approach of that Comet which causd the Deluge' the Earth 'has movd in an Ellipsis … whence the Year consists of 365 days'.[44] These, though, were only notes. His own ideas on the origins of the world and the possible reconciliation between natural science and the Scriptures were expounded in that extensive manuscript, 'The Creation', discussed in the previous chapter. It is probable that his ideas expressed in this work were inspired by a conversation with Newton, as in his biography Stukeley observed they had had a discussion on the creation of the Universe, and whether or not it was a single or an on-going action of God's. This talk had, he reflected in 1752, 'put me upon studying the Mosaic cosmogony seriously, wh[ich] I did, when I livd in Ormon Street, & wrote a large tract upon it; convinc'd that it was consentaneous [sic] to the Newtonian philosophy.'[45] It is likely that the extensive 'Creation' manuscript is that tract.

Stukeley begins his study by laying out his idea of the contemplative and philosophic life. The purpose of study was, he wrote, 'to sett forth the Glory of our Author' and this 'more answers the end of our Creation than cloathing our Selves with costly apparell or vain titles.'[46] He then set out his opinion of a divinely created and operating natural world, in which

God has given Us a transcript of his Own Mind, expanded himself & his adorable Attributes, in this Wonderful & Amazing Scene, where the perfectio of any Single Part can be exceeded by Nothing but the inconceivable Order & Harmony of the Whole … Therefore it highly becomes us if we would acquit ourselves commendably of the charge of Life, to consider the Nature of Things, Survey, peruse the World around Us, Read the Divinity impressd on every page & comma, make a due & true use of the Noble Powers & Facultys of Our Mind which are adapted to that End as much as every Organ of Sense is adequately framd to its peculiar object. We must confess it most Satisfactory & worthy of our Selves to allott if possible al what is truly our Life to Study & Contemplation, to gild at least the intervals of necessary Employment with the calm Sweets & useful Retirements of Philosophy, & when We draw near the End of our last Act, We shall not with regrett view the Chasms & Vanitys, which others employ in the Empty Embraces of gay Bubbles & real Nothings.

This preface gives a clear insight into Stukeley's mind and his perception of the natural philosopher, a vision which shares much with that of the naturalist Ray, as well with Whiston. Upon observing the beauty and wonder of Nature and the stars, 'the first Conceptions of a Rational Creature upon his Own Being', was it not natural, asked Stukeley, that humans 'would burn with a Curiosity to Know whenc he & they had their origin'?[47] And it was, furthermore, our human duty to spend our time on Earth profitably, and what better way than by contemplation of the divine? It was this contemplative nature that was at the foundation of natural religion: Man had always sought an answer to the origin and beauty of the world, and that answer had been found in God. Following this introduction, Stukeley mused on those critics who said that philosophers should not attempt to explain the natural world through an examination of the Bible. This had been a particular censure of some divines to the 'world-making' books of Burnet, Woodward and Whiston. Indeed, Burnet had himself warned in the preface to the Sacred Theory that ''Tis a dangerous thing to ingage the authority of Scripture in disputes about the Natural World, in opposition to Reason; lest Time, which brings all things to light, should discover that to be evidently false which we had made Scripture to assert'. But in his defence Stukeley explained how

the Ill Success of some late Speculators in Theory have tempted Superficial Sciolists to imagine The Scriptures must not admit of being measurd by the Rule of Reason & Philosophy, not considering how great a Word they Strike into the Credit & Veracity of the Sacred Volumes. If they be of Divine Authority, why will they not bear canvassing. Is not Nature guide[d] by the same Laws now as 5000 years ago? Is not God the Author of Nature able to give an Account of his Own Works? Therefore it must seem to Me highly derogatory to their honor & his Eternal Verity to suppose More Light will Darken, or that Illustrations will confound & perplex, that his Works or Words, will not bear the Sun shine or the Test of a Philosophical Enquiry.[48]

However, Stukeley did not believe (as some had argued) that Moses's Genesis was 'a Mythological, Allegorical, or a Meager Account.' He argued that it was actually 'an accurate Record of Matters of Fact, a Noble Journal of the Almighty Architect in his great Work of building the Universe … I cannot scruple to affirm that the Mosaic Creation is a truthful and philosophical history of the Origin of All things'.[49] This was an important, if conservative argument: as science and mathematics were universal truths, so the laws of the natural world were as measurable and understandable in terms of the Newtonian science of the 1700s as they would have been when God had created the universe. Stukeley thus observed that 'Moses cannot be accounted less than Gods & Natures Secretary', and in the account of Genesis we possess 'the Original Source of True Philosophy, The Oracle of Nature, The Spring of Knowledge where those that thirst after the Newtonian Draughts may drink largely at the Fountain.'[50]

In many ways Stukeley's unpublished MS is indebted to Whiston's New Theory. But whereas Whiston (and Burnet) had argued that it was impossible to read Genesis as a literal account, or the six 'days' of creation as literal periods of twenty-four hours, Stukeley attempted to defend its entire authenticity. Here he shared the opinion of Newton, who had read and commented on the Latin manuscript of Burnet's Sacred Theory. Newton had disagreed with Burnet's suggestion that the seven days of Creation should not be taken literally: for Newton, 'Moses spoke the truth'.[51] Stukeley began his exact defence of the Mosaic account by explaining that though only 'a Celestial amanuensis, an Angelic Pen' could do justice to 'wonders so Deep & so Sublime', yet he believed that by a close reading of Genesis

with an honest & Philosophical Mind, leisurely and considerately without any far fetched tropes, extraordinary Study or acute invention, we shall find the language to be as easy and natural as it is most antient and authentic. It will open its self to us, strictly conformable to those never failing Canons of Nature, the principles of which the Immortal Newton has discoverd to the World, and they if Mathematical Demonstration can want a further Proof receive from it the highest Sanction, as being drawn from the very Registry of Nature.[52]

He then proceeded to present a detailed, though unfinished, examination and critique of the first twenty-two verses of Genesis, summarizing the appearance of the Earth and Heavens at the end of each day of the seven days of Creation. He begins at Verse 1: 'In the Beginning GOD created the Heavens and the Earth'. God had existed forever, but he set time in motion by starting the revolution of the heavenly bodies. This process of imparting motion to matter, Stukeley explained, was undertaken by the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, through the imposition of a gravitational power to matter, as discovered by Newton: 'In short I take this Motion of the holy Spirit to be nothing but the Imposition of the Surprizing Principle of Attraction upon Matter at this time which will sufficiently cause all those Effects, whereby every Atom flys to another proportionately to the degree of its gravity, distance and Contact'.[53] Stukeley then observed that there was 'a short account of this preserv'd in the Writings of some Antient Heathens'.[54] Throughout this account, Stukeley makes various such references to the opinions of the ancient philosophers, attempting to reconcile what was fact and what was error in their accounts of the origins of the world. What the ancient philosophers had got scientifically, philosophically or religiously correct, he argued, came from the true divine source, whereas what they got incorrect was plainly invention, over-elaboration or simple error from that original divine truth. For, as the Jews had preserved the true chronicle in Genesis, vestiges of this account were also to be found in other ancient texts, though without the same reliability. This convenient methodology would also be used to effect in Stukeley's antiquarian researches which he was undertaking at this same time, and which I shall examine in Part II. As we shall see there, it was a fairly accepted method of analysis by most scholars.

