14 Nov 2014 Samuel Hartlib (1600-1662) by Geoffrey Emerson | posted in: People and Publications, Timeline | 1 Test
John Hall of Durham (1629-1656) was apparently attracted to Hartlib by his The Reformation of Schooles (1642). Hall promoted Hartlib’s projects with Henry More, Ralph Cudworth, John Arrowsmith (Master of St. John’s), Benjamin Whichcote, Vice-Chancellor Thomas Hill, Samuel Bolton the Master of Christ’s, and doubtless others of note. One project involved Comenius’s Metaphysics [De rerum humanorum emendatione Consultatio catholica], written in 1645 but not yet published, which he transcribed for Hartlib. Another was an “academy” of sixty gentlemen charged with promoting scholarship and art. Hartlib asked Hall to recruit Thomas Stanley for Orator, the second position in the academy. Having failed to interest Stanley in the project, as Hartlib had evidently failed to interest Milton, Hall recommended James Howell for the post of President, and he pursued the project with Henry More.
For himself, Hall writes Hartlib for introductions to Milton, whose Of Education (1644) had impressed him, and Benjamin Worsley, whom he interrogates regarding “Whether the Scripture be an adequate judge of physical controversies or no?” He asks for a copy of John Pell’s Idea of Mathematics, a scheme for a mathematical library. He promotes Nicholas Gibbon’s “Idea” with Hartlib and in the college. And he promises Hartlib twelve copies of his Poems.
Hartlib’s connections to utopian writers and projects had a special attraction for Hall. He obliged Hartlib by translating two tracts by J. V. Andreae, Christianae Societatis Imago and Christiani Amoris Dextera Porrecta. The first, inspired by Campanella, is a utopian proposal for a kind of Protestant communism headed by a German prince. Hall translated it as A modell of a Christian society, saw it through the press, and sent the first ten copies to Hartlib, who sent one to Robert Boyle.
Hartlib introduced Hall to other utopian romances. Hall was unable to find a translator for Andreae’s Respublica Christianopolitana, but he did manage to recruit a fellow of his college, Jeremy Collier (the Elder], to translate Campanella’s City of the Sun, which he and Boyle were much taken with. And, “to express an Idea of a Commonwealth and Colledge in a Romance,” he himself wrote Leucenia, which he shared with Boyle. Leucenia was not completed, and John Davies, Hall’s friend and biographer, says that Hall loaned it to a friend who lost the manuscript. Boyle came to regard his own youthful passion for romances as a destructive addiction, and he gave them up. Collier evidently did not complete the translation of Campanella, but at Hall’s behest he did translate two parts of Comenius’s Pansophiae Diatyposis.