Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets by John Evelyn


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Page 2

_Helen M. Fox_

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Facsimile of Title Page of First Edition_]

* * * * *

_To the Right Honourable_


Lord Somers

_of Evesham_

Lord _High-Chancellor_ of England,

and _President_ of the _Royal-Society_.

* * * * *

_My Lord_,

The _Idea_ and _Plan_ of the _Royal-Society_ having been first conceiv'd
and delineated by a _Great_ and _Learned Chancellor_, which High Office
your Lordship deservedly bears; not as an Acquisition of Fortune, but
your Intellectual Endowments; Conspicuous (among other Excellencies) by
the Inclination Your Lordship discovers to promote _Natural Knowledge_:
As it justifies the Discernment of that _Assembly_, to pitch upon Your
Lordship for their _President_, so does it no less discover the Candor,
yea, I presume to say, the Sublimity of your Mind, in so generously
honoring them with your _Acceptance_ of the _Choice_ they have made.

A [1]_Chancellor_, and a very Learned Lord, was the _First_ who honoured
the _Chair_; and a no less Honorable and Learned _Chancellor_, resigns
it to Your Lordship: So as after all the Difficulties and Hardships
the _Society_ has hitherto gone through; it has thro' the Favour and
Protection of its _Presidents_, not only preserv'd its Reputation from
the Malevolence of Enemies and Detracters, but gone on _Culminating_,
and now _Triumphantly_ in Your Lordship: Under whose propitious
Influence, I am perswaded, it may promise it self _That_, which indeed
has hitherto been wanting, to justifie the Glorious _Title_ it bears of
a ROYAL SOCIETY. The _Emancipating_ it from some Remaining and
Discouraging Circumstances, which it as yet labours under; among which,
that of a _Precarious_ and unsteady Abode, is not the least.

This _Honor_ was reserv'd for Your Lordship; and an _Honor_, permit
me to call it, not at all unworthy the Owning of the Greatest Person
living: Namely, the Establishing and Promoting _Real Knowledge_; and
(next to what is _Divine_) truly so called; as far, at least, as Humane
Nature extends towards the Knowledge of Nature, by enlarging her Empire
beyond the Land of _Spectres, Forms, Intentional Species, Vacuum, Occult
Qualities_, and other _Inadequate Notions_; which, by their Obstreperous
and Noisy Disputes, affrighting, and (till of late) deterring Men from
adventuring on further Discoveries, confin'd them in a lazy
Acquiescence, and to be fed with _Fantasms_ and fruitless Speculations,
which signifie nothing to the _specifick_ Nature of Things, solid and
useful knowledge; by the _Investigation of Causes, Principles, Energies,
Powers_, and _Effects_ of _Bodies_, and _Things Visible_; and to improve
them for the Good and Benefit of Mankind.

_My Lord_, That which the _Royal Society_ needs to accomplish an entire
Freedom, and (by rendring their Circumstances more easie) capable to
subsist with Honor, and to reach indeed the Glorious Ends of its
_Institution_, is an Establishment in a more Settl'd, _Appropriate_,
and _Commodious Place_; having hitherto (like the _Tabernacle_ in the
_Wilderness_) been only _Ambulatory_ for almost _Forty Years_: But
_Solomon_ built the First _Temple_; and what forbids us to hope, that as
Great a _Prince_ may build _Solomon's House_, as that Great _Chancellor_
(one of Your Lordship's Learned _Predecessors_) had design'd the _Plan_;
there being nothing in that _August_ and _Noble Model_ impossible, or
beyond the _Power_ of _Nature_ and Learned Industry.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Tue 25th Feb 2020, 6:26