Stukeley also took the opportunity to attack the views of those who believed the world and the universe to be eternal -- the belief propounded by ancient philosophers such as Aristotle and Epicurus. He pointed out the 'wretchedly absurd contradictions [such] as that Matter was Eternal and even Motion too', and defied the atheist to show how, if this was the case, matter 'could ever have so disjoynted its Self as to form different and distant Planets, or from a State of fluidity could ever have reduced its self to the present appearance of the terraqueous Globe, but it must for ever have remain'd a Prospect of Waters as Moses expresses the Chaos.'[55] This was an important argument, as any Christian exposition upon the works of the divine had to emphasize the specific role of God's intervention at regular stages in the operation of the world. For whilst many deists accepted the argument from design as proof of a deity, they did not accept the authority of 'revealed' religion. Despite Bentley and Whiston's opinion that Newtonianism proved the existence of God, other critics were less convinced. The supposed deist Toland, for example, was attracted by Newtonian science, but attempted to use it in his own cause against established religion. John Edwards also observed in 1714 that 'the most sober Naturalists apprehend that this Doctrine' of Newtonian universal attraction 'were pitch'd upon to Solve the making and preserving a World by Nature, without any interposing of a God. They who compare the System of Epicurus (in Lucretius) and this of Sir Isaac Newton, will judge which hath succeeded best.'[56] Whatever the personal piety of the Newtonians and their insistence upon the action of God in Newton's philosophical system, it is clear that such claims for their orthodoxy did not hold complete sway in the public sphere, and continually needed defending. Stukeley thus set out to align himself firmly behind the Newtonian philosophy and to position himself as a defender of the orthodox religious element of the Newtonian system.

Stukeley's research into the Creation had another important context: in 1724 John Hutchinson (1674-1737) published Moses's Principia. Whilst he was employed as a steward to the Duke of Somerset in 1700 Hutchinson had met Somerset's physician, John Woodward, and had collected fossils and made observations for him. Hutchinson shared Woodward's anti-Newtonian sentiments, and as the title of his book infers, like Stukeley he presented an account of the Earth's creation that insisted the biblical account was philosophically true in every detail. ''The Revelation by Moses', Hutchinson wrote, 'was not intended to relate any Thing or Circumstance to us, but what we could not perceive without it; and yet has not omitted any Thing we could not otherwise know.'[57] Hutchinson believed, furthermore, 'that the Hebrew language contained the indispensable key to all knowledge, both natural and spiritual', and he defended the notion of the Trinity, an orthodox Christian tenet that had been under some attack since the 1690s, and whose historical legitimacy had been severely questioned in by Newton, Clarke and Whiston [see chapter 8]. Hutchinson attempted to show how the spiritual Trinity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost was mirrored in the physical trinity of air, fire and light. This concern with the Trinity is of not inconsiderable importance when considering the public perception of Newtonianism in the 1710s and 1720s, and it has been proposed that Hutchinsonianism was 'a High Church response' to the association between Low Church principles and Newtonian science espoused by the Boyle Lecturers.[58] Although Stukeley's paper predates the publication of Moses's Principia, no doubt Woodward's presence at the Royal Society, as well as coffee-shop gossip in general, would have made these themes important debating points in the early 1720s. Hutchinson's religious philosophy did not gain popular appeal, however, until the second half of the eighteenth century, when it was revived by George Horne (1730-1792), Fellow and then President of Magdalen College, Oxford. Horne observed that the 'attention of the learned world' was 'at present wholly turned on physical speculations and enquiries, some embracing the method of philosophising established by Sir ISAAC NEWTON, and others as warmly standing up for the opinions of Mr HUTCHINSON'.[59] Stukeley was aware of Hutchinsonianism at least by the 1750s, observing in his biography of Newton how 'Some few people have been fanciful enough, to think, they c[oul]d overthrow Sr Isaacs philosophy, both in the mathematical, & in the optical part … Mr Hu[t]chinson pretended to do it from cabalistic principles … there are many more of that sort, seeking to make themselves a kind of name, by lessening his'.[60] Later in the eighteenth century another commentator would observe that 'Mr Hutchinson had conceived an opinion, which possessed his mind very strongly, that Sir I. Newton and Dr Clarke had formed a design, by introducing certain speculations founded on their new mode of philosophizing, to undermine and overthrow the theology of the Scripture, and to bring in the Heathen Jupiter or Stoical anima mundi into the place of the true God whom we Christians believe and worship.'[61] Stukeley's defence of the Mosaic account, with its emphasis on the Holy Trinity, aimed to deflect such criticism. The full significance of this defence will become apparent when we come to discuss his antiquarian work in Part II.

From these aspects of Stukeley's work, Roy Porter in his study of the origins and development of geological science in Britain characterized Stukeley as a staunch defender 'of traditional shapes of Earth history' and a 'self-appointed' opponent 'of Enlightenment trends in religious and scientific thought'. He added, 'Stukeley resisted all Enlightened attempts to minimize the Deluge's role in Earth history.'[62] This is certainly correct, but as my account shows, it underestimates Stukeley's ambitions as a geologist, and is perhaps over-emphatic about what we should understand as 'Enlightenment thought' in England. Although Stukeley certainly defended the Flood's authenticity, he was clearly not resistant to Enlightenment thought per se, and was by no means alone in defending the biblical position of a universal deluge. Newton also happily accepted the historical authenticity of the Flood, noting, for example, how 'The first men after the flood lived in caves of the earth & woods & planes'.[63] He appears to have felt no need to 'prove' the Flood's occurrence through his own mathematical philosophy. Likewise, in a paper first delivered before the Royal Society in 1694, Halley found that whilst the Genesis account passed only 'for the Remains of a much fuller Account of the Flood', he still accepted that 'we may … be fully assured' 'that such a Deluge has been'.[64] Even Linnaeus, who dismissed the idea of the Ark and the Flood, suggested that all species were descended from an original set of parents, created by God, who had placed them on a small island (analogous to Eden) in an ocean that covered the whole world, hence conflating the story of the Flood with that of Creation.[65] An original thinker like the Comte de Buffon, who in his Histoire naturelle (1749) dismissed the Flood in favour of thousands of years of slow change, was the exception rather than the rule.[66] Buffon might retrospectively be taken by historians to 'represent' the Enlightenment, but looking at him from within the period itself, he was an outsider. To defend the Flood in the early eighteenth century was not, in itself, to be unenlightened. God existed within nature; the only real question was how devotedly you should read his book. As a reviewer of Elements of Conchology by Stukeley's friend Emanuel Mendes da Costa would note as far into the future as 1777: 'Nature has never left herself without witness, but appears to have reserved a peculiar priesthood for the maintenance of her worship, and the support of her glory … An undevout naturalist would be a character the most preposterous; and we are persuaded that an infidel, of such studies, never existed.'[67] As Stukeley's Cambridge education and his subsequent scientific writings show -- and the varying but accommodating theories of his contemporaries indicate -- to judge him as an opponent of 'Enlightenment trends' is to misjudge him, and to misjudge quite what we should understand by 'Enlightenment' religion and science in eighteenth-century England. Ultimately, it was easier to accept the authority and authenticity of the Genesis account rather than to participate in the speculative debates of natural philosophers. As the anonymous authors of An Universal History observed in 1736 when tackling the creation of the world -- and as John Edwards had observed over twenty years before -- 'The Opinions of the Philosophers are, for the most part, absurd, incoherent, and contradictory; whereas the Mosaick Account, if rightly understood, carries with it all the Marks of Truth and Probability'.[68]

Newtonian Harmony and the 'Musick of the Spheres'

Up to the modern era at least philosophers and astronomers have sought beauty, proportion, order and system in the Universe, and the musical harmony perceived in nature had been an important theme since at least the Middle Ages. Kepler's Mysterium Cosmographicum ('Mystery of the Universe', 1596) and Harmonice Mundi ('Harmony of the World', 1619) were explicitly concerned with the neat proportioning of the six planets of the Copernican universe within the five regular geometric solids. A splendid illustration of the importance of the order of the universe in Renaissance England are in the works on the microcosm and macrocosm by the Oxford Hermeticist and physician Robert Fludd (1574-1637). In the eighteenth century this apparent order and harmony was still attributed to the infinite wisdom of God. For Stukeley, such an observation was natural and inevitable, and was confirmed by a reading of Newton, who had written in Opticks how 'all material Things seem to have been composed … in the first creation by the Counsel of an intelligent Agent. For it became Him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it's unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World'.[69] Analogy, simplicity and harmony therefore became guiding principles for the early modern philosopher. In 1715, for example, George Cheyne expressed his belief that 'The whole Foundation of Natural Philosophy, is Simplicity and Analogy, or a Simple, yet Beautiful Harmony, running through all Works of Nature in an uninterrupted Chain of Causes and Effects.'[70] Stephen Hales likewise wrote in Vegetable Staticks how,

since we are assured that the all-wise Creator has observed the most exact proportions, of number, weight and measure, in the make of all things; the most likely way therefore, to get any insight into the nature of those parts of the creation, which come within our observation, must in all reason be to number, weight and measure …[71]

Hales then observed that through this process Newton, 'the great Philosopher of our age', had discovered the 'exact proportions' of the distances and revolutions of the planets. Like his friend Hales, Stukeley turned his own researches to this theme, and late in 1719 began work on an interesting discourse exploring the riddle of what ancient philosophers had meant exactly by 'the musick of the spheres'.[72]

This essay clearly illustrates how Stukeley's ideas on the ancients' knowledge of cosmology stemmed from his reading of Newton. He observed again that any mind turned to 'considering what is about us, cannot but discern an inexpressible aptitude, coherence & Ratio or relation of all & every parcel of the wide existence of things … & that the World is one great Beauty, or artful peice [sic] of Musick'. This same apparent musical harmony inherent in nature, he suggested, had also been observed by the ancient Greek and Roman natural historians and poets. But what Stukeley particularly wanted to know of the ancients was

how it came to pass that they explain these things by way of the Musical Scale, & make so thorow an analogy between them; why in particular they should constantly apply this predicament to the greater bodys of the universe, seems to be a question not lightly to be passd over, & not unworthy of a nearer examen. As their thoughts about those Matters are but loose, & often no other than Sallys of imagination, or a tacit admiration of distant beautys in the Creation, which they would not venture to declare more explicitly: We ought to reckon it a great glory either perfectly to enter into their sentiments or to be able to doe justice to those Great men, who saw the lovely appearance of Truth & pronouncd obscure realitys, that they might incite after ages to explain & illustrate them.[73]

Though he pointed out that the idea of the music of the spheres was as old as Job, and though it was mentioned by Censorinus, Pliny and Macrobius, it was still 'difficult to say what in reality they meant by it, only in general … [that] they thought the motions of the Planets in their Orbits made a Musical consort.' He noted that St Augustine had declared that 'God in making the World imitated the Scale of Music', suggesting a divine philosophical knowledge of harmony in creation; and Vitruvius also applied musical harmonies to architecture 'in a very learned & curious Manner.'[74] But Stukeley did not accept the notion of the music of the Spheres unreservedly. What he wanted to do was examine historically what the ancients, and particularly Pythagoras, might have meant and understood by musical harmonies, 'thinking there was some thing more in that fam'd merry conceipt of theirs, that under this veil some great matter of fact lay conceald, which they could not possibly then explain.' Stukeley came to believe that 'innumerable discoverys & inventions, as we now account them, were formerly things well known, & afterwards lost',[75] and we may include his name amongst those moderns who believed recent scientific 'discoveries' such as the circulation of the blood and the heliocentric system had been known to the ancients. As already noted, Newton believed his work on gravitational theory was essentially only a rediscovery of a lost truth, and Stukeley observed in 1742 that 'The learned in the science of astronomy agree, that in the antediluvian times, it must needs have been brought, to as high as perfection, as at present; wanting perhaps, the advantage we have, of telescopes'. He believed the antediluvians had been able to achieve this feat because people then 'in the beginning of the world … lived 7, 8, or 900 years, they had time in one mans life to perfect the art' of astronomy.'[76] However, in his essay Stukeley also observed that 'The last Age has improv'd Astronomy to such a height, by finding out the great Spring of all Action in Matter, its Gravitation, that we can point out exactly the Distances of all the Primary Planets from the Sun … which will give Us an Opportunity of helping out the Antients, & showing what they would have said had they now lived'.[77] As well as wanting to 'help out' the ancients, he was also stimulated to undertake his enquiry by reading modern thinkers. In particular, he remarked that he had been led to this inquiry

upon examining Mr Whistons scheme of the solar system, which put me upon thinking what should be the meaning of that seeming disproportion & irregularity in the distances of the planets from the Sun. That Mercury, Venus, the Earth & Mars from the Sun should obtain Intervals pretty equal & seemly but that Jupiter & Saturn should be driven so far from the rest & from one another seemed to me a little mysterious …[78]

As this seemingly inharmonious difference between the respective orbits of the last two planets 'would have been prevented by lessening their bulk as enormous in respect of the rest of the planets as their distances', and since 'Nature acts not without design & choice', there must be some explanation. We may note, though, that Whiston was himself not overly troubled by such a discrepancy. He had sounded a cautionary note upon the sort of physico-theology expressed by Ray's Wisdom of God or in Stukeley's writings. In A New Theory of the Earth Whiston had asked rhetorically if it was 'wise and rational' for God to have made the Sun '60,000 times bigger' than the Earth and then place it 'above Fifty millions of Miles off … when a small Fiery Ball plac'd near us would have done as well!' Whilst he thus suggested that

such strange and astonishing incongruities, which among Mortals would unquestioningly argue the most extravagant degree of folly, in the Deity … [they] must be Arguments of unbounded Perfection, and Effluxes of Infinite Reason, Wisdom, and Prudence. Certainly one ought to be very well ascertain'd of the sense of Scripture, before from thence one venture to assert such unreasonable opinions.[79]

Whiston warned of the faults in the 'argument from design', and was critical of drawing conclusions of God's wisdom and reason from it. But Newton's single explicit reference to God in the first edition of the Principia was his observation, 'Thus God arranged the planets at different distances from the Sun.'[80] Stukeley in his essay on the music of the spheres set out to explain the apparent discrepancy in the relative sizes of planets and their orbits, and thus once more to discover and defend the 'wisdom' and order of God's creation. He aimed to do this by an examination of musical scales and harmonious planetary distances 'as they are defind upon irrefragable [sic] principles … being the true or Pythagorean system establishd from the profound researches of our immortal countryman [Newton].'[81] From his studies of planetary distances and ratios, Stukeley established that the planets were organized by weight and distance according to musical harmony, and it was this knowledge which he believed the ancients had conveyed through their notion of the music of the spheres.

Aware that some philosophers might criticize his undertaking, Stukeley cited Newton in his defence of this research. He pointed out Newton's own discovery 'in his wonderful treatise of Optics' that the rays of the sun when refracted through a prism are divided into seven colours and 'may be divided one from another exactly in the same proportions as is a monochord to frame the seven musical Notes. which is a most surprizing instance to clear us from the imputation of trifling in this disquisition'.[82] To further strengthen his defence, Stukeley also pointed to the work of another eminent Newtonian, David Gregory, and the preface to his Elements of Astronomy, Physical and Geometrical (1715). Gregory (1661-1708) had been the first man to lecture publicly on Newtonian philosophy, and with Newton's assistance had been made Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford in 1691. In The Elements of Astronomy, which was the first published textbook on gravitational principles, Gregory discussed and 'proved' the idea that Newton's discovery of universal gravity 'was both known and diligently cultivated by the most ancient Philosophers'. Gregory claimed Pythagoras had understood 'that the Gravity of the planets towards the Sun (according to whose measures the Planets move) was reciprocally as the Squares of their Distances from the Sun.'[83] Hence, inferred Stukeley, Gregory 'might well conclude that [the planets] movd in their Orbs according to the compleatest harmonic ratio, which Sr Isaac Newton in our days has provd by his immortal demonstration in Princip[ia] Philos[ophica] Mathemat[atica].'[84] This was weighty defence indeed.

But more importantly, we know now what Stukeley seemingly then did not: that in the 1690s Newton had explored this very same subject in the so-called 'classical' draft Scholia which he had intended to be added to the second edition of the Principia, but which were ultimately omitted. There Newton had stated his belief that the Pythagoreans had indeed known his inverse square rule, 'and adumbrated it by the harmony of the celestial spheres … measuring the intervals of the spheres by the intervals of the tones.'[85] Newton passed his notes for the 'classical Scholia' on to Gregory, who then duly made use of them in his Astronomy, where Stukeley read them. In an important article from 1966 McGuire and Rattansi have suggested that Newton 'considered these enquiries too speculative, or too incongruous with his inductive natural philosophy, to be made public'.[86] But he did not keep his ideas secret from his friends and, as we shall see in Part II, discussed his ideas on ancient chronology with Stukeley. Others too were aware of Newton's belief that the ancients had been cognizant with the true operation of the universe. Nicolas Fatio de Duillier (1664-1753), who was close to Newton in the 1690s, wrote in a letter to the Dutch scholar Christiaan Huygens that Newton believed that, gathered together, the fragments of ancient texts showed the ancients 'Effectively had the same idea as those laid out in the Principia.'[87] According to Conduitt, who after Newton's death read through his unpublished manuscripts, 'Sir I. thought Pythagoras's music of the spheres was intended to typify gravity, & as he makes the sounds and notes to depend on the size of the strings, so gravity depends on the density of matter'.[88] A contemporary historian has written recently that Newton's reading of patristic and Neoplatonic texts focusing on the spiritual harmonies of the universe 'underpinned his search for, and his ultimate discovery of, the principles of celestial mechanics.'[89] For example, his discovery and subsequent description of the light spectrum seems to have been particularly influenced by Pythagorean number theory and the harmony of seven. Betty Dobbs has also recently written that it was the ancients' concept of the music of the spheres that 'undergirded Newton's conviction' that ancient temples 'were true geometric representations of God's cosmos', and 'that the ancients had recognized the mathematical laws of gravity and had hidden their knowledge in musical myths or 'figures''.[90] We shall explore this in much greater depth in Part II. But the commonplace belief that the ancients (and the all-wise Egyptians in particular), concealed their knowledge behind secret codes and hieroglyphs meant a more complex interpretation could be -- and was -- placed upon their esoteric writings. Newton was happy to do this, observing for example that the sixth-century BC Greek natural philosopher Thales 'taught that everything was full of Gods, and by Gods he meant animate bodies.'[91] It was this same method of Newton's -- of looking for clues in apparently vague or ambiguous terms and phrases in classical texts -- that Stukeley used in his paper on the music of the spheres, and in his other antiquarian and natural philosophical researches. For example, he wrote that 'the ancient greek fables of sowing serpents teeth' which then grew into armed men actually meant that Greek soldiers had made 'a religious procession along the avenues of their serpentine temples on the great festival days'.[92] Little in ancient texts was taken at simple face value. Corrupted and secreted down the ages, they contained the very secrets of the universe. It is necessary to recognize the importance Newton and Stukeley, as one of his followers, placed upon Pythagorean and ancient knowledge of the universe, and the part played by the Hermetic traditions of ancient wisdom. We may only guess at the extent to which Newton may have personally influenced and directed Stukeley's own research, but he certainly established an area of study that fellow 'Newtonians' such as Stukeley, Whiston and Gregory -- to varying degrees -- all accepted and explored.

It would be interesting to know whether Stukeley ever discussed the music of the spheres and ancient knowledge with Newton in person, and why he never published his essay. It might have been that he did not feel sufficiently confident in his mathematics: he noted in one draught of the essay that he would leave the greater questions of planetary relationships to 'the Atlas & Hercules of the Royal Society, a Newton or a Halley'. All Stukeley felt he could offer was 'to reflect a glimmering upon the most Minute Part of Philosophy & explain some little things, as are below the Notices of those Great Genius's.'[93] Yet Stukeley's interest in this subject is important, whatever his considerations of his own limitations in astronomy. Newton's opinion that his natural philosophy was a revival of ancient thought was clearly stated at the beginning of his posthumously published Treatise of the System of the World (1728), which he had originally intended to form the second 'book' of the Principia. Stukeley received a copy of the Latin edition of the Treatise from its editor, John Conduitt, and the ideas contained within it would have confirmed many of the theories on ancient knowledge he held, and which he would express in his antiquarian researches.[94] Yet it is only recently that the extent of the close links between Newton's natural philosophy and his theological and chronological writings have been recognized by historians. McGuire and Rattansi suggested that there was 'little doubt' that Newton saw in the analogy to musical harmony the principles of law and order in the natural world: 'Such harmony was the profoundest expression of cosmos.'[95] More recently it has been suggested that Newton's philosophical and theological studies formed 'part of a radical and comprehensive recovery of the true ancient religion, which had been revealed directly to man by God.'[96] Another historian has also written that 'In both alchemy and theology, Newton believed that a pure ancient doctrine had been corrupted in the course of its transmission through history, but that it could be recovered by intensive interpretative effort devoted to a wide range of texts.'[97] Stephen McKnight in yet another recent study has also shown the relationship of Francis Bacon's ideas with the Renaissance notion of a prisca theologia, the pristine theology or ancient wisdom that had been lost but could be retrieved, observing that 'the advocates of the Ancient Wisdom are also important proponents of the new science.'[98] Kepler, for example, had written extensively on this theme in both Mysterium Cosmographicum and Harmonice Mundi. In the latter work -- which Stukeley had read, referring to the book and 'the Ingenious Kepler' by name at least twice in his manuscript on the Creation[99] -- he argued that as each planet orbits around the sun it completes a specific musical scale, ascending in tone as it approached the sun and descending as it moved away.[100] In both these books then, Kepler -- a 'modern' closely associated with the scientific revolution -- defended his work within the context of ancient Platonic and Pythagorean tradition. I shall consider the importance of these last observations in a later chapter when I examine the intellectual context of Stukeley's antiquarian studies and his response to the deists and primitive religion. It is simply important for the time being to recognize the weight placed upon ancient knowledge in this period by some philosophers, and to realize that we cannot automatically dismiss the ancients in a period commonly denominated as the birth of the modern.

The Milky Way

Since the 'new science' was particularly concerned with astronomy, Stukeley and his peers understandably took a particular interest in observing the stars and planets, and in questioning the nature of the universe. In his popular book Astro-Theology (3rd edn 1719) William Derham proposed to answer a puzzling question: 'What is the use of so many Planets as we see about the Sun, and so many as are imagined to be about the Fixt Stars?' Like the proportioning of the orbits of the planets, there had to be a reason why God had made so many stars. Derham provided the answer: 'they are Worlds, or places of Habitation … consisting in all probability of Land and Waters, Hills and Valleys, having Atmospheres about them, Moons ministering upon them'.[101] The purpose of the magnitude of stars seen in the sky was, therefore, 'to enlighten and warm as many Systems of Planets.'[102] It was believed that this myriad of systems and their inhabitants added much more to the greatness of God than a single planet or solar system would. Indeed, Newton had written in a 'Query' to Opticks that the divine architect could have made different worlds each with different laws of physics: 'it may be also allow'd that God is able to create Particles of Matter of several Sizes and Figures,' he wrote, 'and in several Proportions to Space, and perhaps of different Densities and Forces, and thereby to vary the Laws of Nature, and make Worlds of several sorts in Several Parts of the Universe.'[103] As Halley wrote in 1692, 'it is now taken for granted that the Earth is one of the Planets, and they all are with reason supposed Habitable, though we are not able to define by what sort of Animals'.[104] Thus the belief that no part of God's creation -- whether large or small, near or far, hot or cold -- was uninhabitable extended to the notion (suggested by Halley) that there could be races of people inhabiting the inside of the Earth, or even the Sun, whilst the idea of a 'man in the moon' was commonplace since ancient times.[105] Stukeley accepted wholeheartedly the Pythagorean doctrine 'that the Stars are one of the same Nature of our Sun' and were 'filld with living Creatures as our Globe is'. As God 'has dispersd his Colonys of life to every drop of Water & clod of Earth' so he had made the moon and stars 'habitable too' for he 'will not suffer any Part of his Empire to be uncultivated & useless.' This argument was 'consonant to our Modern Conceptions grounded upon the vast Improvements lately made in Philosophy', noting that Kepler and the Pythagoreans also held it.[106]

But Stukeley put his own angle on these philosophical speculations. As well as defending the orthodox position of Creation from a Newtonian standpoint, he developed his own interpretation of a continual Creation of new, inhabited universes, one that attempted to explain a natural phenomenon in terms of an ordered and harmonious universe. Whiston had observed in his Astronomical Lectures (1715) the problem of how the Fixed Stars appeared 'To be dispos'd in the Heavenly Spaces in no certain Order, but as it were by Chance only.' In Whiston's opinion this would not do. He determined that

it is very rational to conclude, that some regular Order hath Place also amongst the Fixed Stars. There may be a certain orderly and harmonius Disposition of the Fixed Stars amongst themselves, when they are beheld from some other proper Place, altho' that Order appears not when they are seen from this Earth.[107]

This problem seems to have troubled Stukeley, and he raised it one morning in February 1721 as he breakfasted with Newton and Halley. As he later recalled:

I remember further, that in some discourse I had with Sr Issac, I proposed to him a thought I had entertained how to account for that great luminous circle incompassing us, which we calld the Milky Way. We all readily suppose it to be owing to the suns of separate systems there plac'd whose united rays cause that luminous appearance. We mortals said I are pleasd with new works, new advances in our knowledg, more than in what we have already done, what we are now in poss[essi]on of, like Alexander [the Great], who sighd for new worlds to conquer. & this is the constant entertainment of our lives as long as our facultys will permit us.

This desire in us may be a divine particle from our maker, & separated from its imperfection may give us some notion of the agency of the supreme mind. I suppose therefore God almighty tho' in the Mosaic cosmogony, he is said to rest from all his works wh[ich] he had created & made, spoke only in regard to our present system: yet why sh[oul]d we not suppose that God always created new worlds, new systems, to multiply the infinitude of his beneficiaries, not only in giving a power in all things partaking of any degree of life in his systems already made to continue their own kind in an endless chain: but that he still made new worlds for the living creatures thereof to do the like.

We may suppose therefore, continued I, that G[od] alm[ighty] who always practices order method & regularity & in all his works places these new worlds & systems of worlds in a certain great & broad line or belt as it were, not made of single systems in bredth, but of many, wh[ich] we call the milky way: not filling infinite space quaquaversum [on every side], but in a certain huge meridian, as we may call it, thus dividing infinite space into two great parts …[108]

Though Stukeley's inspiration for the origins of the Milky Way was religious, his belief that the process of creation might have been ongoing is unusual.[109] As Newton himself had in fact written in a letter to Thomas Burnet, 'one may suppose that all ye planets about our Sun were created together, there being in no history any mention of new ones appearing or old ones ceasing.'[110] But Newton had also observed that 'It is the perfection of God's works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order and not of confusion.'[111] This was the same conclusion Stukeley reached (possibly from reading Whiston), though his explanation is very much his own. He believed that the stars were 'placd in some seemly order tho' unknown to Us' in the same way that a gardener would lay out 'fine Vistoes … So tho the Trees & Walks & Arbors & the like are seemingly without any contrivance or regular disposition, You seeing but one part at a Time yet the Author who formd the Original Plan & conceivd the whole in his Mind, imagind a uniform Design, & Principal Line to which all the others should have respect & direction'.[112] That this preoccupation with the order and harmony of the Creation extended to believing that the apparently random pattern of the stars only resulted from Earth's being in the 'wrong' place is telling. It illustrates the extent to which these principles of harmony and order were ingrained in the Newtonian world-view.

So although the Earth was not the correct platform for observing God's universal order, Stukeley believed humans could still observe a fragment of it in that line of massed stars forming our own galaxy, the Milky Way. As he explained to Newton, God had placed his

new worlds, & systemes of worlds, in a certain great and broad line or belt, as it were; not made of single systems in bredth, but of many, like a vast meridian. & that this is the occasion of the appearance, wh[ich] we call the milky way.

for this notion we have a considerable confirmation, from considering our own world, that the plane of all the circles of the primary, & of the secondary planets, is nearly in one line. G[od] observes a great analogy in all his works. So that our System in that respect is but a sort of picture of the universe. & that meridional plane of our Solar System may be called our milky way. & hence the milky way in the heavens is the aggregate of what we can discern of this meridional plane of the macrocosm.[113]

Furthermore, as our solar system provided an analogy for the whole Universe, so in turn the planet Saturn, with its own rings, was in Stukeley's opinion 'as a miniature picture, or model' of this grander scheme.[114]

Newton had discussed this problem of the disposition of the fixed stars with Bentley back in the 1690s, who in accordance with ancient belief considered them to be motionless in space. A problem arose in the Newtonian system on the grounds that if each star exerted a gravitational effect on all the others, and vice versa, some sort of motion -- and hence system collapse -- seemed inevitable.[115] Newton had attempted to overcome this problem in the Principia by stating that the fixed stars, being 'at such vast distances from one another, can neither attract each other perceptibly, nor be attracted by our Sun.'[116] As he stated in the 'General Scholium', this arrangement was the deliberate work of God who, 'lest the systems of the fixed Stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those Systems at immense distances one from another.'[117] Newton even made notes and mathematical calculations for a cosmological system whereby all the stars were regularly and equally spaced from one another, but these were never published.[118] However, Stukeley questioned Newton about this theory in their same conversation. The Milky Way is clear evidence that the stars are not evenly spaced: their is an observable concentration of planetary bodies. Stukeley wondered what the consequences would have been had infinite space been filled equally with stars: 'We see every night, the inconvenience of it,' he told Newton. 'The whole hemisphere w[oul]d have had the appearance of that luminous gloom of the milky way. We sh[oul]d have lost the present sight of the beauty and the glory of the starry firmament'.[119] That is, if the stars were equally distributed, as Newton had argued, the whole sky would be filled with a radiance such as characterizes the brighter band of the Milky Way. Stukeley recorded that 'Sr Isaac seem'd to listen to this kind of discourse, with some approbation. & we discuss'd an objection or two'. This discussion included Newton's argument that the stars were so distant from one another, 'as that attraction from any side, sh[oul]d be infinitely small'.[120]

On 9 March 1721, two weeks after Stukeley and Halley had breakfasted with Newton and discussed these astronomical subjects, Halley presented a paper at the Royal Society with the title, 'On the infinity of the sphere of fix'd stars'. He noted a number of objections to the argument that the stars were infinite. 'Another Argument I have heard urged,' he continued, was 'that if the number of Fixt Stars were more than finite, the whole superficies of the apparent Sphere would be luminous.'[121] Michael Hoskin, who has made an invaluable study of this whole debate, suggests that 'the circumstantial evidence' identifies Stukeley as the person from whom Halley had heard this argument -- at their breakfast with Newton. But Halley's aim was to show that the stars are infinite, and that they are arranged in an order whereby the stars are placed in successive spheres with equal distances between them. Interestingly, Stukeley's argument was not that the stars are not infinite, but that they cannot be arranged in this regularly distributed pattern, otherwise we would not perceive the phenomenon of the Milky Way. Halley for his part believed that as the stars became more distant the light that reached the Earth would become so small 'that it may well be questioned, whether the Eye, assisted with any artificial help, can be made sensible thereof.'[122] However, as the modern idea of Olbers' Paradox dictates -- and as was suggested by the French astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1744 -- concentric spheres of stars would in combination fill the night sky with the same degree of light as the Sun. There would be no night. Stukeley's statement was thus essentially an early recognition of Olbers' Paradox. Hoskin observes that though Thomas Wright and Immanuel Kant applied the analogy between our universe's ecliptic (the Sun's apparent annual circular path relative to the fixed stars) and the Milky Way in the mid eighteenth century, and William Herschel later introduced it into scientific astronomy, it appears that 'as early as 1720 or thereabouts Stukeley was making the analogy the central concept of his discourse to Newton: so that (unless we regard the entire as a fiction created in 1752) he is by a whole generation the first person known to history to have this fundamental insight into the stellar universe.'[123]

The Botanic Lecture

Stukeley had another opportunity to publicize his beliefs in the harmony of nature in the early 1720s, this time apparently at the behest of Sloane. As the landlord of the celebrated but run-down Society of Apothecaries' physic garden in Chelsea, Sloane had made a contract binding the Apothecaries to deliver annually as rent fifty new named plant specimens to the Royal Society, until they had sent 2,000 specimens. Between 1722 and 1797 they ultimately provided some 3,900 specimens to the Society, and the arrangement apparently revitalized the garden.[124] In a 'Botanic Lecture' written in 1723 and 'pronounced at the herbarizing Feast of the Apothecarys',[125] Stukeley was seemingly called upon by Sloane to promote to the Apothecaries the advantage of this arrangement. Stukeley was known as a keen herbarizer and naturalist, and his own brother was an apothecary in Lincolnshire. The annual donation of plants would, Stukeley declared, 'yearly improve the Sons of the Hippocratic Art' and required 'no more of us than the easy tribute … of herbs & flowers'. In his lecture he developed a cosmological theory to the practice of medicine, venturing 'to restore the consideration of numbers in physic, especially in relation to plants. for in numbers as the Ancients thought, there lyes a great power & energy. among the Pythagoreans Numbers are the fountain, the principle & root of all things.' As with his enquiries into the music of the spheres, his Pythagorean interest in numbers was again explicitly associated with musical harmonies:

it must be understood that Pythagoras settled the ratios of the notes of Music to numbers & it depends so much upon arithmetic that the one is containd in the other … but some perhaps will say what has music to do with medicine? I must tell such … that diseases are but discords … I might say in short that Music is Philosophy, which no one denys a part of Physic, & a physician must have run thro' the whole extent of one, before he commences the other …

The study of nature and 'the wonderful variety of plants' was a justifiable and important activity, he explained, because it 'so loudly proclaims the dignity & the Majesty of the creation.' In many ways this idea a corollary to Newton's observation at the conclusion of Opticks that it was through natural philosophy that humans came to know 'what is the first Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him' and that this 'will appear to us by the Light of Nature.'[126] Stukeley's interest in this botanic lecture was to produce a method for the categorization of plants: 'about [which] Botanists have long busied themselves, in finding a method as they call it, supposd to mean the clue or scale by which their mighty Author contrivd & framd them.' Stukeley then suggested Nature's regard to the harmony of 'musical number' as a possible method for categorization, applying and listing the harmony of musical scales to the number of petals on a plant's flowers. Those plants with an harmonius number of petals generally have good medicinal qualities, he argued, whilst those with an inharmonious number are not generally medicinal. (In a second draft of this lecture Stukeley also observed that 'If we can find a method from the flower & its consequent seeds of fruit without regard to the leaves twil be the best yet invented.'[127] It was exactly by this method, of examining and identifying the sexual characteristics of a plant's flowers, that Linnaeus devised his system of categorizing plants only a little later in the century.) Stukeley -- ever a keen gardener -- would return to the subject of botany and the harmony of nature towards the end of his life, giving on Whitsun Tuesday of 1760, 1761 and 1763 the 'Vegetable Discourses' on 'The glorys of the vegetable kingdom display'd' at St Leonard's church, Shoreditch. These annual sermons (similar in conceit to the Boyle Lectures and under the control of the Royal Society) had been institued by Thomas Fairchild (1667?--1729), author of The City Gardener (1722). John Nichols would later observe in 1782 that these sermons by Stukeley on the 'vegetable creation, &c. bespeak him a botanist, philosopher, and divine, replete with ancient learning, and excellent observations'.[128]

By now we have fully established the character of Stukeley the natural philosopher; it is time to turn to Stukeley the traveller and antiquary. But as I explained in my introduction, we cannot divorce these two facets of his personality. What we have already established regarding his scientific and philosophical interests, and his working methods, was equally pertinent to, and influential upon, these other contemporaneous activities. And again, the relationship with Newton will be seen to be a key influence, with a fundamental impact on Stukeley's theoretical and practical studies.

[1] By 1760 Stukeley's friend Emanuel Mendes da Costa was attributing 'the great decay (which I confess I think daily evident) of Litterary knowledge especially in regard to our study of Natural History' to 'the Vice of Systems continually making all over Europe'. Da Costa to Pierre Ascanius, 26 September 1760, in BL Add. MS 28,534 f. 96/130.

[2] Quoted from Cogitata et Visa in Rossi (1968), p. 187.

[3] Quoted in Frantz (1968), p. 15.

[4] Sprat (1667), pp. 155-6.

[5] See Ray (1704) pp. 188-92.

[6] In his Annals (1650), Ussher fixed the date of Creation at 4004 BC, a proposition given official Anglican sanction by being included in the Authorized Version of the Bible from 1701. Stukeley held a slightly longer chronology, writing, 'To the year 1751, 6464 years have elapsed, since creation', thus dating it to 4713 BC. SoA MS 806, note inside back cover.

[7] Quoted in Rossi (1984) p. 16.

[8] St Augustine The City of God, XVIII, 40, quoted in Schnapp (1996) p. 224.

[9] La Peyrère (1656) Proem, quoted in Schnapp (1996) p. 223.

[10] Quoted in ibid. p. 226.

[11] See his Lectures and Discourses on Earthquakes (1668); Rossi (1984) pp. 13-6.

[12] Stukeley FM MS 1130 Stu (1) f. 125.

[13] Quoted in Rossi (1984) p. 36.

[14] Quoted in Force (1985) p. 25.

[15] Halley (1724) p. 120.

[16] Stillingfleet (1709) pp. 337-9; on Stillingfleet's philosophy see Popkin (1971).

[17] Ibid. p. 241. John Woodward likewise believed that the Earth contained a massive reservoir or 'abyss' of water at its centre.

[18] Pemberton (1728) pp. 244-5. Pemberton and Newton believed it was necessary to explain the 'use of tails in comets', and that in their function of replenishing the water of planets they represented 'in the strongest light imaginable the extensive providence of the great author of nature' (p. 244).

[19] See Kubrin (1967); Rousseau (1987) p. 21.

[20] Halley (1724) p. 121.

[21] Whiston (1717) p. 147.

[22] Clarke (1716), p. 254.

[23] Edwards (1714) p. 79.

[24] Woodward (1729) pp. xiii--xiv.

[25] Quoted in Levine (1977) p. 95.

[26] See DNB.

[27] Stukeley (1980), pp. 120, 115: see Levine's excellent biography (1977).

[28] From The Spectator, quoted in Rousseau (1982) p. 202.

[29] Rossi (1984) introduction.

[30] See Force (1985) pp. 39-40, and Manuel (1974) pp. 35-7.

[31] Stukeley Bod. MS Eng. misc. e. 667/a f. 10; Stukeley SoA MS 331 a & b. According to the Journal Book of the Royal Society, this skeleton was shown on 12 February (not 7) 1719: Royal Society JBC. Vol. XI ff. 292-5. All the following references to this paper are from SoA MS 331 a & b.

[32] See Schaffer (1983).

[33] Stukeley SoA MS 331 a & b.

[34] See Rossi (1984) p. 93.

[35] Quoted in Thackray (1994) p. 128.

[36] Stukeley Royal Society RBC XV ff. 101-4.

[37] SS 2, pp. 353-4, diary, 13 November 1740.

[38] SS 3, p. 2, diary, 29 January 1741.

[39] 'The Philosophy of Springs & Fountains, Or a Theory of the Earth' (1757), CCCC. MS 623. Stukeley's most famous geological argument was his 1750 essay on The Philosophy of Earthquakes: see chapter 9.

[40] Stukeley (1753) p. 225.

[41] Browne (1983) p. 26.

[42] Keill (1724) p.21, pp. 178-9, quoted in Hunter (1981) p. 185.

[43] Stukeley Bod. MS Eng. misc. c. 30b f. 78.

[44] Ibid. f. 75.

[45] Stukeley Roy. Soc. MS 142 ff. 71-2.

[46] Stukeley FM MS 1130 Stu (1) f. 1

[47] Ibid. f. 2.

[48] Ibid. f. 5.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Westfall (1980) p. 390.

[52] Stukeley FM MS 1130 Stu (1) f. 6

[53] Ibid. f. 10.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid. f. 19.

[56] Edwards (1714) p. 75.

[57] Hutchinson (1724) p. 1. See Wilde (1980) p. 3; also Katz (1994) and Kuhn (1961).

[58] Wilde (1980) p. 7; this thesis has also been developed in Jacob (1986) and (1991). See also Stewart (1996) pp. 142-56. For an examination of the influence of Hutchinsoniainsim, which survived through until the nineteenth century, see Katz (1994) and Wilde (1980).

[59] Horne (1799) p.1.

[60] Stukeley RS MS. 142 f. 72. For a discussion of Newton and kabbalah, see Goldish (1994). Goldish writes: 'Rather than simply abandoning interest in it, Newton read the kabbalah seriously, cogitated upon it, and then integrated it into his thought in a completely different context' (p. 91). There is no reason to think Stukeley was aware of this relationship, however.

[61] William Jones, Memoirs of the Life, Studies, and Writings of the Right Reverend George Horne, DD (London 1795) pp. 36-7; quoted in Stewart (1996) p. 155.

[62] Porter (1977) p. 117. Porter adds that 'in significant ways' Stukeley was a beneficiary of the Enlightenment, but does not expand upon this remark to say how exactly.

[63] Newton New College MS II f. 238; see also Manuel (1963).

[64] Halley (1724) p. 00.

[65] See Browne (1983), pp. 18-22.

[66] See Lyon and Sloan (1981).

[67] The Monthly Review 56 (February 1777), p. 91.

[68] Anon. (1736) Introduction, 'The Cosmogony, or Creation of the World.' As well as reviewing all the ancient theories of the origin of the universe, this knowledgeable and extensive introduction also considered -- and countered -- the arguments of Spinoza, Descartes, Burnet, Whiston and the Preadamite theory.

[69] Newton (1721) pp. 377-8.

[70] Cheyne (1715) part 1, p. 42.

[71] Hales (1727) p. xxxi.

[72] Stukeley Bod. MS Eng. misc. e. 667/1 f. 12. An extensive draft of this essay is included in the 'Creation' MS. It appears that he seriously considered the essay for publication, and it went through a number of recensions over the following few years, existing in three drafts. See Stukeley FM MS 1130 Stu (1) ff. 51-67; Stukeley Bod. MS Eng. misc. c. 410 ff. 56-82, ff. 83-117, f.121, ff. 213-27; Bod MS Eng. misc. Top. Wilts. e. 6 f. 99 and f. 100.

[73] Stukeley Bod. MS Eng. misc. c. 401, ff. 56-7.

[74] Stukeley FM MS 1130 Stu (1) f. 65.

[75] Stukeley FM MS 1130 Stu (7) f. 1.

[76] 'Historia Coelestis', SoA MS 806 ff. iii--iv.

[77] Stukeley FM MS 1130 Stu (1) f. 60.

[78] Stukeley Bod. MS Eng. misc. c. 401 f. 61.

[79] Whiston (1696) p. 71.

[80] Newton Principia (1687, p.415) quoted in Manuel (1974) p. 31.

[81] Stukeley Bod. MS Eng. misc. c. 401 ff. 71-3.

[82] Ibid. ff. 79-80.

[83] Gregory (1715) pp. iii--iv, and xi. The book was first published in 1702 as Astronomiae Physicae et Geometricae Elementa.

[84] Stukeley Bod. MS Eng. misc. c. 401 f. 81.

[85] McGuire and Rattansi (1966) p. 115.

[86] Ibid. See Casini (1984) for a criticism of McGuire and Rattansi's thesis. Casini suggests Newton may have withheld publication to avoid becoming embroiled in the 'battle of the books': 'The classical Scholia, if they had been inserted in the Principia, would have carried the flavour of paradox' (p. 16).

[87] Fatio de Duillier to Huygens, quoted in Iliffe (1995), pp. 164-5.

[88] Conduitt in Keynes MS 130.

[89] Gouk (1988) p. 124.

[90] Dobbs (1991) p. 196.

[91] Roy. Soc. Gregory MS 247 f. 13.

[92] Stukeley (1743) p. 82.

[93] Stukeley FM MS Stu 1130 Stu (1) f. 54.

[94] This edition titled De Mundi Systemate Liber Isaaci Newton (London, 1728). See I. Bernard Cohen's 'Introduction' to the reprint of the 2nd edition of 1731, (London, 1969) for a discussion of the origins and translations of Newton's original manuscript (catalogued as MS Add. 3990 of the Portsmouth Collection, University Library, Cambridge) and the various editions published from it.

[95] McGuire and Rattansi (1966) p. 120.

[96] Gouk (1988) p. 120.

[97] Golinski (1988) p. 158.

[98] McKnight (1991) pp. 130-42; p. 143.

[99] Stukeley FM MS 1130 Stu (1) f. 130 and f. 48.

[100] See Cohen (1987) c. 6 'Kepler's celestial music'. Cohen notes that Newton does not appear to have read Kepler's work at first hand, and Galileo, who received copies of Kepler's books, did not refer to their laws nor accepted his arguments for elliptical planetary orbits or the moon as a cause of the tides, perhaps being sceptical of Kepler's numerological rather than 'scientific' method.

[101] Derham (1719) p. xlvii.

[102] Ibid. p. 35.

[103] 'Query 31', Newton (1721) pp. 379-80.

[104] Halley (1692) p. 575.

[105] See Halley (1691a) p. 572.

[106] Stukeley FM MS 1130 Stu (1) ff. 46-9.

[107] William Whiston Astronomical Lectures (London, 1715) pp. 41-2, quoted in Hoskin (1985) p. 81.

[108] Grantham MS f. 49r. For a full elaboration and analysis of this whole discussion, see Hoskin (1985).

[109] Hoskin (1985) p. 81.

[110] Quoted in Force (1990a) p. 58.

[111] Newton Yahuda MS 1.1, f. 14r.

[112] Stukeley FM MS Stu (1) f. 71. For an examination of the influence of Stukeley's antiquarianism of eighteenth-century ideas in landscape gardening see Haycock (1999).

[113] Stukeley Roy. Soc. MS 142, ff. 67r--68r.

[114] Ibid. ff. 68v--69v.

[115] Hoskin (1985) p. 86.

[116] Quoted in ibid. p. 85.

[117] Newton (1729) 2.389.

[118] Hoskin (1985) pp. 89-91.

[119] Stukeley Roy. Soc. MS 142 f. 69v.

[120] Ibid. f. 70.

[121] Quoted in Hoskin (1985) p. 96.

[122] Quoted in ibid. p. 100.

[123] Ibid. p. 82.

[124] See Stungo (1993).

[125] Stukeley RCP MS 340/16; all subsequent quotes from this source.

[126] Newton (1721) p. 381.

[127] RCP MS 340/16.

[128] Nichols (1782) p. 626. The lectures are published in Stukeley's Palaeographia Sacra (1763).

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